Content marketing is not a new concept. Since it focuses on storytelling, it’s practically the oldest type of marketing there is! It can be traced back to the late 1800’s with John Deere publishing a magazine called The Furrow that was targeted towards farmers (although I’m sure there are even examples that go back farther). Even with its longevity, content marketing can still be a confusing concept that many businesses fear. As your friendly neighborhood marketing superheroes, we’re here to lay down the basics.
What is it?
Content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute, “is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Our TL;DR version (and for those who don’t know what TL;DR means, you need this): creating content that adds value for an audience to increase profits for your business
But I prefer another definition of theirs…
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
While it may be a little pessimistic, it’s true! People are narcissistic. If your brand is not giving them information or content relevant to their needs, they will not spend time looking at you.
Another good way of thinking about it is instead of telling everyone you’re the best brand, you’re showing them. You’re building trust with consumers by showing you are knowledgeable in a specific area, and that they can turn to you with questions or needs about that topic.
What does content marketing look like?
The great thing about content marketing is that it is incredibly diverse and can take shape in almost any media. Traditional, digital, mobile, you name it. These are some of the most common examples:
- Blogs (Recipes, Information, How-To guides)
Seriously, the list is endless. While the most popular option is definitely blogs, plenty of brands are branching out and trying new things. Podcasts are gaining incredible audiences like no other, with 21% of Americans saying they’ve listened to a podcast in the last month.
General Mills started a podcast called “A Taste of General Mills.” Wet n Wild makes beauty tutorials. Betty Crocker offers recipes online. Google made an e-book. There is an opportunity for any business to invest in content marketing!
Think creatively and brainstorm about what value or information your business offers and push content out about that. It doesn’t hurt to glance at what competitors in your industry are doing either. Take note and then do it better or maybe do something completely different.
What are some benefits of content marketing?
Consumers will look to you as a trusted authority…and start to care!
With the help of content marketing, you could now be the genius, the guru, or the go-to for a certain topic. If you’re a construction company that offers valuable content to consumers interested in construction, they will look at you with more authority. Trust will also be built because you’re offering good advice or tools that have helped make their lives easier. Of course they’re more apt to buy your products or services if you’ve benefitted them in some way.
Brand awareness, brand awareness, brand awareness
Would Betty Crocker products have become as popular if they weren’t accompanied by numerous cookbooks and cooking shows? Probably not. These were the effective marketing efforts that positioned the brand as being the go-to for homemakers. If you want to get your name out there, be it locally, industrially, or globally, you need content marketing.
Big bang for your buck
Some content marketing efforts take more time and money (videos, for example), but you can still create many types of content on the cheap. Blogging, for instance, doesn’t eat up too many valuable working hours and can reach an incredibly wide audience. Podcasts can be as simple at 10 minutes and minimal editing or as complex as a few hours with professional production. Infographics are super easy to create, and there are tons of online tools to aid the process. Content marketing will not break your budget, but it will open the doors to a wide audience.
If you need help with your content marketing efforts, let the marketing geniuses at Transformation help you out! Give us a call and we can strategize on what will be best for your business.