If you’re interested in marketing anything online, whether its yourself, your blog, or a product/service, you may have stumbled across the term content marketing. And for those of you who haven’t, boy are you in for a treat. Content Marketing, as defined by Wikipedia is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. Content Marketing as defined by Markus Robinson is, creating useful sharable content with a focus on building trust and rallying a community together around a subject, person, product, or service. Or better yet, Content Marketing is creating and sharing content with a deliberate and measurable goal. Most of us, whether we know it or not, have been creating great content for years and haven’t capitalized on it. Whether the medium is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via a blog, the only difference between the content we’re creating now and content marketing is intent.
So why should you care? I hope this list helps you get the point:
1. Customers Want to Buy not be Sold
There’s a big difference between being sold something and buying something. That difference largely comes down to two words… education and trust. When you’re knowledgeable about the product and/or trust the person selling it you’re more likely to purchase a product and feel good about the purchase.
2. You can have a community of customers before you have a product to sell
Imagine you had a blog devoted to food. Eating food, cooking food, trading recipes etc. You’re not a professional chef by any stretch of the imagination, but you’ve been able to build a large and loyal community of readers who love your content. You then decide to create an e-book dedicated to some of your favorite recipes and sell it to your community. You also ask your community to help spread the word by sharing your content with their friends. Without knowing it you’ve built a community of highly engaged potential customers well before you even had a product to sell.
3. Content Marketing is Inexpensive
Using the same cook book analogy, lets look at the alternative. Imagine you’ve graduated top of the class from the best culinary school in the country. You’ve worked at some of the top restaurants in NYC and decided to create a book of all your favorite recipes and market it online. What are your options? You could hire a PR firm and try to get press. You could higher a marketing team and litter the internet with intrusive display ads. You could even use other traditional marketing tactics and techniques and you may gain an audience, but at what cost?
According to the Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, while 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing is rooted in education and trust. Instead of “pitching” your products or services, you can simply deliver information that makes your audience more intelligent and more engaged. The essence of content marketing is the belief that if a person or business delivers consistent, ongoing valuable information to an audience, they will ultimately reward them with their dollars and loyalty. So, regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process.