The Truth About Content Marketing

Content marketing has become a new buzzword. It’s spawned its own cottage industry; there are content marketing courses, experts, books, etc. According to Wikipedia, “Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.”

An important point to realize though is that content marketing existed well before this term was coined and well before the internet became such a dominate force. Good public relations firms have been utilizing content marketing for decades. The concept is not a new one. It’s only the spin that’s different. Similarly, media relations experts have been building and developing brands long before the term “branding” became such a catch all term.

The emphasis on the approach, style and content are really not new, what is new is the mode of distribution. Social media, blogging, online marketing.. those outlets are relatively new. Still, they are the channels of distributing and disseminating information, they are not the information itself. The new mantra is that “on the net content is king”, but in reality content always was. Whether writing a press release, a white paper, or an article or pitching a TV segment, developing a good story and creating strong content have always been the bottom line. An effective PR campaign has always depended on strategic content development.

The shift is in the medium(s). Now you can deliver content via the traditional press outlets of TV, magazines, newspapers and the radio, as well as via blogs, vlogs, social media, and email marketing. Using this combined approach a company can grow a business, build a brand, and develop a strategic reputation-building approach.

But keep in mind that a standard pitch or sales laundry list does not qualify as effective content. The job is to solve a problem, offer a solution, advocate a new idea, or reveal a new way to approach a problem. You want to be inspiring, thought provoking, and offer cutting edge approaches and effective solutions. You can discuss what’s new and what’s next, but the bottom line is that your content is useful and speaks to your target market. How can you make your customer’s lives easier, happier, more time effective, more cost effective? Offer anecdotal stories that illustrate these points. In this case content means value.

Content Marketing For the People

Of course, the sad fact is that most of your target market doesn’t want to hear your thoughts, and they really could not care less about your vision. They probably don’t even want to hear about how you developed your products or why you think they are the best thing out there. What people want is information from a knowledgeable source. Remember, you aren’t the only party involved who has an agenda.

Think about it this way when you are marketing your business – it’s not about you. Your potential customers care about their own problems and challenges. They want solutions. They want you to show them how much you know about your subject, so that they can establish you as an authority and a trusted source of information. Trust drive sales. Therefore, your content marketing strategy needs to be centered around the fact that it’s about them, and that requires you to change your point of view.

Begin by thinking of your business as a solution. From there, think about what issues your customers might have. Come up with the answers to every possible question or objection you can think of. Write your content as if you understand these issues and face them yourself. When you genuinely identify with your readers they will start to trust you.

Content Marketing- The Trust Factor

And so we come to the key to effective content marketing. When you stop thinking in terms of how selling your products will benefit you and start thinking about how your products can help other people, and market your business accordingly, then you will start to see real results. Your information becomes the basis of your customers’ purchasing decisions, and you become the natural first place they think of when they are ready to buy.

Tell stories, give examples and offer data that compels people to buy from you. Speak with authority. Let them know that you understand their concerns. This strategy works whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a one-man show. Whatever you are selling, your credibility comes from the fact that you are connecting with your market, and offering your customers something of value.

After all, it is about them.

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