Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating customers so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

The primary goal is to obtain opt-in permission to deliver content over time, preferably by email. Repeated and regular exposure builds a relevant relationship that provides multiple opportunities for conversion, rather than a “one-shot” all-or-nothing sales approach.

There are many ways to profit with content: blogging, video tutorials, email newsletters, white papers, free reports . . . and yet many people are confused about the entire concept. The trust, credibility, and authority that content marketing creates knocks down sales resistance, all while providing a baseline introduction to the benefits of a particular product or service.

High-quality content trains your readers and listeners to keep opening your content. It rewards them for doing what you want them to do. That means that every piece of content you write has to either solve a problem your audience cares about or it has to entertain them. Preferably both.

When you do this consistently, your content becomes an appealing habit for your readers. When they see your name in their email box or a Twitter retweet, they know there will be something they like on the other side. And they’ll click through.

Remember, you’re not trying to land a sale in a single shot, like some desperate used-car dealer who wants to put you into a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville TODAY. Instead, you’re building a content network that supports a sale and many sales after that.

Use your content to address underlying objections that might keep someone from buying. Use it to tell interesting stories about how others have benefited from your offering. Use proven persuasion techniques to show your reader just how much they need your product or service.

Successful salespeople will tell you that your customer needs to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy. That’s exactly why content marketing is so effective. Great content buys you the time to build that trusting relationship. So use that time wisely. Keep the balance right. Use your content to build desire for your product, and to create an unshakeable relationship with your audience, then ask for the sale.