“Content marketing” is a term you’ve probably heard a lot over the past few years, but it’s actually not a new concept. In fact, John Deere launched a content marketing strategy in 1895 with its customer magazine “The Furrow,” which still circulates today.
Watch the two short videos below (courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute) to learn the history of content marketing and how John Deere still implements it.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on presenting your brand as an expert in a particular field or product. The concept is to develop trust and credibility by delivering useful, relevant information to your audience – in other words, the content is the product. Every piece of content should be something consumers want to read, watch or listen to, and should provide a benefit while subtly promoting the brand.
It can come in many forms, but today’s content marketing is always digital-first. For example, Whole Foods puts useful content front and center on the homepage of its website with recipes, food trends, meal plans and user-generated social media content.
Why use content marketing?
In an age where consumers control which media they consume and when they consume it, brands must move away from an interruption-style messaging approach and meet consumers where they are. Consumers are savvy and have a world of information at their fingertips. They can find out more about your product in just a few minutes from the comfort of their couch than you can provide in your store.
On average, customers are 60-70 percent of the way through the buying journey before they ever engage with a brand. This means approximately two-thirds of the information on which they base their buying decision is research they have done on their own. If you are not providing information for the consumer to learn about your product, industry or service, your competitor is… and chances are your consumer is looking.
Simply put, content marketing works. According to the “History of Content Marketing” video above, when P&G launched its content site BeingGirl.com in 2008, it found that it was four times more effective than traditional advertising.
How to approach content marketing
Knowing where to begin can be the most challenging part of content marketing. Follow these six steps to help you determine the core message you want to communicate, how you will communicate it, and how to continue growing.
Find the passion.
What can your brand talk about that sets you apart from your competitors? What can you talk about for hours on end and lever lose interest? Your content marketing should answer the questions no one else is answering.
Develop a purpose or mission statement for your content. What promise do you plan to fulfill with your content marketing strategy?
Build the base.
How will you deliver content consistently? It’s important to commit to a long-term strategy.
Build your audience.
Think like a media company. Success means large audiences are tuned in to what you have to say. Begin with one platform and do it exceptionally well. Then, build your own audience and do not use rented land (social media and other media companies change their rules regularly). Make sure to encourage subscribers, which automates distribution.
Once you are successful at creating content and building an audience for your beginning platform(s), find ways to diversify. For example, a food vlogger creates a large following on YouTube. Once she is successful, she might consider writing a book, touring home shows around the country, or starting a podcast.
Trust and credibility comes from selflessly giving your audience advice, expertise and wisdom on the topic they are seeking out. The content you provide should be in the best interest of your audience – even if that means you do not sell more products today. Once you have built that trust, they are more likely to trust your recommendations, and in turn buy your products.
The InQuest Marketing process
If your brand is considering working with InQuest Marketing to launch a content marketing strategy, the following process is what you can expect.
- Planning phase. We will work closely with your team to determine goals, and the best medium and frequency to help you reach them.
- Development phase. We will research topics and SEO keywords that will help your content reach the most consumers. Style and tone will be determined. Then, content creation begins.
- Delivery phase. Content marketing execution takes place by publishing content, promoting and distributing it, and encouraging subscriptions.
- Measurement phase. We will analyze performance and create a comprehensive report to determine which content is resonating best among your audiences.
- Repeat. Upon analyzing results, we will then work closely with your team to refine the strategy and create more content.
Interested in learning more about content marketing? Shoot us an email at email@example.com.