What is Content Marketing?
According to ContentMarketingInstitute.com, content marketing is:
“...a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In a nutshell, content marketing is telling about your product or service, not selling your product or service.
Differences Between Traditional Marketing and Content Marketing
Traditional marketing is like an old-fashioned carnival barker.
“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! We’ve got the greatest show you’ll ever see!” Once they’ve gotten your entrance fee, the “World’s Tallest Man” is maybe 6’4” and though you have to look closely, the bearded lady is actually wearing a mask. You leave feeling underwhelmed and probably taken advantage of.
Content marketing is more like your best friend’s new moisturizer. After looking at the label, you can see it features nothing but natural ingredients and the change in your bestie’s skin is impressive.
You Google the company website and find an informative and interesting video about the sourcing of their ingredients. Then you decide to make an informed purchase and feel confident in your choice.
See the difference?
Traditional marketing is far more focused on making a sale, even if that means exaggerating the benefits of a product or service.
Content Marketing Shifts the Focus from Selling to Providing Information
Content marketers are not trying to sell products and/or services. They are, instead, creating relationships, providing information, solving problems and building trust.
They do this by consistently providing targeted and relevant content related to their niche that educates, informs and entertains their visitors.
Content marketing is playing the long game. While the carnival barker method might get you some initial sales, it probably won’t build sustained business.
The best friend’s moisturizer method may initially take a longer time to make a sale, but that customer won’t forget that you were honest and straightforward. They’ll appreciate the additional information you provided to help them come to a decision.
You’re much more likely to earn that person’s trust and ongoing business. And they’ll probably tell their friends and family about you, too.
But How Does Content Marketing Actually Work?
Boiled down to basics, just write great content and share it across your social channels. A slightly longer explanation is that content marketing works by sharing your relevant and well-written content.
There are lots of ways to do this. Your blog is the all-important starting point. Videos are an incredibly effective tool. Your social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, are also vital places to showcase your content.
One of the best things about content marketing is that your content can be shared amongst all your channels. Write a long blog post and then post snippets from it to your social media channels.
Create a video and post it to YouTube, Vimeo and on your website.
You can adapt your marketing efforts to most platforms. This, of course, helps to keep spreading the word, reaching more visitors and creating organic “buzz” for your brand.
Personally, I love content marketing. It’s a much more honest and relatable way of promoting your business and brand. I love the idea of connecting with your audience by being helpful and informative, instead of just pushing for a hard sell.
Being authentic and building relationships takes more time and effort, but it also fosters some serious brand loyalty, and that is an invaluable commodity. It can pay dividends for years, or even generations, to come.