As content marketing has been practiced today, it resembles custom publishing. Companies tell stories that romanticize their brand, distributing those stories through various channels and amplifying them through social media. Content marketing has come to be more akin to advertising.
Let’s go back to the basics for just a minute. Here’s the definition we should all be starting with for content marketing, from the Content Marketing Institute.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer interaction.
So, as to our question — what’s wrong with advertising? Nothing, really. But I focus on the following part of the definition: “to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The kind of content marketing that can punch up through the noise has two distinguishing features. It is data driven and inbound. At SoloSegment, our focus is on mining audience data–big data, if you must–and identifying what content will be useful in a buyer’s journey. We then utilize that data to provide the right content to the right customer at the right time.
You need to build content that will be clearly purposeful and useful in a buyer’s journey. If you do it well, you turn prospects into clients and clients into brand advocates. This method focuses on messages that are valuable to your clients, not about you.
Marketing from the outside-in attracts prospects to your digital experiences and helps them answer their questions about your products or services. If you do this in a way that respects people’s time and gives them value in exchange for their attention, you can guide them through the customer journey toward purchase, adoption and advocacy.
Advertising stops finding customers the moment you close your wallet, but great content can bring in new customers years after your paid for it. Is your content marketing still about get-attention advertising, or are you truly providing value?