Inbound Marketing for Social Enterprises or Nonprofits: Part One — What is Content Marketing?

Hello and welcome to the first in an ongoing series of short blogs that will focus on how social enterprises and nonprofits can use content and inbound marketing to build a meaningful relationship with their clients, customers or donors. In these blogs, we will be covering the basics, from what content marketing is, to what CRM’s (Customer Relationship Management) are and how best to use them. Once we’ve covered the basics we’ll move on to how social enterprises and nonprofits can use these methods effectively and efficiently.

So, let’s get started.

What is Content Marketing and Why does It Matter?

Let’s start by answering this question for two reasons. One, there are many people who don’t know what content marketing is or they’ve heard the term used in so many different ways the picture is a little cloudy. Two, because the title for this section is an h2 tag, meaning it’s the keywords, “Content Marketing,” that will help this page rank in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but more on that in a future blog. So, what is content marketing? The simple answer is that content marketing uses content in the form of blogs, videos, pictures, and social media posts as a means to create interest in your company or organization.

Unlike traditional outbound advertising that hopes to attract consumer’s attention with ads, content marketing seeks to do so by providing meaningful content that gives insightful and useful information to your target audience — improving their understanding of your product, a topic, or a recent event. Content marketing is about an exchange of information that allows for the development of a long-term relationship between you and your audience.

Okay, now let’s take a look at content marketing in action.

Hubspot and MOZ: Content Marketing Done Right.

Hubspot and Moz’s websites are part of my daily reading routine. My guess is that anyone with my job title “Digital Marketing Manager” or similar knows exactly what I mean. These two companies provide so much useful information on their websites through blogs, whitepapers, videos and podcast, that I trust them on a daily basis to help me meet my client’s needs. These companies have content marketing down to such a degree that I don’t look elsewhere when a client needs a content marketing platform (Hubspot) or when I need to conduct SEO research for them (Moz). As such, we will be referring to research by both of these companies throughout this series.

One example of how Moz does content marketing is Whiteboard Friday, a popular video series hosted by Moz cofounder, Rand Fishkin. Each week Rand and his team provide insightful information on the current state of SEO and inbound marketing. The content is well written and produced. The one-on-one, conversational nature of the series creates a connection between the viewer and the team at Moz, which develops trust in the product and the team behind it. And that is the goal of great content marketing: to build trust and eventually a loyal customer base that is deeply invested in the information, service, or product you provide.

Of course, not every team can create videos like Moz, but I guarantee you can create content in some form that has the same effect if you’re willing to put the time and energy into it.

Does Oliver Russell Use Content Marketing?

You bet — you’re reading some of it now. We’ve been using content marketing for just over three years and it has helped us in many ways.

  • It’s an opportunity to share our team’s expertise and thought leadership with existing clients, partners and new leads.
  • Gives our team a reason to research and develop new ideas around topics that are important to our agency and our clients.
  • Blogs, whitepapers, and case studies drive organic search traffic to our site.
  • Content marketing allows us to connect with like-minded companies and organizations.
  • It drives lead generation and new client opportunities. (More on that in future series.)
  • Our content provides prospective clients an opportunity to pre-qualify our agency for their upcoming projects.

And that’s just to name a few. Our founder and president, Russ Stoddard, wrote a great article on how we have used content marketing as a social enterprise in the past. Read about it here.

Content Marketing Next Steps

Now that we’ve covered what content marketing is and looked at examples, I have a favor to ask of you. I want you to think about you, your company or organization, and the insights and thought leadership you and your team could share as part of your content marketing efforts. Because in the next part of this series we are going to talk about how to identify topics and create content. See you next week for part two!

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