It might sound like another one to add to the list for office Buzzword Bingo. And you may have heard it wheeled out to be met by sage-like nodding from around the meeting table... 'Yes, that’s right, Nigel, we’re working hard developing our new content marketing strategy according to our persona research.' That sort of thing?
So what’s it all about, then? Sounds as though it could pretty much cover anything – after all, ‘content’ is such a broad term, surely almost every piece of marketing material we knock up could constitute ‘content’. This isn’t too far off the mark, providing of course that it’s of genuine value to our target audience, keeps them engaged, and keeps them coming back for more.
World according to BillAccording to Bill Gates, ‘If people are expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.’
And old money-bags Bill is also credited with one of the most over-used homilies in digital marketing, ‘content is king’ (couldn’t you just slap him).
That was way back in 1996 when it quickly became clear to companies that their sites would need to go beyond providing a glorified sales brochure. They started to understand that online content has its own characteristics that meant companies could start to use content to build relationships with potential, former and existing customers.
Definition timeSo, in keeping with our content strategy's primary tenet of maintaining engagement, here's a pithy definition:
“Content marketing is the practice of creating information and creative material that is relevant and interesting to potential customers (as well as people who can influence your potential customers) with the aim of drawing loyalty and future business from them. It is not direct sales.” – seochat.com
And according to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
We could consider content marketing as a form of corporate journalism, where promotional writing plays second fiddle to producing material that aims to build long-term relationships.
No advertorialAccording to Felix Krueger, Customer Solutions Commercial Manager at Fairfax Media, something content marketing definitely is not, is promotional. It should never be confused with an ad for your product thinly disguised as editorial.
Content marketing is about producing content that inspires and engages. And as Felix says:
“Content marketing is about building relationships, it’s a long-term process. It’s about creating lots of touch points over time and in this way developing a relationship with a reader.”
Content provides inspiration to continue the journey in a way that traditional advertising can’t.
So there you have it. Content marketing – bingo!
And for a little more on the subject, see How to Catch Leads with Content Marketing.