Did you know you are already content marketing, you just don’t realise it?
Every piece of information you provide is content. Every snippet of copy, every image and every video on your website is defined as content (and every piece of collateral you produce too).
What distinguishes the “new” content to traditional content is engagement.
Content marketing in its contemporary form is designed to engage consumers and be shared among (social media) networks.
The Content Marketing Institute, the go-to guys for anything CM-related, however, lists various definitions. Amanda Maksymiw’s definition is the one most closely-aligned with my personal concept and execution:
“Content marketing is the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to a target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.”
[Interestingly, the American Marketing Association does not list a definition of content marketing.]
Content marketing takes many forms, from something as simple as a 140 character tweet to something as large as a guy in a tin can jumping into the stratosphere and hoping he survives (as was the Red Bull marketing team, I’m sure).
It doesn’t matter what you do, it comes back to marketing basics: as long as it is in-line with your brand’s persona, strategy, aims and is measurable; it’s marketing. If it is created by your company and shared via multi-platform media, it’s content marketing.
This is the beautiful thing about content marketing. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be bold, as long as it is relevant and engaging to your target audience, you’re on the mark.
Without content, the interwebs goes stale. By producing content for your target audience, you’re giving the internet something new, something unique and (hopefully) something that your audience will engage with (and Google loves it!).
Content marketing has bonuses in that arena we all love to hate: search engine optimisation (SEO). By producing original (keyword-relevant) content and publishing via your website, you’re refreshing your copy and updating keywords which Google bots love.
Content marketing has been hailed as the Google-ranking saviour following the release of Google’s latest Panda/Penguin algorithm updates. These updates encourage fresh, relevant content. Google is trying to discourage so-called black-hatted marketers (those who effectively provide spammy backlinks to increase their search rank).
Content marketing helps you achieve a higher rank against relevant keywords without the underhanded tactics.
Effectively you can create content marketing for any business on any budget. As I mentioned above, your website copy is already content. You just need to look at it from a different perspective.
You need to analyse, expand and enhance. You need to maximise your content’s value across multiple channels. I recently read an article on ‘slicing and dicing’ content to re-purpose it for other channels.
Take a look at your Google Analytics (and if you don’t have Google Analytics, please contact me or at least google it to find out how valuable it is to your business!) and see who your customers are and where they’re coming from; where they’re going and what they’re interested in.
What are your customers thinking when they engage with you online? As with all marketing, it starts all comes back to the target audience.
Armed with your keywords, with some further industry research, you can create content that is relevant and of interest to your target audience. It really is that simple. Whether it sets your world on fire or not is a different question entirely but I’m not going to analyse creative execution here.
Don’t just take the copy from your website and re-publish it as a blog post. That’s not the point. Take a product or service that you offer and highlight the features and benefits through case studies, pick up on an industry-related issue or news and present your perspective or explain the background behind an FAQ from your customers and you’re making progress.
The express purpose of content is to encourage your audience to share: broadening your market and building your reputation as knowledgeable within your field, as well as establishing your brand’s personality.
This is why companies such as Coca Cola and Red Bull, with their astronomical (see aforementioned man in tin can stunt) budgets do this to such effect: they have teams of people who track and monitor the market’s pulse and create content that is funny, cute, beautiful and in direct response to where the market’s (short-lived) attention is at the current moment.
The marketing teams at these huge organisations have the time and the resources to invest in influencing the influencers; something all marketers are trying to achieve within their niche audience.
If you get on the good side of these hallowed influencers (read: hipsters) your brand could explode and before you know it you’ve “gone viral”. [I’ve read about clients seeking out agencies and requesting that their campaigns “go viral”. It really isn’t that simple, so don’t ask!]
What happens though when, as predicted, the internet becomes flooded with more crap than it is now? Well, as always, those who are producing quality, engaging, relevant content, be it copy, images or video, will rise above the rest and achieve the likes, shares and re-tweets that brands crave.
While content marketing plays a role in maintaining brand awareness, lifting engagement and encouraging interaction, without a solid strategy to convert this engagement into sales theses interactions are meaningless.
How are you going to enhance your content marketing in 2013?