John Vachalek June 5, 2013

Current Marketing Trends- Content Marketing is a Must PT 1

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As a Denver marketing agency, with a focus on developing best practices in current marketing trends, we find that the notion of content marketing is something foreign to most businesses.

This post outlines key content marketing elements and why content marketing is so important in today’s world. Part two of this series (July 2013) will outline how to approach the creation of effective content for content marketing. Part three of this content marketing series (August 2013) will outline the best practices for content marketing distribution.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the act of creating or aggregating non-selling content, delivered on a consistent basis, to engage a community around your brand by providing value.

  • Creating or aggregating – the best approach to content marketing is to create all original content. However, many successful content marketing initiatives also use aggregated or curated content. Remember, search engines will often not index content duplicated from somewhere else on the web.
  • Non-selling content – The goal of content marketing is to add value and build a community, not to sell. Be very aware of this as you are putting together your content. Resist the urge to include a pitch.
  • Delivered on a consistent basis – If you are going to engage people, your content must be available on a consistent basis or you will lose their interest
  • Engage a community around your brand – If you have a large enough community of people for whom you add value, sales will come from this. Do not focus on targeting customers. Focus on building an engaged community.
  • Providing value – If you sell a product, how can you provide value beyond that product you have to offer? See below

Today, the world of marketing and advertising is far more complex. Not only is each medium far more complicated, but the sheer number of relevant factors, channels and systems it takes to create a successful marketing plan is not able to be effectively implemented by a smaller marketing department. The expertise required includes:

  • Brand Strategy Development & Management
  • Copyrighting
  • Brand Imagery Planning
  • Photography
  • Video Concept Planning
  • Video Production
  • Website User Interface Expertise
  • Website User Experience Expertise
  • Website Front-End Programming
  • Website Back-End Programming
  • Internal Company Cultural Expertise
  • Internal Company Culture Management
  • Print Ad Production
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing Expertise
  • Mobile Marketing Expertise
  • Extensive CRM / ERP Software Knowledge
  • Big Data Analytics Expertise

Why is content marketing so important?

In a world where everyone is continuously bombarded with new information and where virtually all information is available via your cell phone or tablet at the push of a button, conventional advertising has become far less effective at driving behavior.

With the Internet turning more products into commodities, brand loyalty has also severely declined. No longer do people always buy the same TV or car brand as their parents. People’s shopping behavior has changed.

Content marketing is one of the few ways, in a fast-paced, commodity driven world, for a company to build and maintain ongoing engagement with their prospects and customers. It creates an ongoing connection and top of mind awareness when a purchasing opportunity arises. This is what makes it so important.

Is content marketing a new idea?

The term content marketing may be new to a lot of people, but the notion of content marketing has been around for well over 100 years.

There are several examples of this listed on Wikipedia.

  • In 1895 John Deere created a magazine to help farmers create more profits. This publication now reaches 1.5 million readers in 40+ countries in 12 different languages.
  • In 1900 the Michelin Guide was published by Michelin for travelers. It outlined auto maintenance, accommodations, and travel tips.

What makes content marketing difficult for many businesses?

Most businesses believe that they are thought leaders and believe they do an amazing job for their clients and customers. However, in the past, they have not needed to create consistent content to prove these internal notions. Some of the questions include:

  • Will anyone really care what we have to say?
  • Who is going to write/produce all this material?
  • What should we stand for/represent?
  • How transparent should we be to our community?
  • What are the best distribution channels?

There has been a shift away from just running ads, to a new model of building an engaged community around your brand via content marketing. This is a complete mindset change for many organizations and even many marketing professionals.

How to Use This Information

Review your marketing mix. Are you creating or aggregating non-selling content, delivered on a consistent basis, to engage a community around your brand by providing value?

  • If you are not yet doing this, it is time to start.
  • If you are doing this, are you measuring, and analyzing your overall engagement score to ensure that this program is as effective as possible?

Be sure to read both parts of this Content Marketing series:

Content Marketing Part 1  – The Importance & Key Elements of Effective Content Marketing
Content Marketing Part 2 – Creating Effective Content Marketing Content

If you would like help or have questions about developing a successful content marketing platform for your company, please feel free to call Webolutions at 303-300-2640. We believe in making a difference in people’s lives and would be happy to provide you with a complimentary one-on-one consultation to help you put together a more effective marketing program.

Please share your insights with our readers via your comments below.

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