Content Marketing Step #1: Understanding Content Marketing

In today’s world online, website visitors have simply learned to ignore advertisements. We have become accustomed to skipping commercials with our DVRs and Netflix. We are able to jump from site to site without a care in the world for banner advertisements or other ads. We are able to tune these ads out quite easily, scan quickly for the needed information, and move on.

These once traditional approaches to marketing are now becoming more and more irrelevant as the internet is maturing in it’s meritocracy. Only the relevant marketing will bring value to the viewer. This type of marketing will be rewarded.

But, how can you present your brand in a way that provides actual value to the visitor? Through quality content.

What do we mean by “Content?”

Content: “A piece of web content is simply any speech, writing, or various art that is expressed and encountered through some medium.”

1. Pieces of content may include:

  • Articles and other writings
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Images
  • Live video like a training webinar or an interview
  • eBooks, Case Studies, Reports, White Papers, Checklists, Cheatsheets, etc.
  • A Social media post
  • The text and images in an email
  • Speaking engagements and other live events

2. A web medium, channel, or outlet may include:

  • Social Media Channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • Emails
  • Your own blog or website
  • Other blogs and websites
  • Video services like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
  • Article services like Medium and Huffington Post
  • Now let’s put the two together (content and a medium) and consider the strategy of combining the two through Content Marketing.

Content Marketing defined:

Content Marketing: “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.”
Content Marketing Institute.com

At it’s core, the purpose of content marketing is the process of continually providing value in order to enhance the life of the consumer. It’s a way of really providing value to an audience so as to encourage a change in the behavior of a consumer.

How content marketing differs from traditional approaches

Content marketing is quite the opposite of traditional advertising. A traditional view of advertising would define success as simply having an overwhelming visual presence. The term ubiquitous comes to mind for the single largest brand in the world: Coca-Cola.

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This billboard banks on the fact that staying top-of-mind is enough to change behavior. Even on this one billboard, they say their name 5 times. This tactic hopes to subliminally brainwash others into remembering their name the next time someone is thirsty.

This happens to work for Coca-Cola as they’ve already become the world’s largest brand. However, for your purposes as a website owner, you nor I have this luxury. Therefore, we need to strategize a depth of value not a width.

Traditional online advertising used to be built in such a way that it grabbed attention through color and big red arrows and directed traffic to a sales page. Now, with content marketing, we are able to advertise through telling a compelling story.

For example, Coca-Cola has recently ran a wildly successful campaign that focuses on depth over width. Their #ShareACoke campaign is about as individual as you can get with specific names on every bottle.

 

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Not only are there labels printed for John, Jane and “Friend,” there’s also labels for the not so common names and even international names across the planet. This kind of depth is what we’re aiming for and it’s found in the value of the content. This is something a billboard or sidebar advertisement could never do.

Content marketing, therefore, is the best of both worlds because you are able to continue distributing your brand widespread across the internet, while at the same time, offering an incredible amount of depth more than just your name and logo. This style of marketing does not interrupt and is in no way presented as salesy. Rather, it delivers consistent valuable information to viewers who ultimately reward the business with their loyalty.

It may seem strange to some, but in continually providing value, rewards will come back to you. It’s asking your visitor to allow you as a business owner into their world for a minute in order to see how you can align their wants and needs to your products and services. It’s as basic as it gets.

One thing we want to be sure to understand..

Not just any old piece of information is guaranteed to be valuable information. Even if your content is free and asks nothing of the viewer, unless it encourages a reader to stop, consider, and behave differently, it’s missed the mark. Your content must be both high-value while also compelling enough to spur action toward a change in behavior.

It’s important to realize that content marketing isn’t something that is guaranteed to generate revenue overnight. In reality, it will typically take 2-6 months (or even longer) in order to see any substantial difference. So, what you’re signing up for is really a long-term commitment that requires a great focus of time and energy with continual improvements along the way.

Understand that…

  1. Content marketing takes time
  2. Content marketing requires great content, and
  3. Content marketing is an ongoing process

I’m sorry to say that if you want to be successful in today’s world online, it’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when?” Content marketing is a necessity in order to be successful. It’s just the way the world is moving, or rather already has moved. It’s up to you if you’re ready to take on the task and begin providing value to your audience today.

So, that’s why..

We’ve put together a guide just for you!

We’ve put together a little guide is here to help you develop a content marketing strategy that produces real results. We help you identify what topics to cover next, who you should be writing for, and how you should be distributing it.

In this guide and throughout the next 6 articles, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What is my objective?
  • How will I measure my progress?
  • How will I determine whether or not my goals are reached?
  • Who will I want to reach?
  • How can I create valuable content?
  • How can I promote and distribute my content?

So are you ready to get your feet wet, splash around, and have a little fun? Good! We thought so! Let’s move onto setting your goals and objectives in step #2 of our content marketing series.