Individually, the words “Content” and “Marketing” sound so familiar that if one hears “content marketing” for the first time, you are inclined to assuring you would do justice to it if you were required to discuss it as a topic.
Make no mistakes; it is a concept that is simply deeper than it sounds. There is more to it than you could possibly fathom the first time you hear the phrase.
For me, content marketing is simply about adding value, educating, inspiring and entertaining a target audience through creation and distribution of an array of relevant contents with the aim of attaching, engaging and possibly influencing the thought process viz-a-viz the purchase decision of a prospective customer/client.
In addition, I particularly appreciate the extensively succinct definition of the content marketing institute which defined content marketing as a technique of creating and distributing valuable relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
If the above definition is anything to go by, clearly, value is an underlying factor that drives content marketing and there is not anything else as valuable as information or at the very least, a new angle to what we already know.
“And the earth was void and without form”- This is the phrase that sums up your digital stratosphere until you decide to say “Let there be light”.Content marketing does a lot to take care of the first three stages of buying cycle, (Awareness, Research and Consideration) while leaving the buyer to the singular task of Buying. Click To Tweet
I like to think of Content Marketing as the light to a once formless digital stratosphere, the key to unlocking the limitless reach and endless possibilities of the digital space.
Between the time when we needed to walk out of our homes either to a market space or a store to make purchases and seal business transactions and the time when it is all computerized and we can almost get anything at a click, a lot has changed.
Along with these changes came the evolution of the conventional marketing strategies we all grew up to know into more relevant strategies like content marketing.
In my opinion, content marketing does a lot to take care of the first three stages of buying cycle, (Awareness, Research and Consideration) while leaving the buyer to the singular task of Buying. Simply put, content marketing serves to convince your target clients/audience that “there is more value where that came from”.
I strongly believe that accessibility validates value. The value of gold has never been up for debate; however, imagine talking about gold all day every day with claims of its value without validating your claims simply because the gold you are talking about is buried beneath the earth surface.
Truth is people would rather hold on to a bird at hand than take pride in the multitude of birds hovering in the sky. Content marketing provides access to all the value you have at your disposal which is why the format of your content should be one that is easily comprehended and consumable. Some of the mechanisms employed in content marketing include:
Trust me; regardless of the orientation of individuals, people know quality content when they see one, although preference may vary from person to person due to personal interests.
Quality content is the life support system of content marketing and while you would do well to put your content in people’s faces, through the effective application of SEO, it is even better if your content adds value and entertains your audience to the point where sharing your content becomes second nature across social media and other content marketing platforms.
Like gold, quality content is a truth that is self-evident. In my personal experience with social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook, I have found that there is a natural inclination to share a post if somehow you find it interesting.
Each post on Instagram gives you one minute to dish out quality content and these days, I find that a lot of people are fast catching up to the new normal- content marketing.
A vast majority of entertainers, educators and business ventures are utilizing social media to market content, for example, most of the new generation comedians in Nigeria have found a strong foothold on social media.
In fact, I could mention a good number of them who began their journey just as an Instagram/facebook act, dishing out entertaining contents consistently (mostly videos).
Clearly, starting out with social media marketing has paid off as a good number of these guys are becoming world famous by the day.
People no longer have to go to the market to access whatever it is you have to offer, they would rather sit in the comfort of their homes, click on a link on a website or a post on social media which is why the importance of content marketing in today’s business space cannot be overemphasized.
I started a series a while back on Instagram, it was a short story inspired by daily encounters and form the streets of Lagos.
As I dished out the first episode of the story, on my Instagram page, I had no idea the number of people who had taken time to read the post until I started receiving comments on Instagram, personal messages on WhatsApp about how one or two people were waiting for the next episode of my story.
It was amazing how they had come to label the content after as me very quickly and so I went on to release the second and the third episodes of my story. I was not even into content marketing at the time but they somehow could relate to the content I had put up. It added some value and they asked for more.
The goal is simple; if you want to put your brand in the face of the world, tailor your contents towards that purpose. Inform, entertain, inspire, educate-add value. In summary, make each and every content you put up ‘a walk to remember’.
Amongst many others, some of the goals of content marketing are:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used in web publishing to increase web page visibility and traffic for a higher ranking in search engines and more reaches…Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used in web publishing to increase web page visibility and traffic for a higher ranking in search engines and more reaches... Click To Tweet
As important as your excellent writing skills are, you also need to understand how to employ SEO best practices and use them to ensure visibility because as I said earlier, in this write-up, “Accessibility validates value” and if you must be tested and trusted, you must be accessible, you must be seen.
A good understanding of the strategic placement of keywords and phrases in your text and the inclusion of hyperlinks will tremendously improve your audience base.
Your articles should have catchy headlines, it should show depth or at least a different position of a subject that’s different from general perception.
Summarily, your article should either be entertaining, educating or add value in any other way.
A good article with quality content as I earlier said is like gold- a truth that is elf evident. It will attract traffic more readers and essentially make your write-up attractive to link marketers and advertisers. Be sure to double check your grammar for errors.
Make use of subheadings, keywords and key phrases in your articles as they would use to search for information on the topic you intend to write on.
An effective use of this concept makes your article to come on top of the list of related search results whenever a prospective reader is searching for something you write about. This way, you are able to keep your brand in their faces and stay relevant for a long time.
If you find another webpage that is relevant to your topic, creating a link to that page on your article is important as long as you are certain that the link is one of a quality website with a lot of value to offer. This inherently opens you up to an under range of readership.
Each time I post new content on my blog, I ensure that I post links to that content on my social media pages. Building links to your article is as important as creating the article itself, I need not repeat my position on this one, “accessibility validates value”.
Simply share a link to your new article on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and so on. This is where your circle and networks come in handy. Encourage your friends to visit and read your post. Trust me, if it is worth their while, they just might share the post.
The goal is to be in the face of as many people as possible, hence, make your content easy to share. As far as sharing is concerned, it begins with you. Be the first line of distribution of your content because like I said earlier, no one debates the value of gold but they still desire to see it and authenticate.
Having earlier highlighted the goals of content marketing, it is important to see social media as not just fun to be on but also as a tool for content marketing.
These days, the easiest and fastest way to put yourself on the public radar is your social media posts which include:
In using any of the above on social media, it is important to note that every view, every like, every share, every repost of your content signals quality content, relevant content, entertaining content, interesting content and above all, it is an indication that you are adding value in one way or another.
All of that changed when I started using the right hashtags (#). I discovered that when I use hashtags with trending topics, people with similar interest find my content easily and I began to see likes and comments from people I never knew previously- our only common ground was content.
The concept of Content Marketing is not as new as the term itself. Ever heard of the saying “content is king”?
Have you ever stopped to wonder how sports teams (football clubs in particular) make their money even when they don’t win trophies and beyond that, where they get so much money to throw around?
The answer is not far-fetched, and yes, your guess is as good as mine- Content Marketing.
Football clubs are as rich as they are today because of content marketing.
In July 2009, Real Madrid signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a record fee of £80 million (€94 million) and everyone wondered why they needed to spend that much on a single player. The purchase of a single player at that cost defied economic laws and seemed unjustifiable at the time.
However, at the end of 2009/2010 season, Real Madrid went on to declare a record revenue of £363.5 million (€442.3 million)- 8.6% increase of gross revenue from the previous year, their net debt significantly decreased by £67.4 million (€82.1 million), in the same year, their Net assets increased by 12.2%, earnings before tax increased by 24.2% and ultimately, their net profit increased by 11.5% to £19.7million (€24 million).
The above statistic shows a significant growth in the same year they spent so much on player purchase mainly due to content marketing.
Wondering what the content is?
It is the football matches they play all season which eventually attracts endorsements, advertisers, sales of merchandise (sport gears and other branded kits), sales of players sales of match tickets amongst many others. Invariably, it is safe to conclude that sports are basically content marketing just as you would find most other ventures to be.
An integral of content marketing is storytelling because people tend to pay attention to the one who tells great stories. Storytelling is a working content marketing strategy that has been adopted over the years by the likes of Disney would and marvel comics as a tool to create more awareness for the brands.
More recently, the football-themed comic supa strikas began publishing in 2001 with the global headline sponsor being chevron (the Caltex and Texaco brands appear on Supa Strikas match and training apparel), with other headline sponsors including VISA, GT Bank and Henkel. It also has various other sponsors depending on the region of distribution.
The comic is available in about 13 African countries including Nigeria, 6 American countries, 3 European countries and 3 Asian countries. Imagine how much awareness this brings to the brands involved. The comic is essentially series of stories that combine humour (as the comic relief), action, technology and exploration in the context of a real football challenge.
The stories are usually positive life messages that deal with self-actualization, fair play, teamwork and respect. No wonder brands like chevron as big as they are, invest in the comic, supa strikas. They recognize the importance of content marketing and the value it adds.
Summarily, content marketing and its various other features are hinged on content value.
The content is the catch.
The content quality is a statement of intent. I would say content marketing is the future but then it has always been here. Content marketing is the present, the new direction for every growth centred brand.