Your Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing - What Is It? & Why You Need It
Content marketing is a vital piece of the puzzle for every business and brand - everyone needs it, but not everyone understands it. We get it - it’s a LOT to digest! We’ve crafted this helpful guide to content marketing (and digital marketing as a more general concept) for those who are looking to expand their knowledge and perhaps invest in a content marketing agency like us!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Content marketing is described by Google as: “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services."
By creating consistent, meaningful copy (another word for text) and imagery focused on your target’s pain point shared to your social media, website, blog posts and email blasts, you create an emotional connection to your audience, positioning you front and center in their minds each and every day.
We like to explain content marketing to our clients as “the absolute best, least sleazy way of marketing” - this method of marketing tears down the barriers and divides that pay-per-click, affiliate and “growth hacking” marketing methods create so strongly in our society. Marketing should be fun and inspiring, celebrating community over competition and focusing on building quality relationships, but not every marketer promotes this environment (in fact, it can be hard to come by). It is extremely important that you know what options are available to you before you take the leap to invest in the consultant or agency that will be right for you.
SO, WHY DO I NEED IT?
In this 21st century world, we interact, discover and learn by way of the Internet. Brands are discovered and “followed” online, encouraging them to make meaningful connections with their audience, giving companies a HUGE opportunity that wasn’t here a good 30 years ago. The companies who are successful at connecting in an intentional way in this digital space stick out among the rest, positioning them at an advantage.
You can either be the brand who sticks out because you’re bothersome and not providing any content of value to your audience, or you can be the brand who sticks out because of your authenticity-centered practices and genuine interest in solving your audience’s problem(s) - and let’s be real: who wants to be the first of these two choices!?
Brand expert Donald Miller shares the story of the “hero” and the “guide” in his StoryBrand framework, telling us that we must be the guide, our clients and customers are the heroes of their own stories. We use content as a means for connecting - crafting blog posts, email blasts and social media posts that answer their immediate pain point and give them a reason to choose us.
Your competition is on the Internet. Your potential clients/customers are on the Internet. You’ll either book your dream people or miss the opportunity. For us, the answer/reasoning needs no further explanation.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?
Social media platforms.
Email lists (with freebie opt-ins).
Any other content-focused item like podcasts and videos.
Content marketing goes beyond social media, although that is a key component! Making sure that you have a holistic strategy of blog posts, email list blasts (with freebies), live video, maybe even a podcast is so key!
Of course, we’re big believers in the idea that more platforms and components doesn’t necessarily mean success - these should always be carefully considered and wisely chosen. Only make content that will be easily discovered by your target audience and spend time where they’re hanging out.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RESULTS I SHOULD BE EXPECTING?
Content marketing provides a wide variety of benefits aside from the obvious eventual increase in revenue and bookings/purchases, but we like to call it the “slow and steady wins the race” method. By investing in something that takes a bit longer to cultivate ensures your longevity in the long run.
Here’s just a few of the perks of content marketing:
Increased brand awareness (noticed by the audience you’re trying to attract)
Increased brand authority (seen as a leader in your niche of specialty)
Meaningful relationships cultivated (relationships last longer than transactions)
Achieved know, like and trust factor (key part of the relationship building process)
Ease of communication dialed in (your audience will always know what’s up)
We hope this guide proved helpful along your business marketing journey! Please don’t hesitate to pop any follow-up questions in the comments below, we’d love to chat about your strategy and any details you may still be wondering about.