Content marketing enables a brand to provide content that customers want (i.e. they pay attention to) in exchange for permission to market a product or service. Attention is the new currency — the new metric toward which brand marketers are shifting focus, away from traditional digital metrics like the click.

Content marketing is a branding exercise. Branding by definition is about creating an ongoing connection with a consumer so as to be at the top of their consideration list during purchase.

Here are five advantages of content marketing in more detail:

1. Value

Content marketing provides something of value to your consumers, unlike traditional advertising. If the content is personalized and tailored to what consumers want, they will end up spending time (attention) with your content, developing a relationship with your content, and thus, your brand/products.

2. Education and awareness

Many times, people don't purchase a product if they don't understand how to use it or if they don't realize that they want it. Personalized and valuable content like blogs and videos will educate the consumer to the point that they understand the value of your product and/or feel the need to buy your product.

3. Shares and increased reach

People share content online that they think provides value. The value can be in terms of education, humor, interest or latest news. These aspects of "value of content" are touched by content marketing, causing people to share it.

How often have you seen people share a link to your website? Not too often.

People share links to content. That content would further be shared by friends/followers/connections and so on, increasing the reach of your brand, which would otherwise not happen if not for the valuable content (content marketing).

4. SEO

For every blog post or new piece of content you publish, your new content is indexed by Google. Without content marketing, your website may have 10 pages that can be indexed. If you publish a blog post once a week, that's 52 additional pages on your website that can be indexed by Google.

Google also indexes pages higher if they are clicked more often and have relevant content. This will happen through valuable content generated via content marketing. Thus, you're likely to gain search engine traffic and possibly also potential customers.

5. Increased traffic

By posting valuable content in various forms (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) on various sources (website, YouTube, iTunes, social media sites, etc.), you will reach people who are unique visitors to those sources people whom you would not have found without posting your content.

This creates additional audience sources and, possibly, new customers.

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