Content Marketing has been a buzz phrase for the past decade.
Loved by modern marketers who see it as the secret weapon to making people fall in love with their brand.
Hated by old-school directors because it’s tricky to track whether it actually leads to sales.
So what is “Content Marketing” really?
Well, according to the Content Marketing Institute:
“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.”
Yeah that’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?
But what they’re saying is that it’s more about providing value to your audience, rather than urging people to part with cash straight away. i.e. warming them up today, so they’re more likely to buy from you tomorrow.
Want to know how you do it…
Less selling, more telling
There are three human truths at the heart of all content marketing:
- People are selfish.
- People hate being sold to.
- People are captivated by stories.
So instead of bombarding people with ads about your products and services, drop the sales pitch completely.
Make people feel that you care about them first, by creating interesting stuff:
- Entertain people with compelling and relevant stories
- Reveal interesting stats with cool infographics
- Teach people how to do stuff that your competitors aren’t
- Give people advice in ways nobody else is doing
- Show people what makes you experts rather than just telling them
- Explain your unique way of doing things with short videos
In short, avoid creating anything that might make people think: “So f*cking what?”
And never ever forget, that first thing that everybody thinks before spending time looking at any of your content is “What’s in it for me?”
What are the types of content marketing?
It’s dominated the marketing landscape for the better part of the last twelve years purely because there are more channels than ever to get your messages out there. And you are really spoilt for choice:
Written– informative web pages, blog posts and listicles, insightful social media posts that tell stories about you and your company values, case studies that show how you’ve helped others, eBooks that address long-term needs, email newsletters
Images– educational infographics and useful animations that help your audience visualise stuff that’s hard to explain
Blog Posts – Not sure if you’ve noticed, but you’re currently reading a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites.
Ebooks – Ebooks are lead-generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website.
Case Studies – A case study is perhaps your most versatile type of content marketing because it can take many different forms. That’s right, case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast … even an infographic.
Templates – Templates are a handy content format to try because they generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.
Infographics – Infographics can organise and visualise data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Videos – “how to” YouTube videos, explainer videos on your website, webinars, behind-the-scenes at your workplace, unboxing of your products
Podcasts – podcasts that demonstrate your expertise, either created by your business or a spokesperson appearing on an established programme
Social Media – Posting on social media is pivotal to amplifying your brand’s reach and delivering your content to your customers where you know they spend their time.
This is a 3-part article that we’ll publish over the coming weeks.
Part 1: Content Marketing -- What the heck is it, and do I actually need it?
Part 2: Content Strategy vs Content Marketing – What’s The Difference?
Part 3: Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy.