If you’re new to the internet marketing business and you haven’t yet come across Content Marketing don’t worry, you will. It’s one of the pillars of your new career. And if you don’t know what it is, then it’s time to learn.

Content Marketing is an internet marketing technique where valuable, relevant written material is distributed to a targeted audience with the objective of attracting and converting customers. For the new-start marketer it’s one of the corners of the jigsaw. It’s less complicated than the other pieces, it’s fundamental to your success and it’s a good place to start.

Blogging is the content marketing tool most widely used by internet marketers and, like most things, it has its pros and its cons. On the pro side your message can easily be placed in front of large numbers of prospective customers. At the same time it can be targeted at exactly the right type of prospects. And it’s free. The principal cons are that – done properly – the process is labour intensive and results aren’t immediate and, particularly, the competition is enormous. Something over 3 million blog posts are published every day.

Your customers aren’t short of things to read. If you want them to hear your message, if you want them even to read your copy, you’d better make it engaging. If not, you’ll simply get drowned out by the noise. How you do that is by giving them value, consistently. Every time. Because content marketing is all about relationship building. Provide consistent value over time and your audience come to trust you and what you say to them. They become customers. Provide unique and well-structured copy and you also build a fruitful relationship with the search engines. Improved ranking turbocharges your success.

There is no single blueprint for adding value to your copy, but I offer these suggestions:

1 Offer a Personal Perspective

Whatever you’re writing about, someone’s written about it before. Someone’s probably writing about it today. A large proportion of that competition will be bland, formulaic and homogeneous. Offer a unique, personal perspective. Approach your topic from a different angle. Don’t feel obliged to reach the same conclusions as everyone else. In fact, it can help engagement by your audience if you don’t; an article which stimulates debate and comment is an effective article. But if you do reach the consensus conclusion, justify that in a unique or unusual way.

2 Express an Opinion

Don’t equivocate. Express an opinion, justify it and do both forcefully. Your audience will engage with you either because they agree with you, or because they don’t. Either way, you’ll have their attention. As with your personal perspective, your opinion is a catalyst for thought, comment and debate. These are the things that get your article shared and increase both your audience and your search engine visibility.

3 Draw From Your Personal Experience

Uniqueness brings engagement and there’s nothing so unique as your own personal experience. No-one else has it. Relate your opinions to personal experience (and explain the connection) and you add value by adding context. Empathy follows. People – your audience – relate to people more than they relate to abstract ideas and they engage on the same basis.

4 Focus on Benefits

Content marketing is about building relationships over time and should be weighted to providing free value to build trust rather than pitching offers and chasing quick sales. The ultimate aim, however, is to make sales and there will be times when you’re leading prospects to an offer. Remember that whatever attractive features your product has, those are not what make your customers buy. Prospects become customers when they’re convinced of the benefits they’ll enjoy from what you’re offering. A good front door may have state-of-the-art insulation, hinges and locks but you’ll sell it because it looks good, it keeps the warmth in and it keeps the burglars out.

Resist the temptation to cut corners. It’s easier to copy and paste someone else’s work than to craft your own. But remember, your greatest value offering comes from your unique perspective. Lose that and you don’t rise above the noise, you are the noise. And you’ll stay there, because the search engines know duplicate content when they see it.

Think of it like this. In the world of popular music there are some truly great covers of other people’s songs. And there are tribute bands. In 2008 Adele, on her debut studio album “19”, covered Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, which had first appeared on his 1997 album “Time Out Of Mind”. Now I yield to no-one in my love of Dylan (and I think his version is better), but Adele’s version has her unique interpretation and style, is a beautiful rendition and adds something of tangible value to the song. It was hugely successful and probably defines her early career. Most people think it’s her song. My point about tribute bands is this: people may pay to see them, but only as a "second best" option. And who buys their records?

Author's Bio: 

Evan is a coach and mentor to new-start and early development entrepreneurs in the digital economy. A highly rated sales and negotiation trainer – with cross sector experience from major corporates to SME clients – he writes on the opportunities for career and personal development offered by the digital marketplace.