If you've been looking into ways to advertise your small business both online or offline, you'll have no doubt heard the term "Content Marketing" floating about, as of late. What is Content Marketing though? And what does it mean for the marketing of your business?
If you check into the meaning of "Content Marketing" online, you would be forgiven for thinking it's a un-achievable dark art form, only available to the digital marketing experts and those who have been working with search engines for years. The reality is though, that you don't need to be part of some exclusive club or sign up for a free e-book to know just how Content Marketing can benefit the online presence of your small business or high street shop.
In essence, Content Marketing is the process of creating and sharing content online, that "doesn't explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services". You might remember at some point scrolling through Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, and seeing a post or a video which shows an exciting DIY project, with step by step instructions on how to complete it. This grabs you straight away, before you even realise it has been re-posted by an online retailer, who of course have an interest in you seeing this content. They'll add instructions on how to click through to their website, and shop the materials you need! If it's locally, that's even better.
The science behind Content Marketing is that these social media users and potential customers are much more likely to pay attention with your content which is less "salesy" but more interesting and informative. You will get more views, shares, likes, and of course thanks to these, more exposure to your own brand, website or product. If you're seeking a cost-effective, easy and simple way to get your product or brand out there, Content Marketing might just be the perfect solution. All you need is a little imagination and creativity!
The ultimate goal for any marketeer though, is to "go viral" with their content. However, this can't really be forced - creating content which is designed to go viral, is a bit like making your mind up to win the lottery! It's a nice idea, but isn't realistic if you simply approach it with this in mind. When something "goes viral", it's normally a complete accident, mostly based on luck or a perfect storm of factors coming together, snowballing. Simply copying something you've seen before isn't likely to work either; a dog on a skateboard will be seen as a little desperate these days, by your average consumer. There's a balance to be found here - it's wise to keep in mind the message and the tone you're looking to convey, and it's very important to be consistent in your Content Marketing too.
The leading search engine, Google, gives priority to content which it thinks has most value to the user searching for it. Thus, if you create content, or a video, blog post or infographic full of useful and informative information, this will reach a wider audience and further your exposure. Thanks to its overall positive SEO impact! A few example of these could be a how-to article, an infographic relating to your service or product, or a support video showing how to achieve something. Keep in mind the overall aim here is to create interesting and engaging content. From here, your new customers and sales will come, slowly but surely.
Of course, Content Marketing shouldn't be sales-focused; but you can of course include a link to your product or service alongside it, providing it's appropriate and doesn't water down your content too much!
Compared to more traditional advertising, Content Marketing actually isn't that different. Think about the Cadbury's advert from a few years ago, with the Gorilla drumming - that advert wasn't primarily trying to persuade customers to purchase chocolate, and so it will have got all the more interest and attention due to this. The modern approach to Content Marketing makes it all the more accessible these days, as you don't require a huge marketing department to compete with the bigger companies!
However, there are certainly many, many more consumers these days and it's more of a fight for their attention spans. Because of this, it's important to make sure your content and message stands out, to rise to the top. Of course it's a little cliched, but thinking outside of the box and having a brainstorm, can be useful in this case! It's wise to consider multiple ideas and think carefully before putting out your content, making sure it's appropriate and the message is clear.
We wish you the best of luck in your Content Marketing efforts - so go forth and capture your customers attention!