What is Content Marketing?
I’m sure you’ve heard the word before. My website mentions it many times because it’s what we do. But what is it? What is Content Marketing?
As appropriate when looking for a clear definition, let’s turn to the Oxford:
“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.”Oxford Dictionary
It is a great definition but I’d like to edit it a little…
“A strategic marketing approach focused on the creation and distribution of relevant, consistent and valuable content, to attract and retain a defined target audience, to drive action of a business objective.”Alex Taylor
The definition is the same, but it adds emphasis to what’s important. Content Marketing needs to be strategic in order to get results. And in order to be an effective strategy it needs to be relevant to your audience, posted at consistent times and of consistently high quality, and it needs to have a defined objective behind it.
The key to Content Marketing is that by delivering value to your customers, they’ll deliver it back through business generated from your efforts.
So you might be asking yourself how you can get on board. Let’s first start by taking a look at what forms of content are available:
5 Forms of Content
1. Articles and Webpages
Webpages are what make the internet. Any webpage is content, but what makes a webpage an effective form of Content Marketing is the value it contains. Articles are essentially long form text with value, making them a great form of Content Marketing when used effectively. Solve a visitors need with an article, recommend your business for further assistance, and you’re well on your way to a new customer.
Videos are an excellent form of Content Marketing. Just look at the YouTube channels of big brands like Nike, with almost 2 million subscribers. People think video production is expensive and hard, but professional quality cameras and microphones are becoming increasingly affordable, and with the rise of Vlogging you don’t need to have movie level production to gain a following.
These usually are long vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs and other information, that are one of the easiest forms of content to consume.
They are also great because they’re easy to share across social media, making them one of the most effective ways to go viral.
4. Books and Leaflets
Writing a book isn’t just great for selling a book. The real power of a book is it’s low price point, and gaining a new customer that can be further marketed too for larger purposes in the future. The real power of a book is not as a product, but as a marketing tool.
Leaflets are effective in the same manner. An information packed mini-book about your company that can be kept and shared with others.
Ever heard of Joe Rogan? From his podcast alone he’s become one of the most recognisable people on the internet, and has netted $100 million in an exclusive deal with Spotify. Podcasts are on the rise, mostly thanks to their easy listening nature which is great for otherwise dead time like while commuting. They can be used to value bomb an audience of potential customers with information, and form a relationship that can lead to long lasting clients.
This isn’t a definitive list. There are other forms that content can take. The key is they all provide prospective customers with value and introduce them to your business.
Why Should I Care?
But perhaps more important than the forms Content Marketing can take, is why does it matter? Why do businesses bother?
To understand why, we need to take a look at the buyers journey:
When a customer is aware they have a need or a problem, but are not aware of the solution
When a customer performs research to find a solution and finds different vendors that offer one
When a customer considers the different options and companies available to them and compares brand recognition, price, trustworthiness, etc.
When the customer finally makes a decision and goes forward with the transaction to solve their need.
What is the beauty of Content Marketing over other forms of Marketing available is that Content Marketing assists a customer at all points of the buyers journey.
While traditional forms of advertising may only make a potential customer aware of your business and encourage them to research you further, with Content Marketing you can give them that information about you, and build trust to make customers consider you over your competition.
Customers can find your content, receive value from it, and by the time they have contacted you already be convinced they want to work with you.
How Do I Get Started?
If you want to jump in and get started with Content Marketing, the easiest way is to start blogging. Free e-books, video production or podcasting can come later.
Or if you’re simply too busy to write content that generates value, creating converting content is my specialty.