A Non Jargon Definition
This post aims to give you a natural and clear definition on what is content marketing?
As I mentioned in my last post, content marketing is relatively knew. When I tell people I’m a content marketer, a mist appears over their eyes and their head cocks to one side which usually means they’re confused but intrigued. They’ll register the marketer part (which has become a dirty word) and then I’ve to explain the differences of what I do compared to a traditional marketer.
What is Content Marketing? The Textbook Definition
If you Google what is content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute will tell you…
“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.”
I think out of all of the online content marketing definitions this is a good start.
If you Google what marketing means the Chartered Institute of Marketing will tell you…
“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
You’ll see that they’re interlinked and have the same end goal yet content marketing is a little more creative than traditional marketing. And this is why content marketing was welcomed into the online marketing industry so quickly. Advertising professionals saw a change in customers and recognised that the internet provided the chance to entertain and to have a little fun. This is where businesses could utilise the power of story telling to become even more successful.
Looking Closely at What is Content Marketing
Let’s break the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition down so we can make it simple to understand (a principle of content marketing in fact).
A strategic marketing approach
The world strategic used to unnerve my creative soul a little. Nowadays I’ve come to learn that it means to know what direction you’re going in, why and how you’re getting there. Every story answers these questions. If you know this, it makes everything else a lot easier when it comes to creating a content marketing story.
Distribution, relevance and consistency
Let’s put them into context. Firstly, distribution – consider where your business needs to be. Content marketing is applied to online marketing practices so you can forget traditional forms of press such as newspapers and magazines.
What kind of channels do you want to be seen most active on? I’m choosing Twitter and LinkedIn and industry specific sites this year and I’ll be backing that up with some traditional forms of media.
Secondly relevance – do you need to say that? What I find interesting and what you find interesting can be two different ideas altogether. This is where customer profiling comes in (yes I know I’m always on about it but it’s key)! To understand who your audience is, is to have a great success rate of talking about the right things.
Thirdly, to be consistent is perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of content marketing. This applies to a whole host of things for example how many times do you tell people about your ethos and what makes you different, how many times are you contributing to those Linkedin posts, responding back to your blog comments and checking your statistics? It’s all part of the consistency process.
Attract, retain, clearly defined audience
Fourthly, In doing all of the above you should ideally begin to get customers. The challenging part is keeping them happy. Content marketing can be a way of assisting the relationship between the customer and you.
For example let’s go back to relevancy. I could devise a downloadable eBook that helps potential customers get the most of out my services. It could cover everything from the ways I can help to including a project description section with some thought provoking questions to get the client thinking more about what they envision. This means when we do work together, the process would be streamlined and I could spend more time on figuring out the strategic part of the plan instead of untangling my client’s general thoughts!
Another example is my blog. I’ve identified that my clients have asked so many important, weird and wonderful questions, that they’ll make excellent blog topics. Ideally I’m using this blog as a way of helping my audience. This ties in with not only relevancy but talking to a clearly defined audience.
Drive profitable customer action
Last but not least, to drive profitable customer action. You’ll interpret that as getting paid! That’s OK, it’s welcomed and it’s a nice thing. But it’s only part of the big picture.
Remember when I said content marketing came about because the market was changing? Well, it wasn’t only the customer who was changing it was the business market too.
Content marketing is here to entertain and cleverly persuade people to buy and in doing so profitable customer actions could include:
- Recommendations- Facebook tags, Twitter RTs and YouTube shares are example. Word of mouth is still the biggest form of advertising and therefore this is a digital form of word of mouth.
- Blog comments – helping you to get higher on the search engine so you’ve a larger audience influence. Organic SEO is still very important even in the sea of paid search.
- Reviews – Trip Advisor springs to mind and can help to influence and persuade by giving real life customer encounters.
Remember, these indirect forms of profitable customer actions should not be ignored but rather encouraged in the content marketing process.
So, what is content marketing?
Perhaps you can tell me what you’ve learnt from this post. I should add this is a broad definitions of the subject. Other factors such as how you track what’s working i.e. Google Analytics, paid and organic search are large elements to the strategic plan of what content marketing is about. I’ll save that for another day.
Gently does it now!