Although, by the beginning of 2016, 88% marketers admitted that content marketing is an integral part of their overall marketing strategy (source), very few understand what is content marketing in its true sense and why it is more effective than traditional marketing.
If you don’t feel like reading the entire blog post, in the video given below I have explained in detail what content marketing is and how it can help you grow your business:
In terms of process and strategy, content marketing can be represented through the following tangle:
The three main steps involved in content marketing are
- Developing useful content
- Publishing that useful content
- Distributing that useful content
These are the fundamental activities but these activities can be further expanded into more points:
- Studying your market to know what sort of content is needed.
- Developing useful content according to the conclusion of the study mentioned in step 1 in such a manner that it also allows you to talk about your business.
- Publishing your content using the platform preferred by your audience (you find this through step 1) – your own blog or website, guest blogging on other blogs and websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, email newsletters, Medium, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.
- Distributing your content through the channels preferred by your audience – your own blog, guest blogging on other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, email newsletters, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.
- Using web analytics to study what sort of impact your content marketing strategy is making (now step 1 becomes a combination of step 1 and step 5, so now this is the new step 1).
- Continue with step 2 onwards.
By developing, publishing, and distributing highly useful and valuable content over a long period of time (the steps mentioned above) you develop a platform for yourself.
People begin to relate your presence with great value.
What is valuable content in Content Marketing?
It depends on your business. You can develop, publish and distribute useful content by
- Keeping people informed
- Educating people
- Making them laugh or making them feel sentimental
- Reviewing products and services for them
- Providing them privileged information
Basically, providing them something they value, something that they don’t mind getting access to or being delivered on an ongoing basis.
This, is what valuable content is.
What is content marketing according to renowned marketers?
Content marketing is the marketing and business process for 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.
~ Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing is the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.
~ Amanda Maksymiw
Content marketing is a device used by companies to educate, inform or entertain customers or prospects by creating attention or causing behavior that results in leads, sales or advocacy.
~ Jay Baer
Content Marketing is anything a company creates and shares to tell their story. It is conversational, human and doesn’t try to constantly sell to you.
~ Ann Handley
Content marketing is, creating a following of dedicated audience through providing valuable, timely and relevant content to people over a long period of time, so that they begin to trust you and want to do business with you on their own.
~ Amrit Hallan
Why content marketing works better than traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing, as you already know, is one-way. You’re constantly telling people to do business with you whether at that time, they want to do business with you or not. The traditional marketing doesn’t care whether people want to hear from you or not.
Traditional marketing uses channels that have already been built. The entire process is unscientific. People come across your marketing message when they are least expecting it or even when they are feeling hostile towards it.
Content marketing on the other hand, allows you to build your own broadcasting channel. When you develop and publish useful content, people seek you out to access that content on their own. You don’t have to advertise. People come to your website or the platform you use to publish your content, on their own.
By developing, publishing and distributing useful content on a prolonged basis, you develop a loyal audience of people who look forward to hearing from you.
You, your business name, or your brand, becomes familiar to them and they begin to trust you because of the non-stop value you deliver.
After you have successfully implemented your content marketing strategy, there are two ways people will do business with you:
- Scenario 1: They need what you provide and they know you provide it and since they already know you and trust you, they approach you rather than someone they don’t know.
- Scenario 2: You tell them what you provide and if and when they need it, they are going to get it from you rather than someone they don’t know.
So, the basic purpose of Content Marketing is, to be present in people’s lives in such a manner that you provide value to them on an ongoing basis while making sure they always remember what business you are in.
Once you have created such presence its positive impact is long-lasting.