Content Marketing is so simple a concept it’s hard to explain. Content marketing is educational but it is NOT about the products or services a company sells.
The best way to tell you what it is is to offer a few examples of what it isn’t. It is not a furniture store advertising their big mattress sale with the lowest prices of the season. It is not a bicycle shop spouting a list of brands they carry.
Imagine the same furniture store providing a 5-step guide to choosing the right mattress. And the bike shop creating a series of podcasts on easy repairs you can do yourself or training tips for racers. Think of content marketing as having a one-on-one conversation with your customer but instead of waiting for someone to walk in the door, you speak to them in their home, the office, or while waiting for the bus.
Content marketing is the best way to take your product, even one as common as a mattress, and turn it into something that is not like everyone else’s.
American Girl does a terrific job with its content marketing. Each doll has a story and they cleverly guide parents and their children to apps, videos, interactive games, books, and in-person events where the child interacts with their dolls at special lunches and even hotel packages. It’s this level of quality content that garners a $150 price tag on the 35th-anniversary collection Kirsten Larson doll.
Liberty Mutual is in the business of selling insurance. They used a strategic approach and created the content platform, “Master This” designed to help people solve their home and life challenges. As they describe it, the platform is dedicated to helping people build skills and worry less. It doesn’t focus on insurance products but instead offers information its audience finds useful, educational, and helpful. For instance, you can learn how to create a fire escape plan for your family.
Content can be distributed through a number of different channels. Educational articles and blogs, ebooks, videos, webinars, podcasts, and entertainment are all examples. The wide array of channels is what really makes content marketing different from traditional product-focused advertising. Done well, content marketing answers questions your customers are asking, or should ask, about your product or service.
Content Marketing is not about your company or brand. It takes hard work, persistence, and most of all patience. Content marketing is about your audience and what they care about. When you answer questions your audience is asking, you become a trusted advisor. As such, when your audience is in need of your product they are much more likely to purchase from you.
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