Content marketing is one of those terms bandied about so often it’s easy to gloss over what it really means. Joshua Steimle in Forbes is aiming to clear up the mystery, citing Content Marketing Institute’s definition:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Steimle stresses that the key is in the word “valuable.”
“It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing,” says Steimle. “You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.
This means that an ad, for example, could be both ad and content marketing if the audience deems it interesting and compelling enough. He cites the now classic VW 2014 Game Day commercial as a good example of this, noting its 18 million+ views on YouTube (plus at least three more views…we can’t watch it just once.)
Steimle gives several other examples of content marketing done right, including a robust roundup of infographics, podcasts and web pages. And he cites one of our favorites, Wine Library’s Gary Vaynerchuck, who has leveraged video content into an undisputed marketing empire.
The point, according to Steimle, is to provide real information or entertainment that your audience wants or needs. The content can be leveraged at each stage of the buying cycle to move prospects along the path, and when done really well, it does double duty to dramatically widen your sales funnel with new prospects.
That’s why we blog, send newsletters, tape videos, get social and do all those other things that involve content—to introduce ourselves to new prospects, and to provide real solutions to the problems our prospects face at each step in their journey.
Great content starts with added value. What do they need? How can I provide it? Answer these questions, and you’ll nail it.