Whilst the term “content marketing” has always existed, the exponential growth and influence of social media has put it in the forefront of marketing professionals’ minds, with respected figures like Seth Godin even heralding it as the future of marketing. In essence, content marketing refers to the creation and distribution of content in order to attract and engage a predefined target market – with, of course, the ultimate objective of increasing profits. And content comes in various formats and mediums, including whitepapers, infomercials, videos and podcasts – in fact, even this article is content. But whilst content formats may vary, the fundamental approach to content marketing is similar across different organisations and company objectives.
To approach content marketing, companies must firstly identify the problem they are trying to solve. This means that great content focuses on exploring the key problems and challenges of a target market. This can refer to existing problems, arising issues or just general information on the topic. However, to put this in perspective, one must recognise that content should not be a direct sales pitch and should never just be about what solutions you can offer. Instead, your content needs to cover more than this. Ideally, it should provide useful information and insights to your target market.
For example, Paula’s Choice, a US-based cosmetics and skincare company, produces relevant and valuable content for its subscribers and potential clients through their website’s “Learn” section. In it includes numerous content, ranging from articles on skincare to tutorials for make-up. There are also article that explore issues like acne that resonate with the audience. Paula’s Choice website also includes a highly practical “Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary” that helps anyone looking for more information on skincare ingredients. Here, the website content is clearly useful and practical; but perhaps equally important is that it does not read like a sales pitch. Instead, surrounding the articles are banners and a “related products” section that are relevant to the topics explored. The key here is to realise that consumers actually don’t mind being exposed to a degree of advertisement or promotion when reading content, but they do mind it if content itself reads like a sales pitch, as it will inevitably reduce its credibility.
To produce great content means to be able to understand exactly what is required by the target audience. Do they come to you merely wanting information? Or do they want more, like advice or reviews? Or perhaps they just want a place to vent their problems and share experiences? Only when companies recognise the unique problems their audience have, can they then devise a content strategy that explores and responds to these core issues.
Whilst the essential approach to content marketing is to focus on producing quality and relevant content that resonates with the target audience, research also needs to be conducted to find out how to effectively promote it. Is it more appropriate to send out newsletters? Or have content as a blog post? Or would it be more engaging as a video? Ultimately, figuring out exactly which channels to promote your content is equally important as the content itself, as content is obviously useless if no one can locate it.
Peter Applebaum is the Founder and Managing Director of Tick Yes.
Tick Yes is a social media marketing company based in Sydney that uses proven digital relationship marketing strategies to help clients improve brand awareness, increase market share and meet profit objectives.
For more information visit our website: http://www.tickyes.com
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