Back to Basics Part 1: What is Content Marketing, Really?

hands-1191449_1280Content marketing is a new and fashionable term. Often discussions about digital marketing and new PR include this term as if it’s commonplace.

Its real-world benefits lead many companies to try to become their own media bureau. And often they fail.

The problem lies within the term. In the past, content was at the periphery and often left to agencies to churn out. Want a thought leadership piece? Get PR to do it, or get them to pay a freelance writer. Want a corporate blog? Let’s get a ghost writer.

Content marketing is a rethink of the importance of good content. With the advent of social media, consumers trusting opinions of others, and the same consumers wanting to engage with brands, content is now at the heart of every marketing plan. Suddenly, aligning corporate and marketing strategies with good content has become important for both image and revenues.[bctt tweet=”Content marketing is a rethink of the importance of good content” username=”@BroadPR”]

But content marketing is not easy. Good strategies take time and effort. Below are some reasons why every PR professional and marketer needs to rethink content marketing.

  1. Content marketing is about story telling

Forget being a media bureau and publishing the latest reports or blogs that align with your latest announcements. That is what PR pros used to do yesteryear. Today, people follow good stories. Content marketing needs to have a strong storyline that can last more than a day. It’s the reason why companies like Nike and Adidas stopped announcing products and started highlighting the lives of their owners.

  1. You need to get personal

It goes against the grain of corporate thinking, but to be successful in content marketing we need to get personal. Doing poll surveys and studies help in understanding what moves your audience. You can then create stories and content that address them. When the reader has an ah-ha moment, you will reap the benefits.

  1. Don’t forget about marketing

Just because you have Pulitzer quality content does not mean you will get engagement. That requires marketing, and often it is the aspect that confounds a lot of teams. To do this, you need strategy and tactics so that you can place the right content in front of the right viewers at the right time.

  1. It is not cheap

Cheap content reads cheap. You can add some fancy terms, or even mimic the words of another, but eventually cheap content sticks out like a sore thumb.  Hire a good writer or team of writers, not passable ones. More importantly, be prepared to grow and coach them (after all, if they get it the first time, they might as well replace you). It’s a long-term play that many businesses overlook and aren’t prepared for the investment.

Overall, content marketing should not be about interrupting your readers’ attention but earning them. Put them in the center. Inspire them to aspire. And then take the right actions. Do it right, and they will become more than your customer. They will be your advocate.