As PR pros, we understand the importance of well written communications, but with content marketing, great writing takes on an entirely new meaning.

Valerie Riley, APR, Director of Marketing for ITProTV, a company that produces on-demand training and education videos for IT professionals, has built her marketing programs for the company on the back of content marketing. She shared her thoughts about how content marketing became the darling of marketers everywhere and  how to maximize your content marketing efforts to educate, entertain and — ultimately — convert.

Content marketing has been around as long as there have been products to sell. In the early days of this decade, Riley noted some shifts that fueled the content marketing machine: the rise of bloggers — who organically earned the trust of millions of readers — and the launch of Hubspot, which increased marketing automation accessibility for small- to mid-sized companies.

Marketing automation is still so important, in fact, that Valerie said she doesn’t believe one could exist without the other.

“They are like PB & J. They just go together,” she said.

Valerie shared several tips for making the most of content marketing efforts.

  • Find an idea — Write what is most comfortable to you, what your company or organization does best, or what your ideal customers are talking about.
  • To gate or not to gate — Gating content with an email collection form is a great way to growth your list, but it has to be something that has perceived value to your reader.
  • Amplify it — Share your content on social media, via a landing page with paid ads, or through content syndication.

Although content marketing can be easy to get started and can provide a deeper level of engagement with your ideal audience, Valerie cautioned that marketers should remember that it all comes down to the quality of the content.

“It’s all about persuasive writing. We have an obligation as marketers to be responsible with emails. You have to earn your spot in that inbox.”