According to legend, Apple founder Steve Jobs was so hungry that he ordered a hot dog from a cart in Stanford University’s student center. He told one of his friends about it, saying that it tasted different than any other hot dog — more like chicken. The friend asked if he could have some extra salt for taste, which led to a series of miracles including giving Apple its signature white earphones.
Apple popularized the concept of packaging a product so it can be easily purchased as a whole, rather than requiring people to purchase each individual ingredient or service separately.
This concept is now called content marketing.
Content marketing focuses on telling stories around products and services using established and trusted brands. It includes all digital formats such as blogs, tweets, videos, and presentations.
The idea is to take complex advertising techniques and apply them to traditional marketing tactics, removing their potential annoyances but not losing effectiveness.
That way, you can deliver a message directly to your target audience without wasting money on advertisements.
Customers connect to brands for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because the brand has something substantial to offer in terms of product or service, but more often than not, consumers connect to brands because they feel some kind of way about the brand.
Whether it’s trusting, being respected, or whether someone believes in you, these are things people connect to. For example, some companies make claims like “our soap is all natural” or “spend your money on this store-its locally owned.”
These types of statements trigger an emotion related to sustainability, trust, respect, etc. These are things that people relate to, so by telling customers one thing and doing another, you can bring them closer to you and your business.
If you can create an emotional connection through content marketing, you will take your sales and revenue to new heights. People love feeling connected to something when they buy products or services.
If you can weave a story around helpful content, people will share that content with others and believe in what you are saying. Don’t worry if the content is written down; people expect quality content from reputable sources.
Content marketing takes time and effort to produce high quality stories, but it pays off big time!
More and more big companies are coming out with content marketing strategies, but that doesn’t mean all small businesses can afford them. If you work in a small business, you probably don’t have money to pay for advertising campaigns or give away free products to promote your business.
That is why it makes sense for you to use content creation as a promotional tool for your business.
You can find affordable online services that can create original content such as blogs and videos to attract customers and build up interest in your product. By creating this content yourself, you can spread the word about your business without having to pay for advertising space.
Furthermore, by producing local or regional content, you can reach outside of your own community which helps people know who you are and what you have to offer.
Your brand message is an important part of promoting your business through content creation. But how do you achieve that?
It starts with being honest with yourself and recognizing those things that make you unique among others. Then let these qualities shine through in your content creation.
For example, instead of just talking about your product, talk about how it fits into your life and how it has improved your life. Or, focus on the emotions that people feel when they use your product.
These are things that people want and need from a specific product, and something that differentiates you from other brands.
Politicians are prone to using buzzwords and catchy slogans, making for poor content marketing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create good content marketed towards your audience.
It just means you need to be more creative. You want people to care about what you have to say, so focus on how you can help them in the form of tips or tools with bold headlines.
The key is to write articles that make people feel better or wiser. Don’t worry about keywords or clichés – people will figure out that way they’re being talked about online.
Your organization may have political policies people disagree with, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up a slogan blasting it. Instead, highlight different policies and bring attention to them by featuring specific examples.
By bringing awareness to other policies, you’ll open the door for people to start looking at your organization differently. This will also show that you're willing to work with others and talk about policy issues with them.
More often than not, content marketing is used as a tool to promote political views. This happens even more so when corporations are using blogs as advertising tools.
Consuming content that has a core purpose other than selling something is difficult for most people. Most won’t do it just because they don’t know what else to read about.
This makes corporate blogging campaigns very successful for getting word out about causes. People love reading about their favorite topics and going along to them.
Being an activist is easier today than ever before. With the advent of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you can still get your message across in ways that weren’t possible years ago.
Media outlets are also giving smaller “voice” actors greater opportunity to spread their messages instead of large companies with huge budgets.
The internet has made it easy to find supporters of your beliefs and connect with others who feel the same way.
No matter how strong your opinion or belief is, there’s at least one topic related to it online. There are sites dedicated to helping individual bloggers express their opinions and learn from each other.
Though they might not have the brand recognition of large companies, trade associations are still influential as partners or adversaries to companies. This is because members of these organizations tend to be other businesses committed to their respective fields.
It helps that many of them produce content themselves (white papers, articles, blogs, etc.)
There are several examples of this in the healthcare sector. The Pharmaceuticals Alliance for Patients (PAPS) is one organization created by doctors and patients to represent them in advocacy efforts at all levels – political and corporate.
Another example is Patient Link Worldwide, a non-profit coalition of over 40 patient advocacy groups worldwide. Its focus is promoting collaboration among health activists, physicians, researchers and corporations to strengthen education and empowerment about diseases and conditions.
These and others such as Cancer Support Community can help your business get noticed through relevant channels with original content.
If you’re in charge of marketing for a government agency, here are some tips that could help you market your product or service:
Share quality content produced by your agency on social media sites. For instance, if you work with local businesses, publish testimonials from people who have used your business to make repairs around their homes.
Provide links to other resources on your website so that people don’t need to search for them.
Include stories about what life is like through an economic perspective (i.e., how tax reform can save people money), news and event coverage, and interviews with lawmakers so that people know where political policy is heading.
Introduce new products and services using similar techniques to public relations strategies employed during advertising, only more persuasive.
Explain why something is good or bad without telling someone to buy it; instead, provide proof-based evidence. For example, explain how this affects your cost savings account and our monthly billing cycle.
Alert others to upcoming events or initiatives that will affect their lives. People love hearing about things they haven’t heard before that impact their daily lives.
Tell your story in 1–2 sentences with subtle details but not pages of words. The better you tell your story, the better shopper you will be.
Email flyers to stores that carry goods and services relevant to your audience. Put yourself out there!
Even if you’re not in media, branding or advertising, you can still do great content marketing with large corporations.
The trick to successful content marketing is to know your audience well. You should have a good understanding of who their target market is, what they spend money on, where they hang out, and what interests them.
You want to cater your content to these people, especially those that are already familiar with your brand. Instagram followers might be willing to pay for premium accounts!
Placing new features into existing products will help boost engagement levels. For example, make your laundry machine more efficient or add items to your shopping list. People love taking action and being given tools to keep up with daily chores.
Content marketing involves having and sharing stories that appeal to the reader’s inner storyteller. Find things about your industry that connect with readers on a human level and share examples of how other businesses solved similar problems.
Your content needs to be educational and entertaining while staying relevant to your industry.
There’s a reason business leaders and marketers read blogs rather than journalists - it’s because bloggers report on issues that affect everyone else.
They talk about our communities and the opportunities we have to improve ourselves. Whether you like this trend or not, it’s here to stay and get better.
Consider ways to put quality content out there that don’t require paying