For every piece of material you read someone writes it, the news, a story book, an article, a play, the movies you watch on Netflix, HBO or whatever movie channel is your favorite, was written by someone.
Written content has a purpose. It's purpose is to promote. Just like advertisement is geared to get you to purchase something, so is Content Marketing - another name for advertisement.
Simply put content marketing is an advertising strategy which existed longer than we can remember. Way back in 1732 Benjamin Franklin issued the Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business. The year 1888 Johnson & Johnson issued publication to impart tips to the medical community. They targeted doctors on the use of bandages with Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment. When soap opera was born on television Procter and Gamble promoted their Oxydol soap powder to the adult female population.
And do you remember billboards? You may have seen them in movies. They show an arrow pointing you in the direction of a restaurant or gas station, parks or other points of interest. In movie theaters a trailer is shown before the actual movie advising you on what's coming soon, enticing you to return to the movies. You don’t see them now, but there was a time when door-to-door salesmen clinging your doorbell to offer you a free sample of their product, expecting you to call later and make a purchase to drive up their sales.
But content marketing is not sales-driven like in the old days. Since the late 20thcentury with the advent of the internet our culture of trying to get sales for our business has taken the form of wooing our customers first. It is like a dating game. When you are on your first date you want to impress so that you can hook that second date, well, that is providing you are impressed and want that second date. Content marketing works like that now. Instead of immediately promoting your product or service to sell, you need to build trust and confidence in your audience to get to know them and for them to get to know you.
As your interaction with your audience is cultivated you create an online community. You listen to their thoughts, concerns, ideas and challenges. You share, enchant and exchange stories, gain trust and credibility. From these shared stories you learn what you can do to provide the services or goods that your audience needs, that your competitor is unable to provide. And the internet is a platform where you meet people, become friends, and spread your story to a global audience.
And to attract even more audience there is a plethora of different platforms through which you can display your content, too many to list, but here are some examples to stir your mind.
Businesses and individuals build websites. A website tells all about your businesss. and invites the reader to learn more about you and your business. With engaging content, well crafted stories, unique headlines and calls to action combine to make your website a place where your content is shared and gives meaning for the reader to click the button, to motivate to want to learn more about you and what your business can do for them. When they connect with you it is a stepping stone to growing your audience and your community.
Blogs are another platform where content marketing is done, to make known to a wide section of the community what is going on in the business. It can also be the site where information about a product or service is found. For instance, if you are puzzled about any subject, just do a search on the internet and you will find blogs like this one, for instance, white paper, e-books, e-mails and more for article that puzzles the mind.
Social Media Content Marketing
Other examples of content marketing is Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat and Pinterest. These are very popular. Some businesses use it instead of websites to reach their customers or audience. Here they can engage, post and share live or prerecorded videos, stories and photos. Research revealed that it has more than 3.6 billion users worldwide.
Videos and Podcast
Online videos and Podcast are places that can help jump start your businesses. They have grown to become the powerhouse of social networking. Videos are shared and enjoyed more than reading text or looking at images. Videos about any subject have populated the internet, YouTube is well known for content marketing.
Not to forget the impact influencers have on a product or service. They are experts in their own domain, with proof they can attest to. What’s more they can reach the global community on the many social media platforms available. More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing, and at least 10% is spent by US and UK on influencer marketing.
The challenges of renewing, updating, re-creating new content, engaging and communicating with your audience need constant attention. That way you satisfy and retain loyal audiences. But this is minimal to the progress a businesses derives from quality content. Not to ignore the advantages of content and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Content done right can put your business at the top of search engines. But that is another topic for discussion.
So, yes, content marketing is a powerful method to grow your business. It is the preferred practice in this 21st century with technological advances. Everyone is connected. Valuable, reliable and quality content is the leading link to forming long-term relationships, which ultimately brings you to your goal of building your business.
A valuable lesson to take away from this is how to satisfy your audience, how to convert them into loyal, long term customers, and how content marketing is the backbone to growing your business.