Content Marketing - Buzzword Of The Day
Origins: Easy to guess, the phrase "content marketing" comes from the media industry and it was first used in 1996 at the American Society for Newspaper Editors conference and later Jerrel Jimmerson held the title of "director of online and content marketing" at Netscape. More recently, especially where digital and online marketing is concerned, the expression was established by Joe Pullizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute.
What does it mean? According to 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 action. (...) It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it."
To put it simple, Content Marketing is about creating relevant content that will convince people to like, trust, buy your brand, making sure to distribute it smartly for the highest possible reach. It's about delivering valuable, interesting information to consumers, that will shape a positive opinion and eventually product consumption.
The idea is nothing new. Some 100 years old examples are Dr Oetker's Cook Book or the Michelin Guide. Today, the most often used types of content are blog articles, videos, pictures and social media posts, but quite interesting forms may be infographics, cartoons, memes, guides, lists, ebooks, podcasts or livestreaming.
Efficiency in content marketing dictates now owning a "homebase" from where to generate content, stock the information and distribute it further on different media channels. It is where people should be lead to consume more of your content or get in touch with the brand (a landing place, check Inbound Marketing).
Of course you can influence and generate stand-alone content, like bloggers' product reviews and advertorials, without having a homebase, but the content potential is often limited and rarely quantifiable.
"HomeBase" is our internal jargon; "BaseCamp" is another, also because there are other camps established along the communication path. The HomeBase can be a blog, a complex publishing / user centered site, a Youtube Channel, a Facebook Page or even your brand website if you have upgraded it to an appealing and relevant content platform.
Easy examples of Content and Content Bases? In publishing we mention Westfield Style, Airbnb, Red Bull's efforts, from Red Bull Cartoons to The Red Bulletin as well as Disney's Blogs (our favorite - Oh My Disney).
In terms of video content, the action sports industry has nailed it: GoPro, Vans #livingofthewall, Burton, Armada. But you don't have to be into sports, food or beauty to get video content ideas - just have a look at TinkGeek, Geico Insurance or Rainbow Loom.
You think that these are big brands or professional talent acquisition? Then get some inspiration with 11 Most Powerful Content Marketing Examples By Small Businesses.
Many businesses claim now that content marketing is just a bubble, while others thrive on this kind of approach. But the key success factors are quality, relevant CONTENT and smart PROMOTING efforts, aligned with the BRAND strategy. And these come with constant efforts and investments. It is not enough to open a blog with weekly posts written by some marketing intern or an account executive, it is not enough to get a GoPro, a baby, a cat and shoot some scenes. And it is not enough to wait the reach to skyrocket on Facebook and Youtube.
Content Marketing needs someone with a vision plus a team of specialized content creators and producers, production and promotion budgets more or less, constant analysis, optimisation and... patience. Because a break-even point will not be achieved in a week or a month (but done properly results will come) and it definitely doesn't sound like a good idea to relate your next quarter bonus to content marketing ROI goals.