content: as an essential component of your marketing strategy

if marketing, then content.

wall-2594199.jpg

 

People in our [communications, marketing, advertising, social media, public relations…] industry always debate the exact working definitions of the work that we do. Things like branding (and what that particular product includes), content, content marketing, content marketing strategy…the list goes on from there. We discussed branding in our September Series and now that we’re solidly into October, it’s time to start something new. Next we want to focus on content.

What are we talking about when we talk about content?

[Content is] information made available by a website or other electronic medium AND the substance or material dealt with in a speech, literary work, etc., as distinct from its form or style.
— Merriam Webster

Basically, content when we’re talking about marketing (which is basically all the time), is stuff someone can read and stuff you can look at. Content can be curated or created and we recommend both.

painting-1877761.jpg

Sharing and crediting the source of valuable information shared by others is an excellent way to cross-promote, reach audiences outside of your following, and align yourself and your brand with credible, creative sources in your corner of the market. A strategic plan and guide for how to do this in a meaningful way should absolutely and positively be included in any well-informed content marketing strategy (but we’re getting to that later…later, later.) 

Perhaps the most important thing that we want to underscore in our exposition on Content is that you must be an original creator of good content. There’s simply no replacement and no work-around. You’ve got to get creative, hire a creative person, get yourself a team of creatives…no matter your industry, if you plan to market (and especially online), you’ve got to be a creator of brand-centric content that meets the basic qualifications worthy of your brand, your work, and your ingenuity. Keep reading.

What universal qualities should content have?

Beautiful + Smart + Magnetic + Helpful

exhibition-1649814.jpg

Short answer: about the same as a solid 10 date prospect. Don't waste your time creating subpar content and don’t waste other people’s time by making them scroll past your bad/boring/fluff/shameless promotions/ugly/unfinished content. Get it right the first time and every time after that. If you don’t have the bandwidth or the know-how to pull it off yourself (you can hire us! #shamelessplug), get yourself some help. In the #gigeconomy (last hashtag, sometimes we just can't help ourselves) there is absolutely someone who’s ready to help you

get your content to actually work for your company instead of at best: doing nothing and at worst: detracting from your brand perception and the value of your work.

brush-1683134.jpg

What is content marketing and why is it important?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
— Content Marketing Institute

Through content marketing, you provide value for free in exchange for the opportunity and privilege to build a lasting relationship with an individual. You’ll know your content is where and what it needs to be when you begin to retain a consistent audience. Engagement will come over time, as you build trust through your commitment to clarity, consistency, and your audience themselves. Content marketing is to marketing as Monopoly is to board games. Too much of a reach?

artist-2578454.jpg

How do we develop a strategy for content marketing?

You’re going to have to study your target market, your existing following, and the people you plan to reel in to grow your audience. What do they want? What do they need? What are their pain points? What are they looking for from someone like you? A point we’ve touched on before is that

it is not just what content you’re producing but where you’re sharing that content.

statue-1736681_1920.jpg

This is heavily dependent upon your audience and where they go to absorb content – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Medium, your blog directly, Snapchat. Or *cue gasps* offline. Meet them where they are.

What, where, and when should all be outlined in your content strategy. Some of that will need to be adjusted through trial and error. The chief thing to keep top of mind is forming an actual, finished, typed, strategy. A half complete strategy is not even 50% effective. Put in the time on the front end to not only set the systems in place to streamline further action, but also to see a greater return for your efforts because you actually thought about the work before Just Doing Stuff. You’ve heard it before…work smarter, not harder. That.

art-690618.jpg

Next up next week: Content: As An Art Form