What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an interesting practice.  It is something some of us have done well for most of our careers without even knowing that it had a name.  Seriously, I have an MBA and I don’t recall learning about it then, or throughout my 30 years as a marketer.

2011.3.21 Content Personalize

Content marketing to me is not traditional marketing, which may explain why it was never covered in my formal studies. Nevertheless, it is a practice that you can readily learn, and one that is essential to your success with social media.

Content is the Currency of the Web 

To succeed in business, you learn to follow the money.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners intuitively know that if you want to be successful in business you follow the money. You learn how it is made.  This is accomplished by determining who has a lot a lot of it and then figuring what they did to get it.

Money is the currency of the business world.

It is a measure of doing something right – providing a product or service that others find interesting, useful, attractive, entertaining, or that is otherwise deemed desirable.

Content is the currency of the social media world.

It’s what drives it.  It is the value that others others find interesting, useful, attractive, entertaining, or that is otherwise is desired.  This means content is the currency that translates into that legal currency that everyone understands.

If you don’t have valuable content that others find desirable, there is no reason for the community to gather around you – whether you are charging for it or not.  This is one of the fallacies of social media, that just because something is free we are all going to want it.

I think they have a name for content without value – it’s called spam. While you may not consider yourself a spammer, you should consider that spam, chatter, and social media noise are all just degrees of the same thing.

Content Marketing Only Starts with Value

I was in Vegas recently and at the baggage carousel there was a handful of change scattered on the carpet.  I watched as others glanced at and just as quickly ignored it. While there was only about one US dollar there, there was still value – but nobody made the effort to take it.

There is a message there for all of us, maybe several.

It isn’t enough to just have good content.  You also need a couple of other things, one is a content distribution system, such as Twitter or a blog.

Imagine if that dollar of coins was setting in a neat little pile on a shelf or ledge where we were all waiting and could easily access it without effort.  I guarantee you someone would have scooped it up.

That’s distribution.

Now imagine you have left the airport and have checked into your hotel.  As you are getting settled into your room you notice a handwritten note on the nightstand from the staff.  It says, “Here is a dollar. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s a lucky dollar.  Good luck and enjoy your stay.”

Wow! That’s personalization.

Personalization adds a unique quality to your content – one that engages people.  You could even say it adds more value. I’m not a gambler – not in the Vegas sense. I was actually in Vegas to speak at an event. Though if I were, I would never have spent that lucky dollar.

If you are challenged with getting followers to your blog, your Facebook page, or your Twitter feed, you are missing one of three key content marketing ingredients:

  1. Create Valuable Content
  2. Distribute It Effectively
  3. Personalize

What is Content Marketing?  

You just read my simple definition.  It’s creating useful or desirable content, distributing it to those that can benefit most from it, and personalizing it to encourage engagement.

What happens after that is how you accomplish your business objectives – conversion.  You have now earned the credibility that will allow you to offer even more and get paid for it. It’s a simple process, but it works if you understand and consistently follow it.

If you would like a more through and conventional definition of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 offers one that is nicely done, while also not being overly technical.

I love how Joe positions content marketing:  “If you are not content marketing, you are not marketing.”

This reminds me of one of my frequent comments:  “If you are not blogging, you are not serious about your marketing.” 

We are both using different words to say the same thing.

How about you – are you content marketing?

Feel free to share this with your friends by clicking on the Facebook Like button, or consider subscribing to this blog by going to the subscribe tab. 

Until tomorrow,  Jeff  

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Comments

  1. Hi Jeff.

    I agree. I never came across the word content marketing, even when I was doing it. But it has been around for a while.

    These days, people are content rich and time poor. There’s simply too much information out there and not enough time to filter it.

    Content marketing is essentially creating releveant (targeted) content that is visible. Clear call-to-actions lead your visitors onto the next stage and hopefully you’ll be chosen.

    I also agree with your comment rearding content strategy for social media. These days when businesses talk social media, they really mean content marketing. It’s the strategy behind these platforms. Simple.

    Your content however will vary industry to industry and even on the type of business you’re in. B2B content marketing is interesting to look at. It helps not only to find potential customers but also suppliers.

    You can find an intro to B2B content marketing here – http://marketingclout.co.uk/free-ebook-content-marketing-getting-started

    It’s focussed on B2B content and strategy. Worth a look.

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