What in the World is Content Marketing, Anyway?
If you've heard the term, but you're not quite sure what it is, then this is the article for you!
By Jessica Alex
Content, content, content — it’s a buzzword that you as a business owner have probably come across a few times. If you’re following our Instagram account, you have probably seen the terms “content” and “content marketing” quite often. But what exactly are they? Content, essentially, is the piece that you produce and publish through various platforms. For instance, this blog post is a form of content. Your social media posts are pieces of content. Your YouTube video is content. When we say “content marketing,” however, we mean using these various forms of content to a) appeal to your target audience and b) generate sales. What I love about content marketing is that it can be a great vehicle for you to become a storyteller. Plus, when done right, content marketing can help to create new relationships or further the existing ones. Andrew Davis, bestselling author and marketing keynote speaker, explains this well in his quote: “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
In today’s world of fake news and data breaches from big-time companies, if you want people to trust you, you have to earn it by being consistent with your audience and by listening to them. One way of doing this is producing content your target audience wants to see. (And if you happen to have segments to your target audience, creating different content for each segment, so the content speaks directly to each one.) I can tell you most audiences don’t want to see the sales-sales-sales type of marketing approaches that worked 50 years ago. Mix up your content: make it inspirational, educational or just straight up entertaining — all great ways to capture your audiences’ attention. Sometimes you may experiment, creating content that may fall flat. That’s okay, as long as you are taking the cues from your target audience about what they like and don’t like.
Creating a bunch of different content through various channels may seem daunting, especially if you run your own business (which may mean you’re involved in every aspect of your business). One way to help decrease that overwhelming feeling is to create a content calendar in advance. Some may say as far as a year in advance, but a lot can happen in a year, so at least try creating your calendar on a monthly basis. There may be times when you will find you can tie your content into a holiday (even the silly ones, such as International Fun at Work Day coming up on April 1 or National Wear Pajamas to Work Day on April 16 in the U.S.), or you can tailor your content to fit in with the hot topic at the moment (i.e., newsjacking). The key is to make sure it fits with your branding, and that you execute properly — or else it may be a miss, rather than a hit.
Another thing to keep in mind with your content creation is consistency. Be consistent with quality as well as timing. If you commit to doing a weekly podcast, make sure it’s a weekly podcast. And not every piece of content belongs everywhere. What I mean by that is, for instance, some photos would look cool in your Instagram Story, but not on your Instagram feed. Also, the way you deliver your content on Instagram (with multiple hashtags in tow) won’t have the same effect on Twitter or Facebook.
You also want to show authenticity, and when you are creating content that speaks to your audience, there is a high chance that you are doing just that. Showcasing original content on social media is one way to aid in your company’s authenticity, increasing engagement. One example is featuring photos of your staff, giving your audience an inside look at what they do for your company.
The main takeaway in any marketing that you do is to know your audience. Understand who they are and what they like. Show them you are invested and you care about their wants by creating content that speaks to them. If you do it the right way, the sales will follow naturally.
If you would like more information about content marketing or you have another topic that you would like us to discuss, email us at hello[at]jessicaalexmarketing[dot]com!