Whether you’re curating the best of the best or creating sassy, original and valuable content, content marketing is now a crucial part of any successful business. Sure, we’re peddling our own service here, but for good reason. Traditional advertising has transformed so significantly over the years that even advertising agencies have had to widen their own definitions of what is an ad. We know now that human beings connect to one another through storytelling. We are seduced by an emotive tale, sucked in by a controversial anecdote and sated by a juicy saga. We love the journey, and as it turns out, we want our service providers to take us on that journey before we are willing to part with our well-earned dollars.
What does content marketing even mean?
We are thrown so many buzzwords a business quarter, it can be a struggle to keep up. One minute you’re trying to prove your business cred by sprouting the latest word mash up, the next you are erasing any mention of the newly established pretention indicator from your communications. Those of you unfamiliar with the idea or practical realisation of content marketing might be wondering if this, too, is just a phase that is going to drain your bank with little or no return.
For those doubters out there, we hate (ok we kind of love) to burst your bubble, but this approach in some iteration or another is here to stay.
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.”
Basically, it’s a way of taking your audience, clients, partners and customers on a journey through useful, insightful and engaging content.
I’ve been doing it old school for years, why change now?
You’ve followed the same tried and tested path for years. Why would you want to change your approach? Well, for starters, we the consumers, expect it. We don’t want promotions shoved in our face with nothing in return. We get bored when we realise we’ve been tricked or pushed into a sale. We want relationships and we want something from you in return. We want you to show us you’re invested in us. Content marketing is the way to show your investment, while simultaneously showing off your own skill and value in the market.
What will I get out of investing in content marketing?
When you show people you have something of value, they will invest in you. There are countless benefits to spending the time and money on creating and curating great content. We’ve plucked our top ten:
- Position your brand as an expert/authority in your field
- Increase your digital traffic
- Boost your reputation
- Help you reach a new and untapped audience
- Give you insights into your audience
- Reduce your costs (cheaper than any traditional methods)
- Improve brand awareness
- Often yields better results than traditional methods
- Widen your sales pipeline
- Develop genuine lasting relationships with your audience
- Leads to audience/customer/partner trust and loyalty
Where do I begin?
The key to content marketing is getting it right for your brand and industry. Following a blind path set out by the thousands of ‘experts’ can often be more harmful than anything else. There is a lot of shoddy content flowing through our inboxes every day. Don’t create for the sake of creating.
Work out what you want to say and find the best channel through which to tell that story. Is it a blog, a video, a gallery? Is someone already saying it better than you could
Work out who you want to tell the story to. Who is your audience? Are they current clients, customers, potential partners? Understand your audience and your story will flow from there.
Work out a way you can be consistent. Is your chosen approach sustainable? If not, why not? What can you change to ensure that it is?
Do you need help? You are the expert in your industry, but you may be unsure how to communicate that knowledge. If you don’t have dedicated content experts on staff, invest in content experts who will get to know you, your brand and your ultimate message.
Content marketing can be a scary concept if you’re starting from scratch, but when you invest in great content, engaging stories and valuable assets, you’ll no doubt connect with your audience.