Content marketing is all around us. In fact, some of the buzzier forms of marketing, like social media marketing, SEO, video marketing and viral marketing are all forms of content marketing. In essence, the content comes first, and the marketing comes second because content marketing is the act of using content to meet a marketing goal or strategy.
To illustrate how almost anything can become a form of content marketing, think about a simple post on Facebook by a 16-year old girl saying Nike Air Force 1’s are her favourite shoes, Nike sees that post, shares it, and it becomes a piece of content marketing.
Content marketers are essentially charged with the task of taking content and turning it into marketing. They take a blog and add SEO principles to it so it will rank higher in Google. They take an image and share it on Instagram at a precise time, to a precise audience using a precise filter, and they fill web pages with internal and external links to improve the reader experience and make their content more digestible.
So, What’s the Point of Content Marketing?
The ostensible point of content marketing is to sell stuff. Whether that’s a product, idea, service or a philosophy, content marketers aim to use content to create a direct connection with the customer, audience or client. That is the power of good content; it removes the barrier between producer and consumer and creates a forum for conversation, which is essential in brand, product and service growth and development.
How Do Businesses Benefit from Content Marketing?
The first thing to understand about content marketing is that not all benefits are tangible. For example, things like creating brand awareness, driving respect within your field or indirect customer conversions are all intangibles, but they will have an enormous impact on your business.
Content has become inseparable from success. To sustain or grow your consumer base, people need to be talking about you, and without content, there is nothing to talk about. This ‘talk’ is all about brand awareness, and the more people talk, the more legitimate and trustworthy your brand will be.
It’s not just ‘talk’ that gives your brand legitimacy, the content itself also increases your reputation. We’ve all visited a website that looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1998 and moved on. How many restaurants or hotels have you avoided because they didn’t have a Facebook page? Who would you trust more, a gym with nothing more than flyers as their marketing, or a gym with a regularly updated blog page full of nutrition and exercise advice?
Will I See the Results?
We’ve discussed the intangibles, but there are plenty of ways you can actually measure the success of your content marketing, including:
- Measuring Site Traffic: Most content is online content, which also makes it incredibly easy to measure. Google Analytics will provide you with an instant snapshot of how your content has impacted your site traffic, and even how they interact with your site once they visit it.
- Increased Sales/Revenue: If you launch a campaign and you start making more money, there’s a fair chance you can draw a link between the two. The best part about content marketing is that you can find incredibly specific data on the impact your content is having, just by checking how many people open your emails, visit your site after clicking on a Google AdWords ad or buy something after seeing your Facebook or Instagram ad.
- SEO: Arguably the greatest gift good content will bring your business, is the gift of SEO. SEO is the byword for success in the online landscape because it gets you seen on Google and it ensures that all the relevant traffic is funnelled right into your greedy little hands. How good is that!
Examples of Incredible Content Marketing
Content marketing is so pervasive, that if you look hard enough, you can see examples of its brilliance everywhere. An article in Forbes Magazine points out The Lego Movie as one of the greatest examples of content marketing of all time. A feature-length cartoon was mostly a giant piece of content marketing for Lego, which has now surpassed Mattel as the biggest toy company in the entire world.
Australian purveyors of wine, VinoMofo also have an incredible content marketing plan. Every email, product description, Call-to-Action and even the name itself come together to create a solid brand that people like and trust. You know exactly what you’re going to get because the voice never wavers.
In creating a free exercise app, Nike Training Club, Nike have also shown just how powerful content marketing can be. They feature famous athletes that take you through workouts, and at every turn, you are made to feel as though you’re a part of a community. You want to look like the athletes, you want to wear what they’re wearing, and you are directed to purchase pages from the app itself. That is content marketing at its finest – drop the barrier and make the purchase as easy as possible.
Resources on Content Marketing