November 11, 2014

Content Marketing: What It Is and What It Isn't

If your company is like most, you probably do some form of content marketing—be it blogging, social media or email. But what exactly does that mean? Believing you are “doing” content marketing and actually doing it well are two completely different things. To have any chance at success, you need a firm understanding of what goes into a winning content marketing strategy. With that in mind, here is a look at what content marketing should and shouldn’t be.

What It’s Not: One Blog Post Every Few Weeks

Think about it from your own perspective: Would you keep visiting a blog if it hadn’t been updated since the last full moon? Chances are you wouldn’t, and neither will readers once they realize your blog goes unchanged for weeks at a time. Like any periodical, the goal with blogging is to keep people coming back, and you won’t be able to do that if you don’t keep things fresh.

What It Is: Consistent, Thought-Provoking Publishing

Think of your blog as a hit sitcom: You want your audience to know exactly when and where to tune in. And like any successful sitcom, great content marketing continues week after week, month after month. Simply put, the biggest reason content marketing fails is that it stops. At Content Boost, we suggest that companies post at least two or three times a week. Blogging every day—or multiple times a day—though is even better. Research from Hubspot shows that brands that create 15 posts per month generate 1,200 new leads.

To get started with a blogging initiative, sit down with your marketing team and invite other departments (for example, sales, operations and finance) to help you create an editorial calendar. Pulling in colleagues with varied expertise will help you generate diverse topic ideas and appeal to a wider audience.   

What It’s Not: The Same Stale Marketing

If you are sending the same tired marketing message every few months, chances are it is ending up in the trash far more often than it’s generating a lead or a sale. Consumers aren’t interested in having “one time offers” shoved in their faces for products and services they don’t know anything about. They are also ready for something other than antiquated marketing; in other words, they are over billboards, print advertising and radio.

What It Is: Engagement, Education and Entertainment

Today’s customer expects any company vying for his or her patronage to offer valuable material that either teaches them something new or helps solve a pain point. A great way to freshen up your marketing is to have something new to say of value. Instead of just stuffing prospects’ inboxes full of stale messages with big fonts and no substance, offer podcasts, white papers or case studies to entice them to learn more about what you do. These assets provide an in-depth look at your product or service and provide real-world examples of how it can make their lives easier and business more profitable.

Additionally, once the reader has a taste of the engaging material that lives on your website, he or she may be tempted to visit and learn even more about your company. The bottom line is that it’s not that hard to grab a consumer’s attention for five seconds with big, brightly colored letters, but it takes quality, informative content to hold that focus long enough to make an impact.

What It’s Not: A Content ‘Campaign’

Too often, content marketing is framed in terms of “campaigns” that live for a short period of time and focus on one or two short-term goals. While marketing campaigns certainly have their place and can be effective, content marketing is a different animal and should be approached as such.

What It Is: An Overarching Publishing Strategy

Content marketing is a sustainable, ever-evolving strategy, with no finite beginning or end. It’s as much a philosophy as anything else, a documented approached that can be improved upon over time. In fact, Content Marketing Institute’s “B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America” report revealed that 60 percent of B2B marketers that have a documented content strategy in place feel they are effective, as opposed to 32 percent that have only a verbal plan.

Content marketing is not about climbing a mountain and reaching a peak; rather, it’s about continuing to build the mountain higher as you go. It should lay out all the overarching themes and messages you want to get out to consumers, rather than be a checklist of items to be marked off one by one.

Of course, getting all these initiatives lined up isn’t easy, especially if you’re inexperienced with content creation and distribution. A content strategy vendor can help you document a strategy that aligns with your vision and support it with engaging blog entries, white papers, case studies, email marketing messages and more. To learn more, download our white paper “The Virtues of Choosing a Content Strategy Vendor.”     

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Comments powered by Disqus

Related News