What is Content Marketing and Why Does it Matter?
If you spend any amount of time online, especially in marketing circles, you've almost certainly heard of content marketing.
But what is it, exactly? And why should it be part of your marketing strategy?
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content like videos, blog posts, and social media posts that don't expressly promote a brand but stimulate interest in a product or service.
Who uses content marketing?
According to a 2017 survey, a whopping 89% of the 1,102 North American businesses surveyed reported having and using a content marketing strategy. Of the 11% that didn't, over half of them reported that they planned to start content marketing efforts within the next year.
Check out these examples from well-known brands:
Makeup.com - Run by cosmetic giant L'Oreal, makeup.com is full of beauty-related content designed to inspire make-up gurus, not necessarily sell them L'Oreal products.
Patagonia's The Cleanest Line - On this blog, the team at Patagonia features stories related to everything outdoors: sports, activism, food, and the outdoor culture. If you're into the outdoors, you'll be drawn to these articles.
The Deva Curl YouTube Channel - This is one of my favorite haircare brands and their YouTube channel has tons of videos all about curly hair, coving topics like general haircare, how to use their products, and hairstyle tutorials.
Whole Foods on Instagram - The Whole Foods Insta page is full of gorgeous photos of healthy (and healthy-ish) foods. Sure, you can find broccoli and kale in any grocery store but these particular pictures and their captions are unmistakably Whole Foods.
Something that all of these examples have in common is the fact that you don't have to be a customer to enjoy this content. You don't have to have made a purchase and you don't have to plan on making one. If you're into the outdoors or makeup or have curly hair, these articles and videos are for you.
That sounds great for the consumer but what about you, the business owner?
How does content marketing translate to sales?
Content marketing helps with brand recognition. By consistently putting out good content, you're getting your name out there. People can't come to you if they don't know you exist! But you can't rely on name recognition alone. We'll talk about this later.
Content marketing is shareable. Content marketing pieces are prime for sharing. Look at the examples I listed. You've almost definitely seen people share recipes, hair/makeup tutorials, or even an interesting article like the ones on The Cleanest Line. Sharing is huge. It means more eyes on your content, more people hearing what you have to say, and more people coming to know you as an authority.
Content marketing helps establish you as an authority in your niche.
I would say that all of the examples I listed are already authorities in their niches.
But let's take Deva Curl as an example. If you don't have curly hair, you've probably never heard of them. Even if you do have curly hair, you may not be familiar with their products. But if you search for something like "curly hair tutorials" or "best curly hair products" on YouTube, there's a good chance you'll come across their videos.
By creating these tutorials about general curly hair care, and not just producing videos about their products, they're establishing themselves as a curly hair authority. If you've never heard of the brand but come across these videos organically, you'll see their extensive video library and might continue to come back to them for haircare advice. In the future, you may even become a customer.
And that's the goal here!
But it's really important to know that this won't be instant. Most people aren't going to read your blog post or watch your YouTube video and immediately make a purchase. That's just not how content marketing works. It requires a little patience.
It takes time to establish yourself online. All of the examples I listed up there have hundreds of posts. They've spent time building their voice and authority. You can't just throw up a blog post or two and expect big results. It takes consistent posting and consistently good content. If you're doing it right, the time and effort will be well worth it.
So should content marketing be part of your marketing strategy?
Absolutely! In 2018, content is king and content marketing is more cost-effective than paid advertising, netting three times the leads per dollar spent.
If you want to get in the content marketing game or publish fresh content on a regular basis, I've got it. Send me an email to get started!