The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
… 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 action.
Their definition is solid in my opinion. But it could use some clarity:
It means that content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them consistently.
Eventually, when customers make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you. They will purchase your product and prefer it over competitors’ options.
In contrast to one-off advertising, content marketing shows that you care about your customers.
Today, more than ever before, people want to feel like you care about them. The world is louder and noisier than ever before, and attention is our most valuable resource.
Keep that in mind as we take a look at some of the different types of content marketing.
The best way to learn how to be a great content marketer is by example.
That’s why I’ll show you 15 great examples of content marketing in all categories. Then, you can model them, tweak them, and apply them to your businesses.
First, though, I’m going to show you how you can create a content marketing strategy. Then, you can use the examples at the end for inspiration.
Content Marketing Strategies
Tons of different content marketing strategies exist today.
At the beginning of the content marketing world, that wasn’t the case. At one time, marketers had few options. They essentially only had bandit signs, magazines, and newspaper ads.
Even in those days, however, they had a variety of different custom choices.
They could play with the words in their advertisements, the picture they showed, the placement of it, and the CTA.
In other words, although there were few content marketing methods, the options were still remarkably vast.
Today, more content marketing mediums and methods exist than ever before in the history of the world. That means that the number of strategies is even greater.
One online publication suggests using the “3D Content” model, for instance.
It’s three individual steps.
- Map the content to the pain point.
- Then use the right type of content for that problem.
- Finally, map the content to the buying cycle of the people who have that problem.
Of course, you’ll probably want to adapt this to fit your audience and marketing theories.
Whatever the case, though, you should always start with your audience.
You must create content for that audience. Then, and only then, will the right people pay attention to you?
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History of Content Marketing
How old would you guess that content marketing is?
When someone first asked me that question a few years ago, I thought it had been around for maybe 50, 70, or perhaps even 90 years.
But I was wrong. I was very wrong.
The year is 1732, and a man by the name of Benjamin Franklin just published the first version of his annual Poor Richard’s Almanack.
That was almost 300 years ago.
I’m willing to bet you didn’t think that content marketing started with Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s. It’s possible that you’re more insightful than I was a few years back and you guessed it from the gate.
Most of you, though, probably didn’t.
And that’s because content marketing feels like a modern development.
But, while the term is fairly new, the practice isn’t.
For years, businesses and individuals alike have tried to attract attention by creating free or cheap content.
Content marketing efforts have been around here and there over the last few hundred years.
Even though the methods for content marketing have changed over the years, the formula for great content has stayed largely the same.
It’s the same formula for getting people to buy your products.
- Push on the person’s paint point.
- Agitate that pain.
- Solve their problem.
Why Content Marketing ?
OK. Content marketing is popular. Lots of businesses use it, and they’ve used it for hundreds of years.
But is content marketing right for your business?
We must now ask ourselves why those are the top priorities.
Why do people want to create more engaging content, and why do they want to understand what kind of content is effective?
Most likely, it’s because these companies aren’t totally satisfied with their current content marketing efforts.
They probably feel that they are doing OK, but they also feel that they could do better.
And our suspicions are confirmed when you find out that 70% of B2B content marketers struggle to keep up with content quality and quantity.
people are trying to create more and more content every year because great, mediocre, and terrible blog posts, videos, and infographics are increasingly cluttering the online environment.
You could use that clutter as an excuse to not create content for your business.
Or, you could take it as a sign that content marketing is well worth your time. You’ll just have to invest more energy into it to stand apart from the crowd.
Content Mapping Based on the Customer Journey
Have you heard of content mapping before?
If you haven’t, it’s about time that you do.
It’s remarkably valuable and important for your content marketing strategy.
Content mapping is the act of understanding your audience so well that you can then create content for each stage of their journey toward buying your product.
As you well know, few people go straight from discovery to buying.
Instead, they usually discover your website, think about your product, spend a few months thinking, see a retargeting ad, and then buy.
At least, it goes something like that.
The point is that people take a lot of time to buy.
That is to say, content marketing builds brand awareness, engagement, and evangelism.
But in terms of conversions, revenue, and ROI… well, that’s hard to measure.
Additional Forms of Content Marketing
Now that you understand what makes content marketing powerful and how you can use it to map out your customer’s journey from awareness to conversion, we’re now going to talk about a few additional types of content that you should know about.
I’ve briefly mentioned some of these already, but they are worth mentioning in a bit more depth.
Perhaps social media is the most powerful type of content marketing in the digital world.
It gives free access to a massive amount of people within any target market.
And if you decide to run advertisements, you can choose where to show your face.
If you jump on the social media advertising bandwagon, you will be far from alone. Ever since marketers recognized the power of social media, they’ve flocked to the platforms in droves, trying to sell their products and reach their ideal customers.
Once you have an audience of your own, then marketing to that audience over and over again becomes easier and cheaper than ever before.
But remember: they follow you because they like your content, not just your products.
This is a simple example of a sponsored social media ad.
So spend a little time entertaining them, and they’ll pay you back in cold, hard cash
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Paid Advertising and Content Marketing
Content marketing is primarily an inbound marketing tactic.
But, as with most marketing tactics, the lines are blurry somewhere in between inbound and outbound.
That’s because you can still create content and then drive traffic to it through advertisements.
Consider this ad from Grant Cardone, for instance, where he markets his business certifications and classes.
Basically, it’s just a glorified piece of content that costs money.
Now, you might be wondering why you would do something like that (especially if you’re giving away the content for free).
Why would you pay to drive people to your website who aren’t going to pay you in return?
Well, the answer is quite simple.
If you’re a new business with a small audience, then you might need to give your audience growth a boost by running advertisements to some of your more remarkable content.
If you don’t want to wait to grow an audience organically, then you can drive traffic to your content with paid advertisements.
So with these insights as to the pros and cons of starting a successful CONTENT MARKETING career, we hope we have provided useful information to get you started.