This week’s topic is none other than content marketing so let’s start off with a quick explanation of the purpose of content:
“Content must answer [the audience’s] questions, alleviate their fears, encourage their desires, but most of all … it must inspire and challenge them to transform their lives away from the ordinary to the new experience that your solution provides.” – Brian Clark, Founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media
To be perfectly honest, I was a little skeptical when I first read that. It comes across as a little too…much to my jaded eyes. And I can be very jaded at times. How much? Well I didn’t change my profile picture back during KONY 2012. Regardless, the message in the above quote rings true. Content marketing is not separate from the previous topics mentioned before—social media, inbound marketing, SEO. Together, they create an effective strategy for reaching your audience on the internet. People like good content and that’s why they search for it or share it over social media.
If we look at some examples of successful content marketing efforts, what they have in common is that they fulfill one or more of the purposes of content. These examples all come from the aptly named Content Marketing Institute:
- LEGO Club Magazine – More than a catalog, the magazine features exclusive comics, puzzles, and sneak previews for free to club members. Interested customers can subscribe in-store or online, helping LEGO build its brand and reach their target audience. This definitely would’ve worked on me when I was younger but I never owned many Legos. Instead I had a Nintendo Power subscription!
- My Starbucks Idea – Starbucks created an online community where users could submit their own ideas to be reviewed. Users help generate content that Starbucks can use and in return, users feel empowered in how they engage with the company.
- Whole Foods Seasonal Booklets – Instead of just mailing out weekly ads and coupons like most grocery stores do, Whole Foods went above and beyond by creating booklets containing recipes, information and suggestions for their customers. By answering questions and encouraging customers that, “Yes, you can prepare your own free-range Thanksgiving turkey with these tips!” Whole Foods succeeded in developing useful content.