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I Became a Content Marketer Last Year: Now What? (Part 1: What is content marketing?)
Thursday, June 16, 2016 |

The benefits of content marketing and a strong content strategy have been touted and talked to death. Many brands and organizations followed suit, and have become publishers of content aimed at their core audiences. In the haste to become producers of content overnight, many organizations are now finding themselves dealing with the consequences of editorial calendars that need to be filled, CFOs that want to see an immediate return, and marketers that have brand new programs that need to be run alongside their original content strategy.

This article will discuss how to take a content marketing strategy and make sure it’s still working for you, including how to analyze, measure and optimize it as your needs change and grow. For those who haven’t established a content strategy yet, there’s plenty to learn so you don’t run into some of the same challenges.

If you’re just getting into the realm of content marketing, or are looking to improve your efforts, you’re definitely not alone. According to Curata.com, investment in content marketing is on the rise with 76% of marketers increasing their investment, and 64% of companies having a documented content strategy and marketing budget. In fact, nearly one-third of the majority company’s budgets is spent on content marketing.

So, what exactly is Content Marketing?

Haven’t we been doing this all along? What is the difference between how brands were doing things before and how content marketing is being approached now?  In order to understand this, we must understand the difference between a direct sales or marketing approach, and a brand marketing approach. The former is advertising and marketing that has a clear call to action to “buy” a product, while the latter is a longer approach that builds an emotional connection over time.

With your audiences expecting more these days from the brands they want to reward with their business, content marketing isn’t just about making a sale or running an ad. Your audiences want to feel a connection with your brand, they want your values align with theirs, and they want your help in solving their challenges, which could extend well beyond the limited benefits of your product or service.

Great content marketing encompasses the act of providing content to the audience that makes them feel like your marketing efforts are solving their problems, rather than asking them to complete an action that solely benefits the brand itself. Content marketing builds loyalty because it helps consumers understand what your brand stands, which ultimately helps build the relationship between the brand and audience.

A great example of this are some of Chipotle’s branding videos that talk more about creating a better world rather than touting the benefits and attributes of their burritos. This has build goodwill with those who share Chipotle’s values and in many ways has gone much further than a direct marketing advertisement might have.
In the next part of our three-part series, we’ll discuss the team and approach needed to be a truly successful content marketer.

Category - Strategy