What exactly is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” To put it another way, the Content Marketing Institute goes on to say, “Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.”
When you first heard the phrase content marketing you may have thought that this was the new in-vogue approach to marketing a product or service. In reality, content marketing has been around a long time, as long as marketing has been associated with the selling of a product or service. A few examples: In 1895, John Deere produced one of the first magazines, called The Furrow, which provided free information to farmers on how to become more profitable. In 1904, Jell-O distributed a free cookbook, incorporating their product as being a versatile food. By 1906 Jell-O saw their sales increase to over $1 million.
In the digital world, content marketing takes the form of blog articles, email articles, news clips, videos, how-to guides, Q&A’s, photos, and a myriad of other avenues. Its channels for distribution seem endless. Some of the more popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Linkedin.
The premise here is that if you provide valuable information to perspective customers they will be loyal to the source of this information with future purchases. Does it work? According to many studies, it does. Consumers have become blind to the normal channels of traditional advertising, and are looking for information and resources they can apply in their lives.
According to Roper Public Affairs:
- 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.
- 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company.
- 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions.
In summary — Make a connection with your buying customers by providing them something they can use and apply. Be engaging. Develop an ongoing source of information that is relevant to them. In the long term, they will be loyal to the provider of this information.