Content marketing has gone from being a buzzword to general marketing lexicon.
A recent study by the US Content Marketing Institute for around 80% of large-sized companies and multinationals are using it to drive engagement and sales.
But what exactly is content marketing?
In short, it is a soft sell strategy using communication methods like journalism and informative content to better inform the customer.
The vast bulk of content marketing is text-based, although video, audio and infographics are frequently used.
First and foremost, it should be interesting. Good content marketing is the opposite of brochure copy.
If you are targeting a reader who reads Marie Claire, The Economist, or Dry Cleaner Monthly, you must make your content read like a piece in one of those magazines.
New name for old clothes
In a general sense, content marketing has been around for years. A good example of this is the Michelin Guide, which was originally designed to get people travelling around the country in their cars.
More recently, it has been used by companies as diverse as GE, Pirelli, Microsoft, Enterprise Car Rental, and Marriott Hotels.
Marriott created feature films and virtual reality video around its hotels. GE has live streamed drone flights around its factories and facilities.
A personal view on content marketing
Content marketing is a fantastically powerful proposition. Done right, it can create sales out of nowhere and build a long-lasting relationship with your customers.
On the other hand, some of it is dreadful.
Masses of content are being thrown out by companies. Often it is driven by publishing targets rather than basing it on relevance, objectivity, and quality.
If you get it right there is a massive opportunity for cut-through.
Content marketing can be closely aligned with SEO to provide quality pages for backlinking.
These ‘power’ pages can then be used to drive traffic to other areas of your site, such as the product sections.
I have both written and produced content both as a B2B journalist and for London content marketing agencies.
Get in touch if you would like to talk more about how your content marketing or editorial strategy could be boosted by content marketing.