Welcome back to Internet Lifestyle Academy, lesson 2 of Get Started Online: Introduction to Internet Marketing for Newbies.
Today we are going to talk about content marketing.
So… What is content marketing?
If you Google “content marketing”, you will get this definition: "a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
Just for another reference, HubSpot defines content marketing as
Content marketing is a strategic marketing and business process 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.
For some, the above definitions might make sense but to beginners, it’s just too abstract to understand what content marketing even is. You probably know what’s marketing – which in really simple terms is promoting your products or services so more people know about what you do, what you offer and eventually you want them to become your customer.
But when you add the word content to marketing, strangely it becomes alien to most people.
So in order to help you understand better, let’s look at what is content.
What is content?
“Content is the message our marketing strategy delivers, to visitors, leads, customers, and promoters.” – HubSpot
To be more specific, content also refers to “stories, news, and information. Product and ideas, messages and videos. Everything from fund-raising at the local public radio station to the safe-sex messages we're trying to teach our kids.” – Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age.
Let’s keep it really simple. In other words, content refers to the text, images, audio and video used in marketing.
So for example, billboard marketing means all the huge billboard posters that you see outside shopping malls. And direct marketing means the flyers with text and images you receive in your mailbox. And on television we will see advertisements of celebrities endorsing products, and whatever they say or do in the commercial are from a script provided by the marketing department.
So all of the above are actually a form of content marketing.
But content marketing in this course about Internet marketing, refers to the text, images, audio and video repackaged into ways of marketing the content on the Internet, such as
- Social Media Posts
- Status updates on Facebook: text with or without a photo, an image, a video, with a link to a blog post, an article on some website or a YouTube video
- Instagram: Photos, images or short videos with or without text, hashtags and a link to somewhere
- YouTube: Videos with or without text or captions
- Text, images, photos or videos embedded in it.
- A voice recording which would also tell you to go visit some link at www.something.com and then get a written transcript
These are just some ways that content marketing shows itself. And of course there are also various types of content, for example in the Content Marketing Matrix by Smart Insights,
- Research Reports
- Editorial content that can appear as a blog post, or a YouTube video
- Expert content that can appear a a blog post or an interview in the YouTube video
- Educational content that includes lots of research, case studies, data, images etc.
- Entertaining Content
- Beginner Guides – Like video tutorials, training videos
- Blog posts
- Cheat Sheets
And so on and so forth. I hope you get the idea by now.
Content marketing is really nothing new.
Since cavemen days, there’s content marketing. Those cavemen drawings? Those are content. Drawings that document survival tips, carved into stone, and are passed down from generation to generation.
Content is everywhere. Every component that we are covering in this course is an integral part of content marketing—which is also why we are covering content marketing first.
So now that you know what’s content marketing, the next natural question if you haven’t already figured out is…
Why Content Marketing?
If you haven’t already realized the importance of content marketing, read on.
“In order to communicate with your audience, you need to produce content. Content is the message your content marketing strategy delivers. It’s what you’re trying to deliver to your visitors, leads, customers, and promoters. There are a lot of different ways you can deliver a message: blogs, emails, website pages, social media, print collateral, and beyond. But without content, you’d have nothing to deliver… In a nutshell, content marketing is really just the art of communicating with your prospects and customers without having to sell to them.” – HubSpot
In a simple sentence,
Without content, the internet would be empty.
This is why content marketing is essential to Internet marketing.
Remember in the previous lesson I mentioned that, “Truth is, you CAN attract prospects to you without having to sell, bother and badger people all the time. And you CAN have customers taking the initiative on a sale with you”?
Content marketing is the answer.
“By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.” – Lead Generation for Dummies, 2014
Then the next natural question would be… How does that work?
Again, this is Introduction to Internet Marketing for Newbies, so we won’t be going into the extensive details about how to do it. But if you’re keen to learn more about content marketing and how you can create content specifically designed for your dream customers to attract them to your business and keep coming back for more, stay tuned for courses on content marketing from Internet Lifestyle Academy.
But then how does content marketing actually work to help you attract people?
- When you create content that people are looking for, by default you are helping them to find you.
- And when your content is relevant and valuable, and you are consistently delivering good stuff, they will only keep coming back for more.
- Because instead of selling them at every chance you get, you are actually showing them that you value them, and you’re building trust and credibility, and nurturing a relationship with your readers.
- Eventually when you do recommend something that you have to genuinely believe that it helps them, they will buy it without you hard-selling them.
- So by engaging a stranger and earning their interest, respect and trust by giving them what they want consistently, you are nurturing the relationship from a prospective customer into a loyal and delighted brand advocate.
By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. - HubSpot
Remember the Inbound Methodology by HubSpot?
When you create content that people are looking for, by default you are helping them to find you. Which is “Attract”.
And when your content is relevant and valuable, and you are consistently delivering good stuff, they will become a potential customer. Which is converting them from a stranger to a potential customer.
Finally you recommend them a solution to their problem, which is your product or service. And because now they have experienced for themselves that you’re genuine and sincere, you care about their problems, you put them before money, they trust you and buy your product or service. That’s a close.
But most most businesses skip this step. They forget to continue bringing value to their existing customers. When you continue delivering value to them at every step of their journey with you, they will only keep coming back for more. And that’s delighting them.
Because instead of selling them at every chance you get, you are actually showing them that you value them, and you’re building trust and credibility, and nurturing a relationship with your readers.
Eventually when you do recommend something that you have to genuinely believe that it helps them, they will buy it without you hard-selling them.
So by engaging a stranger and earning their interest, respect and trust by giving them what they want consistently, you are nurturing the relationship from a prospective customer into a loyal and delighted brand advocate.
Which means, you’ve earned yourself a spokesperson! And what’s more powerful than word-of-mouth referrals?
And so, the process repeats itself!
In other words, content marketing is powerful because it covers all 4 steps of the inbound process!
Every component that we are covering in this course is an integral part of content marketing—which is also why we are covering content marketing first.
“Content marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.” - Dadid Beebe, Marriott International
PHEW! And that was just a super condensed introduction of content marketing.
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