According to Russ Henneberry from DigitalMarketer, “content marketing is the intersection between publishing and advertising.”
This feels like a fairly straight forward explanation. Most executives and business owners are familiar with advertising in all its shapes and sizes.
However, reference publishing to executives or business owners, and notice how their facial expression changes. The word “publishing” conjures images of large printing presses, newsrooms, writers, and endless deadlines. At best, it feels antiquated, and at worst, it leads to panic.
While marketers love to espouse the benefits of content marketing, many executives believe that publishing lacks application to their business. Even more frightening, if it does apply then they are in serious trouble unless they wish to invest in a lengthy list of editors and writers.
Thus, the challenge of explaining the merits of content marketing to executives today. However, content marketing is much easier to implement than it is perceived. Here are three practical content marketing techniques that can make the case without the anxiety.
Step #1 - It’s just a blog:
Utilizing a well written blog is a cornerstone to content marketing because blogs by their nature tend to be interesting, consumable pieces of content or at least that is the goal. However, companies often get stuck when creating blog posts that are singularly focused on the industry or business they serve. While the content was initially interesting too much of it begins to lose its luster, and readership wanes.
For instance, imagine you are reading a blog post on a high-profile law firm with a content focus of important legislative battles. This content initially sounds intriguing to an audience that is interested in this type of content, but eventually it feels like a one-trick pony.
This is when affinity interests should enter the room. Targeting your blog content, and indeed ads, by affinity interests looks at the other interests of your target demographic. In the law firm example above, a large portion of their audience might also be interested in politics. Thus, incorporating blog content on world politics would add diversity and keep their audience engaged because of the relevancy.
Step #2 – Advertising by any other word:
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, effective advertisers have really elevated their game. Smart advertisers know that customers can smell an advertisement a mile away, so the advertisement better provide value. This is perhaps content marketing’s greatest strength. Effective content marketing doesn’t feel like an advertisement. It feels like an exchange of knowledge or sharing of inspiration and entertainment.
A great example of this is Colgate’s Every Drop Counts campaign. This advertising campaign is not about toothpaste. It’s about saving water by turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth. It provides value and education along with a reason to watch. Even better, it is tied to a clever lead generation campaign in the form of customers pledging to turn off their water when they brush their teeth.
Advertising that is connected to an educational message or larger objective is what content marketing is all about: a reason to stop, watch, read, absorb and participate. Moreover, it is easier than you think. Content marketing is about aligning your brand with a purpose and showcasing that purpose over the specific product. This approach ultimately creates brand advocacy and drives sales.
Step 3 – Connect the dots:
Of course, the best content marketing in the world will fall flat if it is out of alignment with the customer’s buying journey. That is why it is important to put the right content marketing in front of your customers at the right time. Content marketing at the awareness stage is different than content marketing at the conversion stage. Keep this in mind, and if you need help, check out our free Quick Guide.
The love affair with content marketing will continue because it works. It is the evolution of advertising as well as the advancement of marketing communication. It is the progression that customers demand and wise marketers embrace.
Put these techniques in place and see if your heart palpitations subside when you see the results.