What Is Content Marketing?
Let's start with a frame of reference - some definitions.
From 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. Instead of pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve issues in their work (B2B content) or personal lives (B2C content)."
From a leading email provider, MailChimp:
"Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell."
Sounds amazing, right?
But What IS Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a philosophy - a plan - a strategy for your business. Ways you would deliver "content" in your content marketing:
What's the Point?
The point of content marketing as opposed to traditional advertising is to build relationships. Folks are far more inclined to use your services or purchase your product if they like and trust you and feel they know you as their friend next door. Content marketing is relationship building by adding value and providing service.
Is It Quick To Do?
Heavens no. Sorry. Content marketing is definitely not a quick fix philosophy. Relationships require long and steady nurturing. Chat with your customers or intended audience. Offer peeks into your life. Let your customer get to know you and you listen/get to know them. So many of us have developed friendships purely online with others and have never met in person! Video calls or "live" sessions can provide a close facsimile to "meeting" someone.
In listening to multiple content marketers, I consistently hear for every one "sales" email pitch you send, you should send at least double that amount (preferably more) shouldn't have a thing to do with sales. Instead, provide useful information and ways to solve your customer's problem. Also, simply be relatable and a person on the other side of the screen!
Is It Cheaper Than Advertising?
Statistics indicate YES! According to NYT Licensing and Zerys, traditional ads can cost as much as 62% more than your content marketing efforts. Is content marketing free or cheap? There's typically some cost to it, but you can get away with pretty inexpensive!
Build Those Relationships!
The biggest - and best - reason for content marketing as your PR strategy is to build relationships and get to know your customer! Build your "avatar" or "image" of your ideal client. Keep that frame of reference in your head or think of an actual customer of yours. Communicate as if you're chatting with that one person or writing a letter.
Show Up Regularly!
The best way to gain trust is by regularly showing up, even when it's hard and your time is limited.
Do you do content marketing? What's your current favorite technique? What are you stretching to add to your marketing plan?
I have a website; I'm blogging (aiming for increased times); I'm on social media (aiming for more frequent sharing/commenting); and I'm preparing to launch a newsletter!
I'd love to brainstorm ideas with you about your business! I may be able to assist you, or sometimes it simply helps to talk to someone fresh. Happy to kick some ideas around - Let's Chat!