A gang of more than 600 people from 16 countries descended on Cleveland recently for a conference entirely on content marketing.
Content Marketing World was the first of its kind –a key event for an industry that many feel is still in its infancy. Indeed, Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and organizer of the inaugural conference, shared that while most brands are engaging in some form of content marketing, 60 percent of marketers think they do "just OK” content marketing, at best.
Given this landmark even we decided to take a few minutes to take a closer look at content marketing. Hold on to your britches, here we go…
There are many names for this marketing technique – in addition to content marketing, you may have also heard of custom publishing, branded content, corporate publishing, and others. Regardless, here’s how Pulizzi defines it:
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
In other words – it’s the art of communicating with your target audiences without selling. Yup, WITHOUT selling.
Instead of giving them the same old sales pitch, and talking about "me, me, me,” you are providing your audience with information that will make them smarter and more informed.
The point – my friends – lays in the underlying belief that if you, as a brand, consistently deliver valuable information to your audience, they will eventually reward you with their business and loyalty. When you help people with their smaller problems – for free – many will turn to you with their bigger issues.
Confused? Consider this example: Instead of putting together an ad that talks about how amazing your product is, develop content that compares your product to your competitors’ products. In doing so you’re making your potential customer’s life a heck of a lot easier, which means they will begin to trust you as a "thought leader,” which will ultimately help you grow.
Think we’re loco? Tough – because this content marketing strategy is being used by some of the largest brands out there, including Citrix Online and its Workshifting project, Proctor and Gamble and its LifeGoesStrong site, and Whole Foods’ Whole Story blog. Trust us, there are MANY more.
With the immense technological changes marketing simply isn’t what it used to be. Consumers now have the power to simply shut off the traditional world of marketing. They can fast forward through commercials, circumvent radio ads with Sirius XM Radio or iPods, and simply "surf around” online banners and buttons.
Many marketers now understand that content is a highly effective way to attract customers by giving them something they want, before selling them on something they need. That can be done with a video, a blog, a story, a tutorial, a website, or other content.
Have you initiated content marketing programs for your business? Have they been successful? Share your comments below!