“The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story.” ~ James O’Brian, from an article on Mashable.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing focuses on creating online content for a targeted audience. Businesses use it to promote their brands in a subtle way that allows them to avoid traditional advertising. Great content marketing informs or entertains – or both. The content must be valuable, relevant, and posted on unpaid platforms.
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, says, ‘If you pay for placement, it’s advertising. If you pay for placement of valuable, relevant content in a format similar to the third-party site, it’s native advertising. If you don’t pay for placement, the content is not advertising.’
Five things you need to know about content marketing
Because most of our business is online, it is difficult, if not impossible, to market without creating content.
Great content encourages people to want to find out more about you. It should encourage your followers to click through to your website. We need it for:
- Social media. If you don’t have fresh, relevant content to share, your social media strategy will fail.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Search engines like Google promote blogs and websites that regularly produce and publish quality content.
- Inbound marketing. The content you create drives traffic to your site. Most of us sell our products and services from our websites. If we can’t get people to our sites, we can’t do business.
- Public relations. Creating content allows you to talk about subjects your audience cares about. A good content writer will inspire, inform, and entertain. This allows your audience to connect with your business on an emotional and intellectual level and to learn to trust it.
- PPC (Pay-per-click). If you want an advertiser to pay you, the website owner, when an ad is clicked, you have to provide good content to back it up.
Suggested reading: How Creating Content (And Sharing On Social Media) Leads To Sales
- Blog posts – are many things. Read our comprehensive post on blogging: 40 Types Of Content That Will Make Blogging Easier For You.
- Editorials – are articles where the editor or publisher of the website expresses his or her opinion.
- Webinars – are live online presentations where viewers submit questions and comments.
- How-to guides – tell your audience how to do something, for example, How To Write A Case Study In 3 Easy Steps.
- Surveys – are questionnaires that your target audience completes over the Internet.
- Infographics – are used to share information in an easy-to-read format.
- Ebooks – as giveaways, are unique because they don’t seem like marketing at all.
- Interviews – our series, The Writers Write Interview, features famous authors from our guest speaker events.
- Videos – are an engaging storytelling platform to connect with your followers.
- Podcasts – are digital audio files for downloading to a computer or portable media player. (Listen to this podcast of an interview on social media and blogging)
- White Papers – are persuasive documents that describe problems and ways to solve them.
- Quizzes – can be created on platforms like playbuzz and quzzr.
An example of content marketing
The JBH blog wanted to produce a viral-worthy infographic on their favourite topic – content marketing. They created an Infographic using cocktails to illustrate the parts you need to mix into each type of content discussed. They say, ‘Using classic cocktails, we were able to break down key points about different kinds of content and their benefits in an engaging and original way.’ This is a great example of content marketing. It informs and entertains and it tells you where to go if you want to create a great infographic.
If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course.