Thursday, September 10, 2015

What The Heck is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing World 2015 kicked off this week. It's a huge conference around the concept of content marketing and how to optimize it, improve its quality, and improve the results from it. If you want to keep up with live updates from the conference, I recommend you check out the Twitter hashtag for the event, #CMWorld. I have to admit I was a little disappointed to find out that #CMWorld did not mean "Cameron Mathews' World" where my legions of fans were tweeting about me. But all ego bruises aside, if you are like me in that you are not currently in Cleveland, Ohio, you might be wondering what content marketing even means.

Have no fear, I will explain it as best I can.

In a nutshell, content marketing is a broad moniker for a strategy of developing content relevant to an audience in an attempt to develop trust and a relationship that may eventually lead to a sale or other transaction. I'm essentially using this blog as a sort of content marketing, to be transparent, in that I share (for free) what I hope to be valuable content for you in exchange for your readership. I don't have anything to sell you, though (yet?), so for now, we'll just consider it free content instead of some sort of marketing strategy. In order to be successful, though, content marketing has a few requirements.

It must be free

Firms don't charge you to watch their commercials. Likewise, content marketing also carries no price tag. Remember, content marketing intends to develop a conversation with the audience. The relationship stands paramount over the idea of the conversion.

It should be valuable

Regurgitated junk has no value. Only valuable content can attract and retain audiences over time. So, when developing content marketing as an actual strategy, you have to seek ways to provide the most valuable content to the target audience. Find what your audience seeks, and provide it, at the best quality level you can provide.

It needs to be repetitive

Writing that one blog post won't gain you a following of millions, unless you hit some magic viral thread (and that might not be the audience you were seeking). Exceptions always exist, but your best strategy is to continue to push strong valuable content in a timely manner. You might not want to write every day, and that is perfectly fine. But you should have a someone regular or at least consistent schedule to push content out to your audience.

It has to be related

You might find it difficult writing tons of intriguing content articles on pet training, only to turn around and try to sell plasma televisions to your audience. The content should circle your product and enhance it. Every article does not have to be directly a plug for your product (if it was, it would most likely be traditional interrupting marketing as opposed to relationship building), but it should tie together with your product offering in a complementary way.

Content marketing works for any industry. I have seen attempts to build audiences using content marketing in fiction novel sales, telecommunications, veterinary supplies, yardwork, self-help services, and more. If you own a small business, think about how it could work for you. If you work at a large firm, what type of content would be valuable to your potential customers? How can you distribute that content most effectively? Feel free to bounce your ideas off of me on Twitter or email if you are looking for some help.

Word cloud courtesy of narciso1 via Pixabay