Almost every industry has their own jargon and language that unite members of the tribe and provide shortcuts for common concepts. Although our job as marketers is to cut through the jargon and make things easy to understand for your customers, we’re equally guilty of not practicing what we preach. We have countless words and phrases that sound fancy but mean 100 different things to 100 different people (and at the end of the day, don’t mean anything at all). Over the next few months, we’ll be going through some of these beguiling, convoluted terms and explaining them in plain ‘ol English.
Our first term: content marketing.
While content marketing is built on principles that have been around for years, it has just started to congeal and come into the spotlight over the last few years.
Here are a few definitions of content marketing floating around the interwebs:
- “Provides consumers with useful information to aid purchase decisions, improve product usage and entertain them while achieving organizational goals without being overtly promotional” – Heidi Cohen, Riverside Marketing Strategies
- “Aligning business and consumer information needs with content” – Lee Odden, Online Marketing Blog
- “An umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.” – Wikipedia
- “A way of engaging and attracting existing and potential customers through content creation” – Dan Bergeron, Likeable Media
- “Anything a company creates and shares to tell their story” – C.C. Chapman, Content Rules
This article by Heidi Cohen has 21 more definitions if you want to see just how varied they can be.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to the same concept: Content marketing is creating, curating, and delivering helpful information for customers in order to reach your business goals.
It’s the “new” way of marketing. Old school marketing and advertising was push, push, push. It was fraught with in-your-face ads, door-to-door salesmen, and generic messaging. Content marketing is pull, pull, pull. It’s about presenting your potential customers with meaningful, relevant, and engaging information that starts a conversation and softly piques their interest in your company. It’s capturing their attention without shoving it down their throat.
Simply put, content marketing is a romantic courtship, while traditional advertising is a creepy guy hitting on you at the bar.
This content can come in many shapes and forms, including social media posts, blogs, pictures, videos, testimonials, infographics, slideshows, podcasts, screencasts, case studies…the list is endless. These things aren’t just filler for your website, they’re your ammunition.
Once you’re armed with a powerful content strategy, you’ll open a whole new world (cue Aladdin music) of building relationships and driving sales for your company.
If you’re curious about content marketing or want help building a strategy for your business, get in touch with us today. <—- See what I did there? Content marketing in action ;-)