Content Marketing For Beginners

by | Marketing, Business | 0 comments

The Eighth in our ongoing series on the basics of marketing online.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing method that involves developing and delivering valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a target audience, with the end goal of encouraging customers to take action to increase your profits, on a platform or outlet that a business owns and controls.

Though you may think the phrase “content marketing” is self explanatory, there is actually an important distinction to understand between dedicated content marketing and simply marketing with content.

Why is content marketing important?

Primarily, content marketing addresses the customer’s desire to find a reputable, trustworthy vendor with which to do business, by allowing your business to approach them as a neutral source of information/entertainment, rather than another bloodsucking company trying to make a quick buck by selling them something.

Company-client relationships that are forged via this method of marketing result in improved conversions, leads and brand loyalty.

Content marketing VS marketing with content


What is the difference between content marketing and marketing with content?

To understand the difference, let’s first clearly define what we mean by “content”. Content is simply any form of media that is designed to communicate information, ideas, thoughts, experiences. This can come in the form of audio, still images, videos, unique audio/visual presentation formats, VR shows, you name it.

“Marketing with content” is really just the act of taking some content you have created and putting it somewhere online in the hopes of attracting attention, engagement, and ultimately sales. You are marketing something, and you do that by utilizing few or many online platforms that allow you to post your content. Customers can find your content in many places.

“Content marketing” utilizes content, though differs from marketing with content in two important ways- frequency and location. Unlike marketing with content, content marketing is a form of marketing where you are regularly posting content (frequency) on a platform you control (location) to attract and build an audience that you “own” and control.

To make it clear:

A single advert placed on someone else’s online platform IS marketing with content…

BUT a single advert placed on someone else’s online platform IS NOT content marketing.

Multiple different ads placed on different online platforms IS a form of marketing with content…

BUT multiple different ads placed on different online platforms IS NOT a form of content marketing.

Still not getting it? Let’s go over some of the key characteristics of content marketing.

Key Points of Content Marketing

If you do your research online on this subject, you’ll quickly realize that there is a prevailing conflation of two aforementioned subjects; marketing with content and content marketing are often mixed up and jumbled. To make the most of this particular marketing strategy, it’s critical to really grasp the difference, hence why this article is focused more on an explanation of the concept (unlike our other articles in this series).

To drive this concept home, let’s look at a list of the key characteristics of content marketing.

#1 Content marketing doesn’t overtly promote your brand

That’s not to say that you can’t promote your brand at all in your content marketing solution, but the reader/viewer should feel as though the content’s primary focus is delivering them some form of tangible value, such as recipes or health related information. Viewers should not feel like something is being sold to them, they shouldn’t feel like they are watching an infomercial. On that note…

#2 Content Marketing is designed with the audiences needs in mind

The focus of your publications- whatever their format- should be the value to the consumer. Valuable content that fosters trust is the point here, that shows the customer (or at least makes them think) that you care about them. Value can’t be faked. You will have to put effort into considering what kind of content would be useful to them, and consistently deliver it.

#3 Content marketing involves regularly, consistently posted content in a specific format and place

As alluded to earlier, sporadic one-off content posting doesn’t qualify as content marketing. With content marketing, the goal is building trust and providing a dependable benefit to your audience. The way this is done is by publishing regularly in a consistent format in an unchanging location. You can’t foster a trusting a relationship with customers if they can’t find you and confidently access your material with regularity.

#4 Content marketing takes place on your platform

Some may split hairs on this point, but generally, while major platforms offer a great place to consistently post, what sets content marketing apart is that it is done on a platform you own and control. You don’t share an audience with the millions of people on a common platform like Facebook, Youtube or TikTok. Rather, your content appears in your chosen format somewhere where you have complete control over it, such as on your own website, proprietary app or publication.

#5 Creates a subtle psychological anchor to your business, positioning you as an authority

When done right, your content marketing approach will consistently bring back visitors. By focusing on a specific area of knowledge, creating a publicly available knowledge base and providing knowledge in that area for example as your main content marketing strategy, you can covertly establish yourself as an expert in that area. When people are looking for answers related to your area of knowledge, they will think of your business.

#6 Content marketing provides value

We’ve already alluded to this in the other points, but just to clarify: your content marketing strategy, whatever it is should have one thing in mind- CONSISTENT VALUE. What need or want does your content address? What problem does it provide the solution for? Done correctly, content marketing answers these questions with a response in a tangible way.

Now that we have dove into the explanation of what content marketing is, let’s sharpen our understanding with some prime examples, to see what content marketing looks like “in the wild”.

Examples of Content Marketing

In no particular order, the following list provides just a few examples to jog your imagination- we couldn’t possible capture every form of content marketing in one place!

#1 Blog posts

Undoubtedly one of, if not the most common form of content marketing, blogs are posts that typically contain a mixture of text, hyperlinks, images and video. All kinds of businesses make use of these, though they are particularly effective for smaller enterprises such as homeschooling moms, artists, photographers, affiliate marketers, and so on- the variations of uses are too many to number.

Authors often make use of blogs to showcase their writing in short form, providing value to readers while ultimately tempting visitors to purchase a longer work of fiction. Musicians often use these to document their songwriting journey.

#2 Monthly Magazine

“The Furrow” is a magazine offered by John Deere, which covers all manner of subjects pertaining to agriculture. The publication is known for avoiding the mention of John Deere, thereby presenting itself as a more neutral industry specific product.

Many businesses take a similar approach, offering monthly periodicals or “industry review” type magazines, with only a small amount of space dedicated to referencing the owners products or services.

#3 Online forum

Building and hosting a place that allows rigorous discussion is another form of content marketing. This can be especially useful if a brand wishes to display confidence in its offerings, by allowing users a place to gather online and speak freely about the company and its services/products.

#4 Proprietary app

An app specifically created for your customers, with functions that serve their needs, and regular updates if necessary is a great way to reach people consistently and provide value. Google for example does this with their news apps.

#5 Recipes

Regularly posted recipes, presented in a searchable, indexed database for public access could pair well with a company that sells kitchenware.

#6 Articles on Nutrition

Health Supplement companies often take this approach, having a large collection of articles on their website offering general health and nutrition information to the public via short to long-form articles.

#7 Microsoft’s Knowledge Base

Though many companies create and sell software, few take the time to build up a robust body of freely available information that answers any and all possible questions that users may have. For years, Microsoft have consistently set themselves apart in this area with the creation and maintenance of their knowledge base, a repository of articles that pertain to the use of the different iterations of Windows software.

#8 Spotify Wrapped Playlists

Toward the end of each year, the Spotify app presents users with a collection of every track they have listened to that year, split up into different genres, artists and so on. This personalized playlist can then be shared on social media.

The Parting Shot

From time to time in life, its possible to come across concepts that at first glance appear that they require little explanation. Content marketing definitely falls into this category. Hopefully, now that you have your head around the key differences between this targeted strategy and the more general and common method of simply posting across multiple platforms, you can see the value offered by this avenue. By taking the time to deeply consider your audience and their needs, you can focus your content creation efforts into a lasting solution that yields greater loyalty and engagement than one-off or sporadic posting across public platforms. With forethought, you can offer a valuable product that serves as the bedrock and foundation for why visitors return to visit your site. This in turn can provide you with the stability in sales and reputation that is so vital to ongoing survival and growth of any company.

Staring down the barrel of a million advertising options? Don’t know what the hell to do or where to begin? We love to help. Contact us for a free consultation.


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