Content Marketing 101: What it is and how it works.
Permission marketing. In-bound marketing. Content marketing...
No matter what you call it, developing original content is a critical component to any successful marketing plan.
What is "content marketing" to PCCC? To us, content marketing is the art of establishing dialogues with your clients or customers.
One way to understand content marketing is to look at the opposite form: traditional marketing.
Traditional Marketing: Pay to Play
Traditional marketing is the act of buying an ad or sponsoring something to get people to notice you. In other words, you prepare something to say or show, and pay money to reach a selected audience that you are hoping will like what you have to say or show. You're literally telling people to buy whatever it is you're selling through a third party distribution channel.
That doesn't mean traditional marketing is bad. It's worked for hundred of years and still works today. If it didn't, we wouldn't have tv, radio, billboards, magazines, websites and so on. (Most content marketing strategies work alongside traditional marketing plans. More on that later.)
Content Marketing: Purposeful Communication
Content marketing works by creating engaging content on your own behalf and in most cases, not relying on a media source (radio, tv, website, magazine, etc.) to distribute your message. Typically, with content marketing, you send out the content yourself.
The people you're trying to reach with content marketing generally come from two specific groups:
People who have already said it's okay to reach them. (These are the people who have opted-in to your eNewsletter or email communications, past customers, etc.)
People who are actively searching for things directly related to the content you're providing. In some cases, you're not asking anyone to buy what your selling, but the end goal is that they eventually do.
How Content Marketing is Distributed
Even for us at PCCC, it's sometimes a challenge to know where our clients ought to promote the content we help them create. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and so on--social media is certainly one avenue for distributing content.
But what else are you going to do? Write a blog? Start a podcast? Host webinars? Produce videos?
Frankly, how you distribute your content, and what channel works best requires planning and experimentation on behalf of your marketing and social media managers. There is no one formula that works for everyone.
Sometimes You Need Traditional Marketing for Content Marketing
Say, what? Yeah. This is where it gets a little muddy. Sometimes, you need traditional marketing to push your original content out.
For example, let's say you've just created an amazing testimonial video that raves about your company's outstanding customer service. Only problem is, your company is new, you don't have a sizable contact database yet and your social media following is small. Paid advertisements via social media are sometimes required to move the needle and garner the views and engagements you're looking for. See how that works?
Mastering the Message is Critical: Be Your Best Storyteller
How you distribute your original content is important, but even more critical is the content itself. What story are you going to tell? What information do you have that will attract new customers?
This is what we do for our clients at PCCC.
We can help point you in the right direction to make sure your content matches with current search trends related to your business. We can create custom content for you that is easy to read, engaging to watch and frankly, gets your customers to want to interact with you.
It likely starts with an 360-evaluation of your business, an analysis of current search trends, and we're not afraid to admit, a lot of gut intuition about what will work best in terms of generating a response.
This is also where businesses tend to get caught up or stuck. They don't have the time to conceptualize the right messaging or storytelling. And, we understand why. It's not easy to know what to write about while you're neck deep in running a business. At PCCC, we can help you formulate your story to reach practically anyone.
Hope that helps you better understand content marketing. As alluded to early in this article, we don't think of content marketing as a replacement for traditional marketing. If anything, it should work in tandem with the traditional marketing and public relations plans you already have in place. But we do think it's a critical spoke in the wheel, that without it, will limit your potential to reach, engage and retain more customers.
There's a lot more to this discussion that we'll follow up in a future blog post. If you want to learn more right now, drop us a line or email. We'd be happy to talk more.