“Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.”
Content marketing is a very valuable business tool – it’s also a huge topic to cover in one blog post.
Because of this, I’m writing a series of blogs to lead you through the basics and to point you in the right direction if you want to dive deeper.
As Julie Andrews (or more correctly, Sister Maria) suggests, “let’s start at the very beginning”. Why? “It’s a very good place to start”.
So, what is content marketing?
Ask Google and you’ll receive this definition:
a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Which is true, but there’s much more to content marketing than that.
What the definition neglects, is that this super effective business tool predates the online world and it really is all about promoting your brand. Not implicitly in terms of sales, but in terms of how your audience thinks and feels about you and your brand.
Content Marketing is a way to engage & inform your potential client or customer, before they meet you and without selling to them. When you deliver relevant information to your ideal client, they will ultimately reward you with their business. It’s a valuable tool in building the know, like & trust factor. Strategic content marketing is one of the best ways to improve your website and improve it’s rankings in Google.
Content marketing involves:
- distributing regular free, relevant and valuable content across a range of mediums to a target audience,
- keeping your audience engaged with you and your brand (think loyal subscribers),
- inspiring your audience to share your content with their networks (hello Facebook!), and
- embedding the “ideals” and “ethics” you want associated with your brand.
It’s an ideal way to achieve the “know, like and trust” trinity.
And, if you do it well, you’ll turn potential customers into eager customers who give you their repeat business and encourage their friends to do the same.
Content marketing from a different angle
Another way to get a handle on the meaning of content marketing is to look at what it isn’t.
- It is NOT direct sales.
- It is NOT one piece of content.
- It is NOT a brochure.
- It is NOT an advertisement – that is, something that interrupts the content your audience actually wants.
- It is NOT directly telling people about your product or implicitly promoting your brand.
Who uses content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, around 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing. While it’s hard to know how many businesses overall use this strategy, it’s probably safe to guess the answer is A LOT. Content marketing is an effective strategy for businesses big and small and for all business owners, young and old. Whether you have a shop front, a market stall or operate purely online, you can use content marketing to grow your business.
Why is content marketing so important?
Good content marketing really does work.
And the great thing about online content marketing, in particular, is that if you do it right your audience will take over and do some the work for you.
What does that mean? Well, while you may need to pay for someone to create some great content and initially use paid distribution channels to drive people
to your content, once you generate a following, you’ll get a natural flow of customers through email, social media and direct traffic.
Of course, to generate a following, you need good content and a good content marketing strategy – something I’ll go into more detail in my next couple of posts.
What’s the difference between good and bad content marketing?
Good content marketing is easy to spot.
- Subscribers anticipate the arrival of good content.
- Audiences enjoy the content and apply its information to their lives and/or business practices.
- Great content marketing inspires subscribers to share your content through their networks.
- The flow on from good content marketing is more customers and customer recommendations.
- Good content marketing is reflected in good data.
Perhaps most importantly, good content marketing is educational, inspirational, and aspirational.
Bad content marketing is, um, the opposite of all of the above.
Ask your self these questions:
- What blogs do I subscribe to?
- Whose YouTube channel do I haunt?
- Which websites do I head to when you want to know “how to”?
- Whose content makes me laugh, inspires me or makes me aspire to reach for more?
Take a deeper look at these sources and you’ll find people that have good content and a good content marketing strategy in place. After all, they’ve got your attention and loyalty.
While you might know what you like, it can sometimes be hard to recognise why it works so well. Even if you get why it’s got you hooked, you still might be unsure about how to achieve similar results.
Never fear! You’ll find inspiration in my next blog in which I’ll give you examples of businesses who are content marketing champions. I’ll give you lots of examples of what kind of content works and where you can share it.
And if all else fails, ask an expert.
The team at Online Influence can help. We’re happy to have a chat to you, to talk through the possibilities and guide you to content marketing success.
Contact us today, on 02 9199 2228 or 02 4724 9555.