What is Content Marketing?

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If you’re exploring ways to market your business, you’ve probably heard of content marketing. And if you haven’t heard of it, you’ve been exposed to it for over a decade without realizing it. Which is the point!

Content marketing is a tough for many companies to wrap their heads around because it requires at the very least an investment of time (which normally means hiring someone to execute the content during that time, unless you’ll do it yourself) but it also requires that there’s no hard sell on the majority of that content.

According to the Oxford dictionary, content marketing is:

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.

But that’s still not too helpful in understanding how it will work for your business. I’ll break it down.

What Are Some Content Marketing Examples?

Have you ever considered buying a product, then spent some time looking around the company’s website? This is very common especially if the item you’re purchasing is a little confusing like a technical service or financial product. 

Or have you considered buying a product from a company on Instagram but spent some time scrolling through their pictures before making a decision?

Those are examples of when content marketing was a tool in closing the deal. The key to good content marketing is to not let people know you’re doing it. That’s why before now you may not have even realized you were being marketed to. 

Click around this sites of some of your favorite companies and take a look at their blog and how their content is structured. If you find a great example, please share with us all in the comments!

How Does Content Marketing Work?

This is the hardest part to explain to companies because content marketing works by not directly marketing. In fact, most blog posts, videos, etc. shouldn’t have any kind of hard sell in them. You’re building up trust with your audience and proving that you have value to them before they even become a customer. 

Providing value is especially important in younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z who look into the companies they’re making purchases from. 

Let’s make up a content marketing example for a fictional company that sells reusable eco-friendly plates. This week they posted a blog about how to plan a picnic, a video about a beach cleanup they did for a team building exercise, and a promotion saying that 25% of every purchase in the next two days goes to a charity that helps clean the oceans. 

Their blog had no type of sell in it at all. It was purely for the readers who want to enjoy the outdoors with their friends. The video also has no sales language but shows that this company lives out their values and will take time to practice what they preach. The promotion is a sell, but it continues to reinforce the company’s values and creates urgency for people who want their purchases to help a cause.

33% of the posts were about selling and 100% were about connecting with their audience. That’s the power of content marketing: it helps create and maintain a loyal clientele.

How can I start content marketing?

This is a big question and will be another post on its own, but it would be pretty crappy of me to get you excited about content marketing but not tell you how to do it.

Start small with an editorial calendar. Plan one blog a week, making sure that you are generally writing about things that are related to your business but aren’t a hard sell. And when you’re ready for the sell, don’t make it a hard sell. Remember that you need to show your value to your customers beyond what’s in their cart. You should also follow these principles in your social media.

A bonus of content marketing when done right: free traffic to your site thanks to SEO rankings. The more valuable content you have, the more likely people are to see your page when they’re searching. 

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or comment because I promise you other people will wonder the same thing you do.

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