What in the World is Content Marketing?
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Content marketing, while not exactly new, has gained popularity over last decade. It is a comprehensive, highly effective strategy that is largely misunderstood. Even those who employ the approach in their companies have a hard time explaining it.
Let’s start with what content marketing is NOT.
Content marketing is not traditional.
It does not focus on conventional collateral sales or straightforward product descriptions.
Content marketing is not promotional.
It does not make explicit or direct references to the company’s products or services.
Content marketing is not obvious.
It is not a website solely comprised of corporate background information and offering lists.
What Content Marketing IS
Content marketing is a wide-ranging approach to total customer care.
Content marketing targets and caters to a company’s niche base and saturates that base with useful information and creative activities and events that draw people toward the company.
To do this successfully, content marketers must know their audience intimately—what matters to them, what motivates them, what makes a difference in their lives.
Content marketing takes intense focus, time, and much more effort than traditional product sales, but the return on investment is worth it.
Content marketing takes on many creative forms:
• Books and periodicals
• Much more
Here are a few examples of successful content marketing campaigns:
Coca Cola got people talking its brand by personalizing their bottles.
Charmin developed a Sit or Squat app to help customers locate clean bathrooms.
LinkedIn published an e-book to help its members use their site more effectively.
Blendtec created a series of viral videos about the strange things you can put in a blender.
In each case, these companies increased their brand awareness and created an invaluable buzz around their product that boosted customers and sales.
Why content marketing works
Content marketing connects companies large and small with their precise audience. Every time someone searches a topic on the Internet, content marketers see it as an opportunity to reach those people through a variety of platforms: video, blogs, webinars, etc.
By supplying valuable information about the topics people search for, content markers begin to build trust, loyalty, and name recognition that would never be possible through traditional channels.
Content marketing gets people involved in your business. Some become subscribers, some become customers, but the most valuable are those who become believers. Believers spread the word—and that’s something money can’t buy.
Content marketing makes money. New customers hear about your business through multiple channels and platforms and existing customers deepen their loyalty and gain a sense of pride in their connection to you. Both groups become invested in your business.
Content marketing is often less expensive than traditional advertising and sales efforts.
Storytelling is an authentic and organic way to communicate your business’ mission and purpose. Most consumers trust a genuine and honest story that positions a company as a supporter of communities, social justice warrior, or real-life problem solver over a slick ad that tries to manipulate.
Content marketing will only be successful if the content and its delivery systems are relevant to the particular audience. The key is not to find a gimmick, but to offer something genuinely valuable—that might be information, social connections, or pure entertainment.