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Content Content Content

Posted By Mary Le, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Content Content Content

By: Drew Kelsh, Marketing Research Associate

 

If you have spent a second perusing blogs, or taken a moment to scroll through and read your LinkedIn feed lately, then you can’t escape the endless “Content Marketing!” headlines that clutter the stream.  I believe it’s time we expose the myths and facts of content marketing once and for all. First, let’s find out what it is.

 

There are endless definitions for content marketing, but one struck me as the most useful and correct. 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.”

 

Imagine for a moment that your marketing department was transformed into a top-of-the-line Hollywood production agency. Instead of office professionals, your workplace is filled with incredible scriptwriters, directors, and producers. The result would be, wellinteresting. One thing is for sure, the content would be amazing.

 

The content would be valuable, relevant, and outright fantastic, but your marketing department can be just as fantastic. As Forbes says, the idea behind content marketing is that organizations no longer just market to sell to consumers, but market to inform, engage and educate consumers.

 

Content can quite frankly be anything, from digital and print graphics and infographics, to blogs, webinars, videos, and publications…as long as the purpose of the content is to inform and communicate with the customer in a meaningful way, and not simply sell to them.

 

As associations, you’ve been doing this for quite a while longer than the moguls on LinkedIn would have you believe. Trade magazines, blogs and webinars are all examples of content marketing. It is valuable and relevant information that engages a target audience consistently. Aside from this, content marketing has become more prevalent in the past years, especially among large companies. You may have noticed lately that some blogs and articles say “sponsored” next to them; that is content marketing in the flesh. However, sponsored content is content paid for by an organization to be at the top of a webpage, preferably one with high traffic, and is created with the goal to market something for the given organization. Organic content may also be created in order to market something, but relies on its inherent quality in order to reach the top of a webpage, rather than paying to be there. Though it very successful to market via content, it’s important we dispel some of the common myths associated with the strategy.

 

It’s not about just creating more content, it’s about quality content, and consistency. Many organizations disseminate a large amount of information and most of it ends up in spam folders. This is one reason I like the Content Marketing Institute’s definition, which also states, “information must be ‘valuable, relevant, and consistent’ in order to be considered content marketing. This is one thing separating your marketing department from a Hollywood production agency.

 

Of course, it’s not just about creating content; there’s another wonderful word as well: curating. Curating content is merely the process of distributing and crediting another organization’s/persons content that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Curating content is much easier, and doesn’t involve converting your marketing department into a production agency.

 

Let’s tackle the 3 biggest myths of content marketing…

 

 

Myth 1: Content marketing is centered around social media.

 

Though social media is a very valuable tool for finding and distributing content to your audience in a relatively simple way, it is not what content marketing is all about. Social media is a great tool to promote your content, but it’s important to keep in mind, social media itself is not your content, and shouldn’t be. It is simply a vehicle for your content. Content comes first, social media comes after.

 

Myth 2: Content marketing is a side project, while other marketing functions should remain at the forefront.

 

Content marketing is at its most valuable when it’s tied into all the rest of your marketing functions. Trying to improve your organizations SEO? Quality content is more likely to be engaging, improving your SEO. Looking for a public relations strategy? Addressing an issue your customers care about will garner more attention than just addressing your business. Developing a social media strategy? Create content that people care about and they will look to you on social media more often. If content is put at the forefront, it supplements the rest of your marketing functions that come after.

 

Myth 3: I don’t have time to constant create quality content, so I can’t do content marketing.

 

As mentioned before, content marketing is not all about creating content — it more often involves curating content. If you aren’t the most creative person, or don’t have time to constantly create blogs and graphics, then find someone who is. Credit them, and push that content to your audience instead. Making sure the content is of good quality and is relevant to your audience will help it receive the most reads and engagement. The reality is, there’s loads of content out there just waiting to be shared, so much of it may go unnoticed by your audience. It’s a bit like going out to a fantastic restaurant. You can’t cook an incredible meal for all of your friends to enjoy in a timely fashion, so taking them to that hole in the wall they never would’ve gone to will give everyone greater satisfaction. They’ll still appreciate the experience, and appreciate that you shared a great restaurant with them. The restaurant owner will appreciate it too, because now your friends may tell their friends about it. It’s not stealing if you distribute other people’s content, or let someone else cook for you, as long as you credit them.

 

This gives you the basic understanding to go out and begin developing your content marketing strategy. And remember, it’s all about the quality.

 

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