Content Marketing – what it is and why you need it

Content marketing is pretty much what it sounds like right? Using content to market your business. But isn’t that what we’ve been doing? But what is content exactly? And where do you ‘market’ it?

Answering these questions depends on a couple of things – who your market is (customer personas unique to your business) and where they source their information (from your company channels and the broader digital space – this may involve some investment in user research).

Let’s look at the Content side of things first. The basics: content includes all the written stuff that immediately comes to mind like your website copy, blogs and social media posts, plus content from other sources that you share or comment on. It can also be visual like an infographic, photo, meme or video, or audio like a podcast or sound bite, including what you create in-house and share, comment on, etc.

But the key difference to content marketing from traditional marketing is the content isn’t always about your business, its products, people or services.

For example let’s say you’re a real estate business. Your content strategy would include (using all the various content types listed above) information about properties you’re renting, selling and showing, plus any other news directly about your business. AND, it includes relevant information that your customers (current and prospective buyers, sellers and renters) need such as content about the area/s where you do business – so not promotional so much as informative. Here are a couple of examples:

  • What are the benefits of living in the suburbs/council areas where you sell/rent/show properties?
  • General how-to guides about renting, selling or buying/investing in properties (this is where you can share posts and information from other sources)
  • Favourable trends in real estate relating to your area/s (as above – plus a good opportunity to show you’re up-to-date with the latest industry news)
  • Or even, some of the facilities/upcoming events in the suburbs where you do business

You get the idea. So in short, content marketing isn’t just about your companies key messages and product features/services – it’s about other relevant content people need to know to do business with you or more broadly, in your industry.  Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, what content would help them, continuing with the above example, take steps toward renting, buying or selling property with you?

But, like anything there’s still an art to its execution. Content marketing isn’t very effective without listening and engaging with your online community in the places they source their information. This bit takes some investment of resourcing and time – and ideally some research about the channels where to best engage your customers. A good (and cost free) start is looking at your website analytics and social media activity – and the activities of your competitors.

Once you know where to place and distribute your content you need to respond to posts and comments promptly, and find answers to questions that may not directly benefit your business in the short term. But, and this is an important ‘But’ you will generate significant goodwill and position your brand as a leader in your field through your responsiveness. This helps to grow your community of friends and followers, which means when you post your promotional content more people see it – and (potentially) share it with their communities.

Getting started can seem a bit daunting when your marketing strategy is based predominantly around promotional content – plus a few ad-hoc blogs, comments and shares sprinkled into the mix. Or maybe you’ve started, but the results haven’t been great? The team at Cuckoo is always here to help. Our content strategists will help you connect the dots between your business strategy and a killer content plan that strikes the right balance of promotional and informative.