Valuable content. These two words seem to pop up whether you are talking about marketing, SEO, social media strategies, or nearly anything else these days. But why?
Where did this obsession with valuable content come from? Did somebody find it first as part of Google’s ranking algorithm? Has it always been a trend? Did some genius marketer just stumble upon this idea?
The truth is, content and marketing have gone hand in hand for a very long time. From magazines to comic books to radio programs, and nowadays even TV shows and feature films. The difference now, is that the proliferation of the internet as a content distribution platform has leveled the playing field, and given even the smallest of businesses the opportunity to compete for attention if they can only come up with the very best content.
“Content Marketing” is a very buzzy kind of term. But the basic idea behind it is very simple. Essentially, businesses can attract customers’ attention by offering high quality, valuable content on their website or various social media channels – for free. The content itself is both a lure to attract people to the business’s brand, and kind of Pavlovian, positive reinforcement mechanism. When you go to a company’s site and read or see or listen to something that you think is great, interesting or generally enjoyable, you form a positive association with that brand.
That’s right. Content Marketing is kind of like if I gave you a cookie.
Once you’ve made the positive association, you’ll be more likely to look to that brand for more great/interesting/enjoyable content. You’ll see that brand as an authority. And you’ll become more and more inclined to spend money with that company, since you already trust them to provide value.
Plus, you’ll always remember that that one cookie was delicious.
There are lots of different types of valuable content that can be used for content marketing. From infographics and interesting images, to purpose built websites, to podcasts and videos, to eBooks, even blog posts. (caught me!)
When diving into content marketing, you have to make sure you’re doing a few things:
For one, you have to create a consistent tone for your brand. That means all blog posts, multimedia content, social media posts, etc. should all put out a similar vibe. In other words, if your tweets are all casual and lighthearted, don’t load up your blog posts with dense statistics and jargon (you probably shouldn’t do the latter anyway, but especially if you’re going to be inconsistent about it).
You also have to keep in mind that the goal is for the content itself to valuable. This material is not supposed to all be self-promotional advertisements for your brand. I’ll repeat that since it’s important: Valuable content is not the same as self-promotion!
Of course, this is part of a marketing strategy, so the content should relate to your business and your areas of expertise in some way, but the idea is not to write a thousand blog posts about how great you are and why people should do business with you. It will get super boring. People will not care. And they definitely will not find it valuable.
When in doubt, take a step back and ask yourself, “Regardless of whether they do business with me, will a random stranger find this valuable?” If the answer is no, you might need to head back to the drawing board on that particular effort.
If you are involved in a business in any way whatsoever, you probably have anywhere from a basic to advanced understanding of economics. So think about the value of content in terms of simple supply and demand. If you have a lot of something, the value of each individual thing goes down. Same goes for content. The less unique the content is, the less value it will have.
The real key to content marketing is to always be thinking about “does this add value?” It might take a little getting used to, giving something of value away for free, but the potential long-term payoff is worth it. 10twelve can help use a strategic content strategy to launch or grow your business. Let's get started!