Wikipedia defines content marketing as “any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.” That is a pretty basic definition, but it’s a bit of an understatement. Content marketing has been around for a very long time. In the late 1890’s John Deere started publishing their magazine “The Furrow” to help farmers with the business of farming. In the early 1900’s the Genesee Pure Food Company went door-to-door, giving away free cookbooks to promote their product Jell-O.
A better definition would be something like “any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of useful information to help your customers solve a problem or achieve a desired outcome.” But that definition doesn’t really do justice to the scope that this type of marketing covers.
While the creation of useful and relevant content to promote a brand, service or product is not a new concept, the modes of delivery have grown. Major companies now use a multi media strategy to promote their brands and products. Newsletters, social media, blog posts, email and video have made content marketing a useful and necessary function of business.
What many marketers get wrong is the part about “useful and relevant” information. If you aren’t providing value with your content marketing efforts then you are just creating spam to clutter websites and inboxes. Successful content marketing campaigns provide information that keeps consumers interested, entertained and informed. It is vitally important that your content makes the user want to continue to read and open the next piece of content you deliver.
Along with interesting and useful information another important factor in a successful content marketing strategy is consistency. Whether you are publishing to a blog, social media or other broadcast avenues you must be regular with your schedule of releasing your content. If you can only publish once or twice a week, publish on the same days every week. Create a content delivery schedule and stick to it like a life preserver. When you start delivering your useful information regularly, on the same day, week after week, your customers will start looking for it consistently. Making your customers Want your content is one of the primary goals of your marketing strategy.
Another primary goal of your content is to get your customers to take some form of action. The action could be as simple as a comment on a blog post or clicking a link to a short survey. Every piece of content you deliver to your customer should contain some type of call to action. You Have To Ask Every Time. Delivering useful information to your customers isn’t the main purpose of your content, creating reader engagement is your objective. Conditioning your audience to take some form of action with every piece of content you deliver will greatly increase your chances that your customers will click through when you offer them a product or service.
The very top of your primary goal list of your content marketing strategy is Conversion. Turning your readers in to buyers, buyers in to repeat customers, repeat customers in to loyal fans. This is the sole purpose of marketing – converting traffic in to buyers. Keep this goal in mind with every piece of content you deliver by making sure you ask your audience for an action.