Monday, July 14, 2014

Understanding the Content Marketing Hype: What It Means for Business Owners

Guest Post by Christina Motley, Christina Motley LLC   


Content marketing is among the hottest buzzwords in the marketing community. In fact, some considered 2013 to be the “Year of Content Marketing.” If you Google this term, you will find 877 million results in less than 2 seconds. So, what exactly is content marketing? And, what can it do for your business?

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “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 action.” Marketing formats include news, videos, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles and photos.

The list above may seem like the standard marketing tools with which you’re already familiar. You may be wondering, “What makes content marketing different?” The difference is that the focus of content marketing is on communicating, not selling, to your prospects and customers. The ultimate goal is to inspire brand loyalty by providing consistent and valuable content.

As a business owner, how can you successfully incorporate content marketing into your existing marketing strategy? The following takeaways from the Content Marketing Boot Camp by the American Society of Professional Education (@ASPE_ROI) will shed some light on this subject.

Top Three Things to Know about Content Marketing

  • Know Your Audience – The more you know about your target audience(s), the better you can tailor content to them. Among the things to know are their occupation, age, gender, marital status, education level, interests, geographic location, household income and where they consume their information.
  • Attention is the New Currency – In content commerce, you compete with every other fragment of life that is demanding your audience’s attention. Thomas Davenport and John Beck say, “Unless companies learn to effectively capture, manage, and keep it–both internally and out in the marketplace–they’ll fall hopelessly behind.” Read their groundbreaking book The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business.
  • Less Than 8 Seconds – This is all the time you have to capture someone’s attention on a web page, according to an Associated Press (AP) survey. The survey reported 17% of page views lasted less than 4 seconds while views over 10 minutes were only 4%. 
Six Tips for Rising Above the Noise 
  1. Thought-Leadership Position your business as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to stand out from the crowd. Provide consistent information about your area of expertise or industry. For example, look at Lisa Barone’s video, What Stuttering Taught Me About Running a Business.
  2. Stop Selling and Start Helping – Your target audience is inundated with marketing messages. Traditional marketing tactics no longer have the same impact in our multi-tasking society. According to Nielsen, 88% of U.S. tablet owners use their devices while watching TV. This means your content needs to be better, focused and more helpful than your competitors’ to grab and hold someone’s attention.
  3. Where’s the Good Stuff? Gather valuable and relevant content using mobile apps like Zite, It analyzes millions of articles daily, delivering the best of your favorite magazines, newspapers, authors, blogs.
  4. Show Don’t Tell – This is an essential best practice tactic of content marketing. Videos continue to rise in popularity. In fact, YouTube is currently the second largest search engine. Platforms like Instagram and Vine continue to grow in popularity with 130 million and 13 million users, respectively.
  5. Do Better – Start small and make gradual improvements. Effective content marketing requires patience; so don’t take on more than you can manage. Consistency is also key to delivering regular and valuable content.
  6. Analytics, Analytics, Analytics – Content marketing is constant and an investment. It is critical to measure and evaluate the data behind the content – page views, shares, likes, comments, etc. – to adapt, adjust and experience content marketing success. 

Content marketing may be among the hottest search terms, but it is a strategy that’s here to stay. Invest the time and resources into building and implementing a content marketing strategy.

To guide you through this process, download your free white paper: Key Components to an Effective Content Marketing Strategy.

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