Companies are doing content marketing all the time and with all the blogs, tweets, articles, podcasts and more they are putting out there, we’ve now lost the meaning of what content really is and what it’s for. Too many companies are putting the content before the consumer and are loosing the meaning behind, marketing, content and what both are for.
The problem with digital marketing is all businesses, bloggers, managers and staff need to be doing it. We all need to be tweeting, posting, typing, listening and creating 24/7 to give our brands exposure. As a result of this desperate and often frantic need to keep up with digital Joneses, we often see companies ‘doing marketing’ with no understanding of what marketing really is.
Let’s face it marketing or digital marketing is a topic that I cannot cover in just one blog post, however I can clear up a few things and maybe inspire you to focus some of your efforts in a more productive directions.
To be honest we’re all getting a little confused by all the jargon so let’s clear up a few things. ‘Content Marketing’ is not one thing, it’s actually two separate things that have been put together to create a buzz word around the new world of (also buzz word), ‘Digital Marketing’.
Marketing is a stand alone activity, it is a noun, a thing. Marketing is a business practice that makes people aware of your brand, services, offering or events. The Oxford dictionary defines marketing as:
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
However, it is not just promoting and selling, it is more. It is understanding, communicating and satisfying needs.
Your content is the same it is not just noise or an output, with all the buzz words, phrases and so much information being rammed down our necks (from other companies pumping out content) we now are missing the meaning of the word. Many people discussing the topic of content marketing will often suggest that it is the promotion on social media of your blog posts and website, pushing it out to as many people as possible. However content is so much more. Let’s start with the definition of content from the Cambridge Dictionary –
The ideas that are contained in a piece of writing, a speech, or a film:
It’s a very stylish and beautiful film, but it lacks content. / We’ve discussed the unusual form of the book – now, what about the content?
This is a really good definition and it hits the nail on the head. Content is an adjective, a descriptive word, it is what is contained in a piece of media. You have content in your ads, content on your blog, content in your videos. It is the words, images and messages that make up the, for want of a better word, stuff that you display to the consumer.
Where Is Your Content
You content is what is contained in your marketing materials. It is what you use to portray a message to the consumer.
For example, and I’m go to hit you in the feels here, P&G’s ads ‘Raising and Olympian’ ad campaign for Rio 2016. The content is the film footage, the voice over, and the text, in this content is the message – Mum’s support their budding Olympic athlete and P&G supports those Mums. The message and the content is powerful and highly emotive.
While P&G manage to create a powerful message with their amazing content they are also providing value to the consumer. The value is a thank you to mums everywhere for supporting these amazing athletes, and all mums for making us who were are today. They have created a chance of exposure to their brand and let us mums know that P&G cares and recognises mum’s are valuable. They are hoping that we will fall in love with this idea and therefore the brand and products.
Marketing your content is vital, you need to have all of the digitally relevant marketing tools in place to show off your content. You need to have your SEO on point, share it across your Social Media Channels and give it exposure so that your potential customers can see it. However, you must not waist your time on pumping out messages that just ‘Sell, Sell, Sell’, you can’t blather on your blog with the sole purpose of bulking up your presence. You must provide value.
Value within your content gives consumers a reason to come to you, it encourages them to click, share and expose. I always liked this quote;
Selling Focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing focuses on the needs of the buyer” – Theodore Levitt, Marketing Myopia
This sums it up in one. You need to make sure you recognise what the buyer wants and needs are before you throw aimless content at them. By rolling out tones of content that is either there for the the purpose of being ‘active’ online or constantly shouting the sales pitch, you are driving your customer away or fading into the noise.
Know Your Customer
To understand what is valuable, to know what people see as worth a click, you need to know your customer. This is another phrase that gets chucked around as a stand alone, with an assumed understanding.
You do need to know your customers or audience, however this requires research, study and lots and lots of data. Small business, big business, big budget or no budget, you need to carry out some research so that you understand who you are talking to.
Look at it this way, there is no point on advertising Christmas trees in April, no point in putting ads for executive vehicles in front of low income families and your waisting your time showing ads for cosy nights in to outdoor adventure lovers. You need to know who your audience is, what age they are, where they are and what they are interested in. Market research is a big topic and too big for today – and maybe even for this site, so I will have to abandon you at this point to find your own way.
However, by simply putting the customer before the content, you will increase your chance of producing content that is of value, relevant and in the correct location for those who are interested in what you have to offer.