Content Marketing is More Than Just Words
The CASACOM Toronto team recently hosted a group of public relations pros and business leads during a presentation and discussion about content marketing. The goal of the breakfast round table was to stimulate conversation about how this form of marketing works and to share best practices and answer questions.
What is content marketing?
Essentially, it’s about brands creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain customers. Even better, it is about brands telling stories. Content can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q&A articles, photos, etc. Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on communicating with customers and prospects.
Also known as brand journalism; here’s a true story about how it works.
A content marketing story
I used to work with a client, I’ll call Brad, who’s company produced corporate videos for small to mid-sized businesses. He had many customers, but was faced with the common challenge of needing more growth, faster. A believer in using content marketing to raise awareness and encourage usage, Brad liked the idea of sharing information with his users and with prospects, that would help them succeed.
With the objectives and strategy confirmed, we researched the top challenges for Brad’s customers and concluded that getting more value for what they sold was opportunity numero uno. We then decided that the best way to create the content would be to use the storytelling method to make it more interesting and compelling.
After all, there are thousands of top-ten lists and books and blog posts about how to earn more. The trick for us was to differentiate our content by telling the best possible story.
Of course, writing content that evolved into so much more than a short blog post was not easy. We needed to make sure it was relevant and readable so we shared a draft with a few confidants. These editors-at-large helped us optimize the content to ensure that it would resonate.
They also helped us raise awareness by agreeing to promote our content on their blogs and to their followers on Twitter and Facebook. So, by getting their feedback and eventual buy-in, we succeeded in enhancing our reach through their networks. Of course they also benefited from the promotions we did with our network.
Brad, as you might expect, liked the fact that these influencers were helping to promote the content and he was especially pleased that people found it helpful. But he also wanted to measure awareness and usage. Which we did by looking at page views, referring sites, and conversion rates; which were the ultimate measure of the content’s success.
The main point
Content marketing works best when the writing or video, contain compelling information that benefits the audience. By using storytelling to differentiate your content and connect with your readers, you can engage them at a much more personal level that ultimately attracts and retains customers.
So that’s my story. What’s yours?