We see it every day — it’s in our newsfeeds, behind the headlines, and when we decide to learn more about anything in the world. It’s an omnipotent force that has the potential to raise brands sky high and smother them beneath oceans of competition. It’s what we do for a living and what you should do to make yours more profitable.
This is content marketing, a new-age form of social pseudo-advertising that winds up positioning your company as a reputable authority in your industry. You’ve probably heard the phrase thrown around the office when your boss (or marketers) says, “What’s the point of having all this online stuff if it’s not making us money?” Well, that question is easy to answer: You’re not doing it right.
Content marketing ranges from social media and blogging to website management and micro advertising. Every business with a Facebook page is content marketing even if they aren’t meaning to.
So, for those uninitiated in the way of modern marketing, here are the four building blocks that make this industry grow exponentially every year:
This is the obvious one. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms, hundreds of millions of people (i.e., potential customers) use social media like it’s part of their biological makeup. It didn’t take long for the corporate world to realize that these platforms have more marketing potential than anything else out there.
Social media, in a content marketing sense, is when a business builds up a presence on platforms and uses them to engage with mob audiences, share content, and promote themselves. The trick is to practice two-way communication — a ludicrous, impossible task with billboards.
Websites, which were around long before the social platforms we all love today, are virtual headquarters for content marketers. This is where all the information flows to — kind of like the corporate center for a company. A business without a website is like a man with no name. No one knows who he is, what he does, or that he even exists.
For content marketers, sites are used to inform visitors on what a business is.
This niche area of content marketing is usually through social platforms and search engines. It allows brands to promote their online assets through low-cost advertising and hopefully pick up followers and potential conversions.
Without going too in-depth on this arm of content marketing, picture this: It’s an hour after midnight and the TV is on. Bad commercials come one after another. Do you care? Do you call? No. There are thousands of low-quality, impersonal ads in today’s online infosphere. The goal for most e-advertisers is to help businesses gain attention through creative ways, such as content marketing.
As part of its name, “content” is by far the most important element of virtual business and marketing. What good would a website or social platform be without content? That would be like having a talking dog that only talks to you.
Content comes in all shapes and sizes, from blogs and social postings to “About Us” pages and press releases. In fact, we talk about content all the time on our blog because it’s what drives the campaigns we manage. The biggest misconception is that content is words. Hard to argue, of course, but to make those words work for you they need to fulfill certain parameters, such as:
- Proving that the content’s publisher is authoritative
- Reaching out to new and existing consumers
- Position a company as mature and worthwhile
Content’s tough. Most businesses become over-excited by the prospect of self-managing online marketing, publish a few things, and see zero results. Why? Because they understand one pivotal fact: Content creation is a craft.