Every business guru and his dog touts the wonders of content marketing. Apparently, it’s the best way to become rich, famous, and earn enough to get your dogs luxury treats, toys, and beds from now until eternity. But what IS it?
Well, if you Google “what is content marketing?” you get this definition:
Which might not make things much clearer!
Content Marketing Demystified
In essence, content marketing (CM) is creating and sharing material that’s valuable to your prospective audience. It’s not generally intended to sell anything; so, no it won’t directly make you rich beyond your wildest dreams (unfortunately). Its function is to raise awareness of your products or services to those who don’t know of you — and build trust and connection with those who are aware you exist. If you’re familiar with marketing funnels, CM comes right at the top — the awareness stage.
We all know what it’s like: no matter where you look you’re being bombarded with “Buy my thing!!” from all directions. And what do you do? You filter it out — all those ads just become background noise. But CM is different. By sharing content that’s fun, entertaining, or educational you’re far more likely to capture someone’s attention.
But How Do You Do It Well?
It’s great to know what something is… but actually doing it effectively can be a whole other ball game. Your aim, when creating CM material, is to answer your audience’s questions in a way that makes you the expert they’re likely to turn to when they’re ready to spend money to fix their problem.
There is little point creating content just for the heck of it — you need a strategy. Content for the sake of content is just a waste of your time and effort. So, what does good CM look like? Well, that sort of depends where you’re looking; what works on one platform might not do so well on another.
Because Showing Is Better Than Telling…
I can tell you what works but you’ll find actual examples so much better — so here they are:
Video Content on Youtube
Emily Larlham, on her Youtube channel, Kikopup, does a fabulous job of creating educational dog training videos. Take a look; be sure to notice how she produces both the video and thumbnail to maintain consistent branding.
If Instagram is your social drink of choice, take a look at Denise Fenzi’s feed. Notice how beautifully it’s laid out. It’s clear — you can tell instantly what each post is about. And again, the branding is consistent across the posts.
Prefer short, snappy video snippets with funky music?? Take a look at Amy Cook’s feed for inspiration.
As far as social is concerned, Facebook might be an oldie but it can still be a goodie, depending on the demographics of your audience. Check out Stacy Barnett’s Scentsabilities Nosework Training to see a Facebook business page done particularly well. Notice how she uses it as a way of distributing her regular blog posts to increase her audience and encourage readers to visit her website.
You don’t have to stick to social media or written blogs, you can create a podcast too. Podcasts are incredibly popular as your audience can consume your content while they do something else — like waiting for that traffic jam to clear so they can get to where they were supposed to be half an hour ago! Podcasts prevent downtime being wasted time; ideal for on-the-go, busy people. For an example of an excellent dog training podcast, check out Sarah Stremming’s Cog-Dog Radio.
If you’ve just skimmed to this point, here’s the (very) short & sweet summary: any content marketing material you produce should be either fun, entertaining, or educational for your audience. It should help strangers to your brand get to know, like, and trust you so when they need someone with your expertise, you’re the person they turn to for help.
Next time we talk about content marketing we’ll look at bridging that gap between content and sales. Because at the end of the day, making money is what businesses are supposed to do!