Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing, relevant, valuable content to attract, engage and acquire a target audience.

For you to succeed in content marketing, you need to give your audience high-quality and engaging content that will convince them to buy what you're selling.

Content marketing is essential in order to increase the visibility of your business online. The content you have on your website should be related to what you sell. In other words, use your content to educate your audience so that they can trust and like you enough to do business with you.

Search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and social media all have to be applied together in order to achieve great results. You can’t succeed using content without a social media presence, and neither can you achieve results using SEO without properly utilizing social media and quality content.

![Content SEO](/content/images/2016/06/content-social-seo.jpg)

To keep your audience engaged, it is advisable to publish relevant, high-quality content on your business blog.

Here are some channels you can use to generate leads and get customers online.

1. Whitepapers

A whitepaper is an authoritative, persuasive and well researched report on a specific topic that presents a problem on one hand and proposes a solution on the other.

Online marketers often create whitepapers to educate their target audience about a particular topic. It is an advanced problem-solving guide and also a way of collecting leads which requires at least an email address.

Investopedia defines whitepapers as well detailed informational documents issued by a brand to promote or highlight key features of a solution, product or service.

The major goal of a whitepaper to any business is to persuade and inform your audience by giving them facts and evidence.

2. Analyst Reports

There's a lot more to analyst reports than just finance. Companies have expanded their research to cover specific topics in their areas of interest, after which they publish their findings to their audience.

Analyst reports are a great way to provide your target audience with data that will guide them in making the right decisions.

Because of their scope, analyst reports are particularly useful for diving into data related to market trends.

3. Webinars

A webinar is an online collaborative service that includes training events, lectures or presentations from a web-connected computer to other web-connected users.

With webinars, your audience will get to know more about your brand, product and services directly from you. You can use online content, downloadable files and in-person attendance to give participants an opportunity to ask questions and interact with you.

Webinars are suited for creating awareness among potential buyers. Make sure you have a question and answer session to keep your audience engaged.

4. Video

Video is found to increase engagement when combined with other online marketing strategies such as email marketing and blogging.

Videos can be used to pass information to a large and varied audience. While many businesses have blogs where they post content, the number that uses engaging and interesting video content is limited.

To promote your business, you need to create interesting and relevant videos. If your brand deals with developing applications, for example, you will need to create an engaging video demo showing your audience the usefulness and benefits your app presents.

There are tools to track the performance of online video, such as Heatmap, which allows you to see where your audience watches, re-watches and skips within the video. You can use the data to produce more powerful video content for your audience.

5. SlideShare Presentations

SlideShare is a presentation resource integrated within LinkedIn where users can upload PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote or OpenDocument presentations privately or publicly.

SlideShare also supports videos and webinars. Users can rate, share and comment on the uploaded content.

You can integrate SlideShare presentations into your blog posts to enhance the content that you want to share.

Slideshare can also drive traffic back to your website or blog, so make sure that the branding is visible but not overpowering. Make a presentation that complements your message without duplicating it, so that your audience can come to you for further information.

6. E-books

You can create digestible visual content about your business in the form of an e-book, that is a digital publication that you can share to drive up awareness of your brand within an audience.

E-books can be used to integrate visual content with text in an engaging manner, so you are able to promote your business in a way that your readers will be able to understand.

One way to distribute the e-book content is by uploading it online and then asking those interested in downloading it to submit their email addresses first. In doing so, you are collecting targeted leads interested in what you offer.

7. Infographics

Infographics are visual presentations using symbols, text and graphics to break down what a report says into a form that is easily interpreted.

They can be shared easily and can even go viral across the web. If you want to create an infographic for your business, you can use tools such as Piktochart, Canva and Venngage.

To get results for your business, you need to make full use of your content to turn leads into revenue. Before you choose the medium that you will use, you need to know what your audience want and how your content can address it.

Cover Image by Jake Stimpson

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