Content Marketing? But what is it exactly?
Content Marketing is one of those terms that different people describe differently. The definition according to the online dictionary describes content marketing as marketing strategies that “involves the creation and sharing of online material, such as videos, blogging, and social media posts, that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
My preferred description however comes from the Content Marketing Institute’s own Joe Pulizzi and goes like this…
“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.”
Note how he emphasises the elements that make content become a form of effective marketing:
– Valuable -> your content needs to be of value to your readers
– Relevant -> you need to stay relevant to your target audience by learning about them
– Consistent -> you need to stay consistent to earn loyalty and also to rank in search engine and gain social media visibility. Without consistency content just won’t work.
The History of Content Marketing
Because it is connected to online marketing, these days, many think that content marketing was just invented lately. The truth however is very different. Content Marketing was invented many years ago it was already in use in the early advertising days pre-dating the 1900s.
The oldest example of content marketing is probably the farrow Magazine – published by John Deere back in 1895, in no less than 12 languages, reaching 40 countries. A modern digital version of the magazine still exists and holds testimony to the loyalty the he has built using content marketing. You can still find the magazine in digital format at https://www.johndeerefurrow.com/.
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The Jell-o recipe book is also a prime example of how content marketing was done in the early days. This is a recipe book full of different ways to use use Jell-O. It is one of the oldest example of content. The recipe book created sales by educating people on how to use Jell-o with some marvellous recipes. It created a desire for the product through education.
The Jell-o recipe book is another testimony to the power of content marketing, as it too is still around in its more modern digital version at http://www.jello.com/recipes/
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Return on Investment (ROI)
The Strongest Motivator for Content Marketing
There are many content and SEO professionals out there that will vouch the effectiveness of content, however the Hubspot Report statistics from 2014 says it all.
Leads and prospects cost less with content marketing. Although it seems like ti is far more time consuming and complex, when all the outsourcing costs and time are put into the equation, content will actually cost you less. The great this is that over time the cost will keep decreasing as ‘old’ content that ranks will keep generating leads without extra spend. Content marketing is probably the only form of marketing that creates real marketing assets. When well SEO-ed your blog posts and videos will keep generating leads for years to come.
Notice how the cost per lead is reduced over time with content. With pay per click ads on facebook and google the cost stays the same (unless the platform increases the price)
Content will keep you well-educated and honest (if you’re anything like me it will keep you sane too)
When you commit to providing to your prospects and customers on a regular basis, you cannot slack! You need to stay at the top of your game because you want to make sure that you’re one of the first to share that stuff. Right? This will keep you (or make you) a lifelong learner and guess what? That’s what will make you even better at what you do. It will also keep you honest , because the more you write the more you will grow into writing about things in a real way. You will slowly get more honest with your audience and this will match you up with clients that a better match for you. So it’s wins all around.
Writing also keeps you sane!
So if you decided to bite the bullet and do the slog yourself. I tip my hat and wish you lots of good health. I promise it will keep you sane. It will give you a great medium to express yourself., and that my dear, is absolutely priceless!
I originally fell in love with content marketing precisely because it is a non-promotional type of marketing. It is a form of marketing that focuses on building trust and engagement. Selling is secondary to relationship building.
We all know that money and selling are crucial to the survival of any business, but content marketing focuses on building relationships first. And as any seasoned business owner will tell you – in the long run ‘trust’ is worth more than any sales tactic in business.
Whats more if you really put your authentic self or your business’ core values into your content, you will attract better clients, better employees and build a better business.
Now go create some great content. Your future clients are already looking for it!