contentContent isn’t just text anymore – it’s infographics, video chats and social media tools. It’s more than just a company blog, as well. Agencies are using various types of new and engaging content today to market to their targeted audiences with successful results.

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. We ask them: How are you using content as a marketing tool?

1. Attracting Site Visitors

Our Betterment blog and publishing division are key pieces in our marketing program. Our blog posts generate 80 percent of our site traffic through social sharing and search traffic. The result is attracting targeted visitors to our site, driving leads and sales for both services and products, finding great candidates to join our team and establishing ourselves as thought leaders among our peers.

-- Chuck Longanecker | Digital Telepathy

2. Making Data Shareable

Text-based content as a marketing tool is so last century! Infographics and data-driven visualization are the next phase of marketing content. If you have data from your business or expertise to share through a decision-tree layout, consider making it into a shareable infographic rather than a text-heavy article.

-- Doreen Bloch | Poshly Inc.

3. Helping Current and Potential Customers

The best way to use content as a marketing tool is to tailor it to meet the needs of your current and potential customers. For example, if you run a hardware store, your content doesn't need to entirely revolve around your business. Posting DIY home improvement instruction articles and tips to hire the right contractor can be very helpful to your customers.

-- Andrew Schrage | Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Attracting and Retaining Users

For transactions, the trigger comes from inspiration and need. Content that engages and creates a magnetic force field that not only attracts users, but also retains them, is key. All of our content is driven by great data, which creates prioritized, personalized insights that attract prospects and, more importantly, make them want to pass it on, which creates value that multiplies.

-- Matt Ehrlichman | Porch

5. Building Brand Recognition

I have been using content as a marketing tool for more than six months now and have already acquired a couple of clients and built brand recognition among our target audience. I'm doing this effectively by adding value to the day-to-day lives of my target audience through my own blogs as well as other publications.

-- Rahul Varshneya | Arkenea

6. Promoting Social Discovery

We utilize multiple channels of communications to share great content and promote social discovery of our products. All content on every channel is in line with our overall marketing strategy. This includes an active blog, original videos, engaging website copy and daily updates to our social media pages that strategically build on the social discovery process.

-- Tyler Arnold | SimplySocial Inc.

7. Engaging With Video

Content is a huge component of my business and is integrated deeply into any marketing we do. Recently, I have focused on video content with the launch of "She Takes on the World TV," and it is blowing any other content out of the water. The engagement, number of comments, conversion rates and number of shares have all greatly increased since focusing on video content.

-- Natalie MacNeil | She Takes on the World

8. Demonstrating Expertise

We have invested heavily in great content this past year as a primary part of our marketing strategy. We moved away from fluffy articles on our blog and have worked hard to attract industry experts who can help us develop world-class content related to college admissions and academics. We’ve been rewarded with highly engaged existing customers who share our content, which drives new customers to us.

-- Chuck Cohn | Varsity Tutors

9. Addressing Customer Problems

No one wants to hear a sales pitch before he or she is sure how to address a problem. Content marketing is about addressing customers’ issues and challenges by investing in their problems early on and helping them through the discovery process. Your product may be one of many solutions they're researching, but it's your thought leadership and advice that instills trust and builds a relationship.

-- Mike Cuesta | CareCloud

Originally published Jul 12, 2013 1:00:38 AM, updated December 05 2014

Topics:

Content Marketing