We’re living in an increasingly digital age. And it’s growing easier by the day to set up a small business online. This means many of us are facing more competition than ever. In a market, that is growing more saturated by the day. It’s not all too surprising then, that many of us are looking for new and innovative ways to market our products and services. If you’ve been looking into the most effective forms of marketing lately, chances are you’ve heard the term “content marketing” thrown around a lot. But what actually is content marketing and how can it help your brand?
If you’re looking for an outright definition of content marketing, it’s a good idea to look to the Institute of Content Marketing. The leading body on this subject. They note that content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
This may sound a little complex. But content marketing really is pretty straightforward. Put simply, you offer people information, entertainment, or something that will engage their attention. The content you provide isn’t generally focused on promoting your products or pushing sales. Instead, people feel that they’re getting something beneficial to them. Without the pressure of feeling they need to buy something in return.
Now, many people will raise the question of why you’d invest time, effort and money into giving something to people that you don’t get any financial benefit from. They’re not paying for what you’re providing and you aren’t encouraging them to actually buy anything from you. But this is where you need to think outside of the box. If you’re giving your target audience something that they feel is of value for free, you’re going to gain their trust – they’ll have positive feelings towards your brand. This can help to create a following who will be more likely to buy from your brand in the future.
Content marketing is by no means a new venture. In fact, one of the greatest marketing campaigns was brought into play by Marvel Comics back in 1982. The brand wanted to promote their GI Joe toys. But without making customers feel pressured to buy with heavy handed sales tactics. So, they created a comic called “GI Joe – A Real American Hero!” This gave the character of the toy they were hoping to sell a more real life presence and a backstory. After two issues had been released, 20% of their target demographic owned a GI Joe action figure. Seven years later, two out of three boys in their target demographic owned a GI Joe action figure. This wasn’t a small demographic either – it was any boy between the ages of five and twelve, so you can imagine just how much profit they made from this campaign.
Hopefully, the above information has helped you to get to grips with the basics of content marketing and can be put to good use in some marketing campaigns of your own!