why do i need content marketing

I perhaps should have called this post ‘why do I need…’ as my intention here is to put together a series of blog posts that cover some of the most frequent ‘why do I need’ questions that a social media agency, content marketing agency and a general content driven online or digital agency face.

Let’s begin with a scenario

A new lead calls me up and straight off the bat asks me ‘why do I need content marketing?’… here’s what I say:

Content marketing is such a wide ranging term that firstly I feel we need to agree on what we mean by content marketing.

The definition given by the Content Marketing Institute is:

  • Editorial-based content; It must tell a relevant, valuable story
  • Must be informative, educational or entertaining
  • Marketing-backed; The content has underlying marketing and sales objectives that a corporation, association or institution is trying to accomplish
  • Behaviour-driven; Seeks out to maintain or alter the recipient’s behaviour
  • Multi-platform (print, digital, audio, video, events); It can be, does not have to be, integrated.
  • Targeted toward a specific audience; If you can’t name the audience, it’s not content marketing.

For most people, the question probably shouldn’t be ‘why do I need content marketing?’ but rather ‘what else can I do on top of the content marketing that I already do and how much more value can I get from my content?’

Looking at the ‘content part’ of the content marketing services question, we should be specifically segmenting content types into areas and looking at them both as individual aspects to maximise as well as considering these content types as a part of a wider collective content marketing strategy to be aligned as one part of a larger business marketing picture.

Content types are varied and wide ranging but a content based social media management strategy will often include:

  • Blog content – Informal, company focused and often specialist-driven content that is created by individuals within a business or organisation who want to talk about what they do, what they know and what is going on in their industry.
  • Evergreen content – This type of content, such as ‘how-to’ guides, check-lists and menus, has a long life span and looks to drive visitors to the site year after year as the content is in depth, unique and of high value to the target audience and wider population. This is often seen in the guides, resources and white papers sections of websites and also commonly seen in ‘tips and advice’ areas too.
  • Social media content – This is content that populates social media accounts and is tailored towards Facebook marketing, promoting your business on Google Plus and marketing on LinkedIn for example. Often limited in words by the social media platform and generally even less formal than a blog (but pitching of content here is imperative).
  • News content – Although often displayed in very similar ways on page as blog content, this is a significantly unique content type. Again, it is industry specific, however, it is important that this content is business neutral and establishes your company as an authoritative entity for your industry. It aims to educate your target market and engages them at earlier stages in the information seeking process than blog content typically would.
  • PR and online reputation management content – Arguably a more reactive content type and often this can include a larger degree of crisis management content and responsive content for immediacy of retort to crisis situations. Also, a key part of content for reputation management (especially online reputation management) is the development of strategic response content well in advance of crisis management needs. This helps to serve for consistent public messaging, quick resolution management and much more. You can also be very proactive with company press, online PR distribution and in other areas so that you are actively displaying the reputation for your business that is reflective of the company’s values.

Once you have analysed the content that you need for your current business goals, whether this is social media marketing or simply to develop a comprehensive online marketing strategy that is SEO friendly, you will need to consider your content mix and the end results that you desire for each content type.

Although outside of the remit of this blog post, I hope that you are now content marketing engaged and keen to start driving your online activities forward with content promotion, development and more.