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Content marketing is the latest marketing trend gaining popularity. According to a recent Marketing Profs study, 78 percent of CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing. In addition, nearly 50 percent of today's companies are using content marketing strategies.
As defined by the Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
Amid a whirlwind of metrics, activity and short-term gratification, it is refreshing to know that delivering thoughtful content may be critical to success. But it is equally important to understand the difference between real content and noise. It takes a true marketer's mindset to differentiate the two, and remarkable empathy to generate context.
In order for something to be considered content, someone must consume it. In other words, content is not content until somebody determines that it's relevant enough to digest. Otherwise, it simply is noise that ultimately can turn your community off. Content marketing is different because it's about gaining insight and demonstrating that you understand. In fact, content marketing simply could be considered marketing.
While marketers will spend $135 billion on digital marketing materials, we must be careful not to fall in love with ROI just to validate the existence of a marketing department. On the contrary, great content comes from marketers who are relentlessly attentive and have a deep understanding of their respective markets. You simply cannot fake good content.
Creating content comes from insight and an in-depth knowledge of your community. Whether it's a magazine, blog, e-letter, PowerPoint presentation or sales call, content is defined by the reader/consumer, not the form. Some markets consume the majority of their content via the web, while others love the intimacy of print. Either way, it's clear that the content you create must be relevant and valuable – only genuinely useful content that does not pitch, but rather informs, will do.
Content marketing is not a stand-alone marketing technique. It is something that must be integrated into your overall marketing plan. Its principles will strengthen all of your other marketing efforts. As we have seen with our program, content has deepened our relationship with our community, and that's what is truly relevant.