There are two types of people in the world (or at least in this part of the world). Those who get content marketing, and those who don’t. If you fall into the latter group, you’re not alone.

Yesterday I attended a marketing roundtable where experts in the field discussed various elements of marketing such as SEO, social media, branding, and content. While I found many of the conversations intriguing, what struck me most was the fact that every speaker mentioned the importance of content. Being immersed in the content world on a daily basis, it was refreshing and validating to hear what those on the “outside” have to say about it as well.

However, when it came time for the Q&A session with the audience, not many people asked questions about ways to improve their content strategy. Was this because their strategies are flawless? Unlikely.

I suspect it’s because they lack a clear understanding of the basics of content and how it works; until you’re doing it, it’s hard to know the ins and outs. As a result, they simply didn’t know what questions to ask.

Let’s clear things up a bit.

Content marketing is not simply a tactic; it’s a marketing philosophy that emphasizes the need for businesses to get real with consumers. It’s the creation and distribution of written work and multimedia that’s been strategically manifested to connect with consumers and raising brand awareness. It’s about helping, entertaining, or educating your target audience to build trust.

And that’s extremely important for two reasons:

It gives value and credibility to your organization.

Most consumers are searching for information about your brand and its product or services before they ever make a purchase. But when they search for, say, “best k-cups for Keurig coffee maker,” the only way they’ll come across your web page is if you have an online presence. And in order to boost your online presence, you have to create content. Which makes sense, because if you develop a social strategy but are lacking in the content department, what the heck are you going to post?

Whether it’s created by your own team or curated (content you share that has been created by another company), content displays credibility because 1) Google will direct users to you and 2) you prove you know what you’re talking about. Social, SEO, branding—all of it requires content.

It gives consumers a reason to like you and buy from you in the future.

Whether you write an article about “How to Clean Your Coffee Maker” or share a YouTube video on the topic, your audience gains value from the content you create. In that moment, consumers will see that you’re not only interested in making a sale. You’re interested in bettering their lives as it pertains to your brand. And they’ll continue looking to you for more information.

As a result, it’s vital that you ensure your content is quality. That’s right, there’s no cutting corners when it comes to creating content. Articles must be well written, infographics must have killer design, and videos must look professionally made. As Walter White proved in “Breaking Bad,” quality is the key to standing out in a crowded marketplace; if you sacrifice quality, you sacrifice buyers.

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This also means your content should not be self-promotional, as that makes your brand look completely inauthentic. Advertising on its own fails to sustain a marketing campaign today because people desire a two-way communication with brands. They don’t want you to tell them to buy your product; they want to hear it from other people. And if you can’t talk about yourself, you need another way to keep them engaged.

Soo… what’s the point?

The bigger picture of content marketing isn’t to instantly increase website traffic, ROI, and other traditional and measurable marketing goals—although when it’s working properly, all of these should increase as a result.

It’s about building trust with consumers, which is essential for any business that wants to increase loyalty and develop a positive brand image. And those are wonderful goals to strive towards.