“So what exactly is Content Marketing, and why should I be bothered?” is a question we are often asked by our digital marketing clients.
The simple answer can be found on the website of the according to the Content Marketing Institute (yes there really is one!) According to them, 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.”
But what does this really mean in practical terms?
It means writing stuff about your particular area of expertise and publishing it in a way that your target market will find, value and do something with to generate commercial value for your business. A bit like the ‘givers gain’ concept in face to face networking.
When discussing content marketing, many of our clients baulk at the idea of giving away their “trade secrets”, fearing that if they share too much, their prospects will do it themselves. We would argue that if prospects are likely to do what you offer themselves, then they are probably trying to save money, and are not the right prospect in the first place.
So what to write?
Like all marketing, content marketing needs to be strategic – there has to be a defined plan tailored for the long term. And it needs to be integrated into the overall marketing plan, timed to coincide with other forms of marketing, such as email, SEO, and Social Media.
The target audience needs to perceive what you write as valuable and relevant. The content must reflect an understanding of who your audience and their own business needs in order to create something valuable and relevant to them.
In the plan, there needs to be clear goals identified. Quantify them as well. The content, like all your marketing investment should be driving towards a business end. This might be to maintain a steady build up of awareness, it might be to start the process of filling the sales funnel; or it might be a valuable conversion tool. Whatever the goal your content marketing has to be adding some value and if it isn’t, revise the strategy or invest your marketing budget elsewhere.
Where to publish.
The best place to start marketing content is your website blog. Publishing content on your blog enables you to use the built in xml feed to distribute it on social media and drive email marketing campaigns. This is the most efficient way of maximising the reach of your content marketing strategy; publish once and let the technology work for you.
Check back for the second part of this article, where we will look at how to put together a content marketing plan and more ideas to help kick off your own activity.