Content Marketing Demystified
May 13, 2013
Content is still the irrefutable king in the land of online marketing. And although content marketing has been around forever, it has recently become a hugely popular buzzword.
So what is it exactly? Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of media, including news, video, white papers, ebooks, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q&A’s, photos, etc.
Pretty basic, but you get the idea of the fundamental purpose of content marketing.
Acquire new customers.
SEO and the Biggest Content Marketing Myth
Is content marketing great for SEO? Absolutely. When you add a blog to your website and write high quality posts you become an authority for your industry. Google recognizes authorities and rewards them by ranking them higher for industry terms.
However, there are some who believe content should be written only for search engines and could care less about people. They think they can trick the search engines into seeing them as an authority by throwing a bunch of keywords into their content and hitting the publish button.
And 5 years ago, that may have been true. But not today. Search engines are getting smarter and these spammy tactics are quickly becoming outdated and useless.
The Smart Content Marketer’s Formula for Success
Great content marketing is all about creating content that is useful. It’s about creating something that people love enough to share with their family, friends and colleagues.
Take a look at this 118-year-old example:
When John Deere wanted to sell more tractors in 1895 they didn’t just buy more ad space. They created The Furrow, which was a magazine that educated farmers on all the latest technological advances to help them increase their profits.
The farmers loved it and John Deere’s publication has since reached a distribution of 1.5 million and has been established in 40 countries. Who do you think those farmers will turn to when they need to buy a tractor from a company they can trust?
So content marketing is about giving away useful information to potential customers for free in an effort to establish a trusting relationship. But at some point you have to let your potential customers know what you’re selling.
There are many ratios out there to guide you on how much you should give vs. how much you should promote.
Some say give 80% promote 20%. Some use the 90-10 rule. Others suggest throwing in a short promotion at the end of every piece of content you produce.
To be honest, there is no secret formula that will guarantee your success. Every industry and every situation will be different. Just make sure you are creating something of value. Make a sincere effort to improve the lives of your audience and you should do great.
3 Things you can do Right now to become a Successful Content Marketer
1. Identify your audience
You have to know your audience before you can create something they’ll love. Determine the type of person that buys your product or service. Figure out what they want and what keeps them awake at night.
2. Address their issues
John Deere knew their customers were concerned about becoming more profitable so they created a publication that helped them do just that. You don’t have to create a magazine, but you can build a blog that helps your target market accomplish a certain task or learn valuable information.
3. Create and thrive
Once you figure out your audience and what they need, get started. Start your blog, write an eBook or put out a newsletter. There are plenty of ways to produce content for your audience. You are only limited by the effort you are willing to put in.