Future Careers: What Is Content Marketing?
Visualize your mail box or slot on any given day (either your mail slot in physical space or your inbox, either one will do). Think of the cascading cavalcade of useless, unnecessary circulars — printed on tacky, environmentally-unfriendly glossy cardboard stock — advertising services you could never need or want in a billion years.
At very best, this kind of advertising — examples of traditional outbound marketing — are unnecessary, inefficient, and not that useful, in terms of ROI or establishing legitimate leads or actual connections with potential new customers. At worst, unsolicited outbound marketing can actually harm your business and reputation, leaving a sour taste in your customer’s craw, even if they’re already loyal.
In a world where we are surrounded by unwanted marketing and advertising at every turn, outbound marketing can seem antagonistic and pushy. Nobody — barring a few old-fashioned analog apologists — wants it. This is why content marketing is so incredibly important in today’s digital marketing climate.
But what is content marketing, and why does it matter so much? Let’s investigate.
What Is Content Marketing?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of what content marketing is, and why every single brand, business, or service should be investing in inbound marketing in 2017, let’s consider a couple of real world examples.
Case Study: Jackson Coffee Company; Jackson, Michigan
Marketing coffee can be tricky business, with cafes and caffeinated watering holes on nearly every street corner. Instead of focusing on crafting generic sales pitches that no one asked for or could ever possibly want, Jackson, Michigan’s Jackson Coffee Company instead uses content marketing to attract customers rather than promote themselves endlessly. True to their slogan, “We roast while others boast,” Jackson Coffee Company focuses on creating real relationships with their customers, using targeted e-mail lists and offering copious clever incentives, like birthday deals and special rewards for repeat customers and website visitors. People love them for it — Jackson Coffee Co. have received several local awards of distinction, including the Brick Award from the Jackson Chamber Of Commerce in 2007, for outstanding brick-and-mortar businesses, as well as receiving Jackson’s Entrepreneurial Spirit award in 2008, all while barely operating any kind of social media, including Facebook or Instagram.
Case Study: Feldman Creative
Crafting innovative and interesting content marketing for individually-owned businesses is kind of a no-brainer. Unique stories and personal quirks are built into their setup, making it easy to craft narratives to help them stand out from their competition and outline their Unique Value Proposition (UVP). B2B, on the other hand, is a whole different beast, although content marketing for B2B makes total sense when we really stop and think about it.
Barry Feldman was a successful copywriter in Silicon Valley from 1995 until 2001, when the tech bubble burst. Frustrated with spending time, energy, and resources crafting salesy pitches for skeptical clients, Feldman turned his marketing strategy for his creative agency Feldman Creative “outside-in,” becoming an early adopter of millennial marketing strategies. Instead of spending money on circulars, ad placements, and PPC campaigns, Feldman put all of his energy into SEO research, content creation, and social media. His risk-taking paid off — he secured 30 new clients in the following months and a 1000% increase in web traffic.
Content Marketing Defined
Contentmarketing.com defines ‘content marketing’ as 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.”
The reasons content marketing is valuable are built right into that definition “focusing on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain an audience.” In short, giving your audience or clientele what they need and want, instead of what you’re trying to force on them or brainwash them into buying.
Content Marketing: What Is It Good For?
There are three main reasons most companies adopt a content marketing strategy.
- More sales.
- Cost effective.
- Increasing customer loyalty.
And that’s not even to mention that content marketing is forever (or as long as your website or digital presence exists), while other digital marketing strategies, like PPC or sponsored posts on social media dry up as soon as you stop sinking money into them.
6 Reasons You Need Great Content Marketing In Your Life
“Content is king,” is repeated so often on the Internet it’s gone past being a cliche to being a kind of white noise that we don’t really notice, like a gnat perpetually tickling your earlobe — but what does it mean, exactly? Why is content marketing so important in 2017?
- Social Media: Social media marketing is only effective when you have something to promote. Blog posts, informative articles, Infographics, even original memes all count as content to push your clients and customers to your website.
- SEO/SEM: Content marketing is essential for mastering long-tail marketing. As long as people are looking up keywords and search terms on search engines, your content will keep pulling them in, bringing you customers for years on end.
- Good PR: Remember, good PR is about solving your customer’s problems, not your own. Content marketing means your customers are already looking for a solution, and you’re already there solving it for them.
- PPC: Pay-per-click advertising simply doesn’t work if there’s nothing to advertise or draw in your audience.
- Inbound Marketing: Content marketing and inbound marketing are practically synonymous, but content marketing is the keystone of any effective inbound strategy.
- Content Strategy: Content marketing eventually leads to content strategy, helping you to get clear on what your goals and motives are, better helping you to decide where to spend your time, money, energy, and resources. Content marketing also yields endless actionable marketing insights, when used in conjunction with traditional marketing strategies like measurable metrics, keyword research, sales funnels, landing pages and the like.
Ready to give content marketing a try? Do you need high-quality writing, graphics, or other media in any number of niches or industries? Get in touch today, and start making your website and digital marketing work for you.
Got other examples of great content marketing you think I should know about, or questions, thoughts, or concerns? Leave a comment or get in touch via e-mail!
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