If you are trying to get into the world of marketing, you probably ran into the term “content marketing.” And, you probably have a feeling that you understand what that term means. But, most people are wrong when they assume that content marketing is simple. That is why we came up with this article to help people understand the value of using good content.
What is Content Marketing?
We will start by giving you the bare-bones definition of content marketing. Namely, it is a kind of marketing that revolves around creation and sharing of material that doesn’t explicitly advertise your brand but can help you reach more potential customers. The most common types of materials people use are blog posts, social media marketing campaigns, and video content.
However, that is far from being everything content marketers use to build brand awareness. In fact, content marketing strategies have been around for a lot longer than you might expect. Companies have been using them for B2C and B2B advertising for well over a century.
One of the best, pre-Internet era examples of successful content marketing is Marvel’s comic book series “G.I. Joe – a Real American Hero!”. You see, they didn’t create that comic to directly make money from it. Instead, they created it so that they could promote the Hasbro’s line of toys.
The target audience for this content marketing effort were boys that were between five and twelve years old. By offering high-quality content, they got their toys in the hands of millions of kids. After only two stories of the comic, 20% of their target audience had at least two G.I. Joe toys.
At this point, those among you who know a lot about marketing might say that this sounds a lot like inbound marketing. And, that’s right. To a degree, content and inbound marketing overlap greatly, both having the same philosophy and the same goal. But, they use different methods.
History of Content Marketing
While you might think that content marketing is a child of the twentieth century, it has been around for almost 300 years. In fact, the first example comes from none other than Benjamin Franklin. In 1732, he began publishing his yearly Almanack. However, the underlying cause wasn’t his desire to have his own printed issue. No, he actually did it to promote his new printing business.
The next important example comes from a tractor company at the turn of the 20th century. Namely, a tractor company named John Deere started a farmer’s magazine called “The Furrow.” It is important to mention that they were giving the magazine away for free.
Of course, nowadays, it looks somewhat different. These days, if you have a marketing team, they are more than likely to turn their attention to digital marketing. As it turns out, marketing content creation online can give you a very profitable customer action outlook.
Take for example GoPro cameras. Sure, they used multiple marketing channels, but in the end, most of us got to know about their products through viral videos. For a while, all you could see on YouTube and other video sharing services were clips of people doing crazy things with their GoPro cameras on. And now, when you want to buy an action camera, only one brand comes to mind.
How Does It Differ From Traditional Marketing?
Both traditional marketing and content marketing have very wide definitions. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to pinpoint the differences. However, after years of using both, we can say that there is one definitive difference between the two – value.
And we are not talking about the low production cost or revenue that is coming back. Instead, we are talking about the value the customer gets from it. Offering valuable content to your customers will make them appreciate your brand. Basically, putting out consistent content, and great content at it, works similarly to promotional giveaways.
Namely, traditional marketing, as such, is solely there to help the seller. Conversely, marketing agencies that use content strategies offer materials that are beneficial to the reader. In fact, the increase in sales basically comes as an afterthought.
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?
Content marketing might not be the perfect choice for every company. But, companies that choose to utilize it will see numerous benefits. For starters, customers won’t notice that the content you are giving them is meant to sell products. And that is important because new audiences don’t like ads.
The next benefit lies in the fact that you can build a subscriber base out of a clearly defined audience, and, in the content marketing world, it is of utmost importance to properly target the customer base.
Lastly, the final benefit we want to mention here is that using this marketing channel can help you build a stronger relationship with your existing customers.
Unfortunately, measuring the success of a content marketing campaign is rather difficult. After all, you don’t get a registry of people who see the content. They don’t leave their personal information, and they rarely go directly to your website to shop. Instead, the goal is to have them remember your company when the time for shopping comes around. Just go back to the example of GoPro. No matter how many other companies are out there, GoPro is the only one people remember.
Learning About Content Marketing
If you really want to create a proper content marketing campaign, you should definitely read up on success stories. We can only present you with so many, so, make sure to do your own research.
However, if you have too many questions, you might want to start asking the right people. For example, you can join the community of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This institute is the brainchild of Joe Pulizzi who noticed that more and more people started calling for education. So, instead of spending countless hours helping individuals, he created a platform with a powerful knowledge base.
In the End
If you ever heard that modern saying that “Content is king,” then you know that understanding it is crucial for surviving in the modern market. Decent content marketing is everywhere, and it keeps businesses afloat. However, if you’re creative and willing to put in a lot of effort, you can create amazing content marketing that will make a true impact. And remember, there are a lot of other people that will serve as competition to your company. So, you really want to make sure that you are offering great content.