Concept: Content marketing is the currency of brand development and engagement.  Content marketing is focused on stimulating interest in your brand. It can inspire and educate.  Content marketing is an approach that creates and distributes consistent, valuable, and pertinent content that attracts consumer engagement in your brand, which has for its objective-driving profitable customer action. …BUT– Content marketing is NOT about pitching a product. Content marketing is NOT about just creating and then sharing any kind of content.

Specifics: Content marketing is about sharing knowledge that engages consumers with your brand through informative social media posts, how-to-videos, advice blogs, webinars, infographics, and more. Some of the best content marketing today has evolved into “story telling.” The right content marketing message engages consumers, gives them a reason to have interest in your brand, influences sharing and word-of-mouth, aids in retaining customers, helps to maintain top-of-mind awareness, and assists in making you the authority of your profession.

Clarifying Terms: Don’t be confused in what content marketing is and what native advertising is. Content marking is an asset of the company–where the brand owns the media. Native advertising is when a company pays for their content to be placed on a third-party’s site.  This means paying to have your content on their distribution platform.

Simply Stated: Content marketing allows you to tell a story about your brand on your platforms, to inform (educate), to engage, but not to directly sell.

How do I begin?   Here are some steps. One of the most important parts of the process is to WRITE your plan – document your strategy and plan. This will help you in so many ways.

  1. Analyze brand for its uniqueness, brand position, and company needs associated with brand development
  2. Develop goals (i.e. Do you need to raise awareness for your brand? Do you need to convert customers to evangelists? Do you need to retain customers? Do you need to get customers to buy more products? Do you need to build an email list? Etc.)
  3. Set objectives for the goals and determine the path on how to convey that uniqueness (not through “pitching” the brand, but developing the brand awareness based on the goals determined so that you are sharing information/knowledge to increase consumer engagement in the areas identified.)
  4. Select a strategy and content mapping (Who needs to be the core target audience and what message will be delivered?) Remember don’t try to be all things, to all people.
  5. Develop the message (story) to align with goals and objectives (What will be the pillars of content for your brand story? Determine the size of the content deliverables such as 7 seconds, 2 minutes, 15 minutes, and type of deliverables, such as video, blog posts, research, etc.) Remember you have typically 7 seconds or less to capture and deliver your message.
  6. Build a plan (Develop content posting date and subject calendar, and how will it be delivered-which company owned platforms will be used and how-website, blogs, social media posts, etc., with which tools-narrative text, infographic, video).
  7. Implement
  8. Evaluate (Determine how you will measure the achievement of content marketing efforts/metrics to be used).
  9. Revise as needed and refresh regularly

Reflect on this adage by Jay Baer (New York Times best seller of Youtility”):

Sell something, and you get a customer for a day.

Help someone and get a customer for a lifetime.

This answers the “why” of content marketing.  Content marketing should be about helping someone and making your consumer more intelligent. The idea behind content marketing is if we, as businesses, deliver consistent and valuable information to consumers, then consumers will come to us with their business and remain with us because we have gained their trust and their loyalty in our brand.

Written by: Sabrina Pack-Professional Marketing Consultant