The Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as:
A technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing exists in a lot of forms and, at times, is subjective to the consumer. The idea is that you create an asset that is of high value to a broad base of viewers.
What exactly is content marketing? Here are a few examples:
Visual communication meets the consumer's desire to see information. The graphics make it more tangible. It also falls well within the parameters of the strategy. Also, they're really effective. This is the information that is easily shared, because it's easily consumed.
Information is provided to consumers in a tangible way. Content is able to be consumed audibly, making it more desirable. It also increases your visibility. Opening your brand up to the base of viewers on one of the multiple available platforms increases your reach.
It's also a secondary way to market your information.
Keeping with the theme, videography provides content to the consumer in a way that is appealing. It's an audio/visual communication. That's appealing to the consumer. Video is one of the easiest things to avoid. It can be written off as difficult or unattainable.
That couldn't be further from the truth. Today, producing a quality video is cheaper and easier than ever before.
Content Marketing is not unique to videos, podcasts, and infographics. Those are simply graphics that allow you to achieve the goal. The real secret is in producing relevant, valuable, consistent content -- something that matters to your audience.
To the untrained ear, that sounds like a no-brainer. Yet, content marketing isn't the only (sometimes not even the primary) strategy employed. So, why use it?
It's a critical piece of winning a consumer and growing the brand. In considering stages of the consumer cycle -- understanding how we attract consumers and complete the sale -- content marketing is an important part of the puzzle.
In this consumer cycle, there are four main categories:
1. Awareness: The customer has the need, but is not aware of the solution.
2. Research: Once a customer is aware of the solution, they will research.
3. Consideration: The consumer will now compare all products.
4. Buy: The customer makes their decision.
Traditional marketing techniques are great for winning sales. However, that really just applies to the last two steps. We use content marketing to move the customer into that final stage.
Through the sharing of information -- consistent, valuable posting -- a consumer completes steps one and two.
If there's one thing to take away from this entry, it's this: The secret to content marketing is adding value for the consumer.