What is content marketing? Well to start, let’s understand what marketing is. According to Merriam-Webster, marketing is the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market. Additionally, marketing is the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. Now that you understand what marketing is, let’s get more specific.
Major Types of Marketing
Online Marketing and Digital Marketing
When it comes to types of marketing, we focus on the application of marketing to define it further. More specific forms of marketing include online marketing or digital marketing. These are the application of marketing in the online and digital space.
So online marketing is the act or process of selling online or purchasing online in a market. That means your focus is on finding and selling potential customers or clients online. This can include email, social media, website (SEO), banner ads, pay-per-click, etc. You get the idea.
Now, digital marketing is the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market through a digital medium. This includes all of the online marketing space as well as any marketing utilizing electronic devices. E-books, podcasts, and other broadcasting platforms such as Digital OOH advertisements are also included in this. Online marketing is essentially a subset of digital marketing.
Then there’s print marketing which is the form of marketing that uses the medium of physically printed media. Print media can include advertisements in newspapers or magazines. Additionally, you can print your own magazine, direct mail, brochures, flyers, business cards, etc.
Okay… So, What Is Content Marketing?
In order for a customer or client to make a purchase from you or your business, they must know, like, and trust you. The goal of content marketing is to build familiarity (through regular posting) and trust (through authoritative content) with your audience. Done properly, your customer should struggle to know if your content is in fact marketing material or simply an educational or entertaining post.
So now that you understand two of the broadest categories of marketing—that of digital and print marketing—what is content marketing? Content marketing is the concept of utilizing these forms of marketing to create value-added content that has the purpose of entertaining or educating your potential audience.
Content Marketing Strategy
So, now that you know what content marketing is, how do you apply this to your current marketing strategy? First, I would ask you if you have defined your audience. Have you created a buyer persona to focus your marketing strategy on? If not, start there.
After you’ve gotten a buyer persona, you’ll want to have a clear brand identity. This will be used for the creative process down the line.
Now, let’s say you have your buyer persona. (you understand your potential customer) and have a well-defined brand identity (your “color pallet” in which to paint with), the goal now is to create content that can help guide this person from where they are to where you want them to be.
1. The Customer Journey
In order to guide your audience to your business, you first need to define a customer journey. This means defining each of the possible stages a customer can be in from “who are you?” to “you need to try this!”. By defining each of the steps taken along this journey you will be able to create compelling content that clicks with your audience.
2. Selecting your Canvas
“Your content must… provide the same value and emotional benefits people are seeking when they come to the platform in the first place.”— Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
In order to create compelling content that attracts customers, you need to know your brand and where your “painting”. If you have a potential customer on Instagram, it might be best to show some compelling photos or videos. If they are scrolling through LinkedIn, you might want to connect your post with the business world.
You need to understand, both prospects and customers are people. Treat them that way. If you were on Instagram, would you want to be bombarded with a text-heavy blog about business? Or let’s say you’re searching LinkedIn for business opportunities. It might be awkward if some loud, movie-trailer-styled post popped up in your feed.
So create content for the platform you’re on. Think about what you would like to see (or what you wouldn’t want to see). Put yourself in the shoes of your customers before posting that “hilarious post”.
3. Creating Your Painting
Now that you know your customer’s mindset, both in time and locale of their journey, it’s time to make your painting. Your content can take on many forms, but the best content is one that slowly moves customers to your way of thinking in a comfortable manner.
For example, my ideal customers are businessmen and businesswomen looking to start a new venture or grow an existing one. With that in mind, I’m not going to create tons of entertaining content as that would waste their time. Instead, I will provide educational content to help further their goals (such as this article). Now there’s no rule saying I can’t entertain my audience, but based on my buyer persona, that comes secondary to education.
So who is your audience, and what painting do they want to see?
4. Sales Funnel
The goal of content marketing isn’t simply to educate and entertain, it’s also—ultimately—to sell your product or service. So in order to capture this incoming traffic, it’s important to set up a sales funnel. This can be a simple landing page or a complex series of pages. These funnels should ultimately end in the capturing of a lead (i.e., the contact information of a prospect) or a sale.
Creating a proper sales funnel is a complex process, and we’ll save that for a separate article.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
Now that you have an understanding of content marketing, how can you get started? You can start by creating content! Define your audience, map their journey, create your content, and share it. Once you’ve got this going, come back and learn how to build a sales funnel. One step at a time we make progress. 😁
Now that you’ve begun your content marketing journey, how else can you grow your online presence? I’m glad you asked. Here is a FREE Resources I’ve been working on to help small business owners and entrepreneurs expand their reach and build brand awareness. 🤩 Click the link to download now and let me know what you think. If this article or the resource helps you or your business, feel free to leave me a review.
Also, if you have any questions about Content Marketing or Sales Funnels, shoot me an email. I’d love to help! ❤