Before we begin, lets talk about what content marketing actually is.
Our definition is:
Content marketing is the process of educating, entertaining, or engaging a prospective or current customer; providing content of value without a hard sales pitch.
The wonderful CMI say:
Content marketing is the marketing and business process for 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.
Basically, this is what media companies have always done. Except they have traditionally made their revenue from readers paying for the content, or advertisers paying for media space. Content marketers publish in order to achieve a commercial objective: selling a product or service.
Some other bright people say the following…
Content marketing is the opposite of advertising. It’s about engaging consumers with the stuff they really want, in a way that serves your brand’s purposes and ideals, rather than just trying to jam your logo into their periphery. It’s reaching the exact consumers you want, instead of a vaguely defined demo. It’s helpfully providing an experience they want, instead of trying to distract them from the one they came for. In short, it is the very evolution of advertising itself into something more effective, more efficient, and much less odious.
Content marketing is engaging with your community around an idea instead of a product. What it is is to try to serve the community first, and sharing information, ideas and experiences that benefit others without directly asking for anything in return. What it isn’t is just a veil in front of a sales pitch.
Content marketing is a pull, rather than a push, strategy. Content doesn’t interrupt, it attracts.
So there ya go. Don’t tell me I didn’t lay it out! Focus on the customer – what they want to read, not what you want to say. Don’t be that guy in the bar. Content marketing is attractive to businesses and customers because the former are tired of pissing people off, or paying to engage them, and the latter are tired of listening to a sales script, however dressed up it might be.
The fundamental is this: give some value, get some value. If you don’t give something with your content, then you sure as hell ain’t going to get the response you are looking for.