This is a question I get asked on a pretty regular basis (minus the maybe I’m just stupid part), and I often find myself thinking, “how can this person not know what content marketing is”? So, I’ve taken it upon myself to write a beginner’s guide to content marketing.
So, what is content marketing?
I was actually asked this exact question by a couple of friends last week at a BBQ block party. One of my friends is an engineer and the other actually owns his own business in Utah.
Simply put, content marketing means creating and sharing (hopefully valuable and reasonably targeted) content of many forms with your audience in an effort to increase interaction with that audience while attracting and engaging new people along the way. And for most business owners, the goal is to also drive profit through this strategy… something we firmly believe in here at Avalaunch Media. For a nice look at some of our content marketing strategies and case studies you can download our Content Marketing PDF.
Creating Content Ideas
As I stated above, the content you create should be valuable and reasonably targeted to your audience. You really need to try to come up with content ideas that will naturally motivate your audience to share it, talk about it, link to it, vote for it, etc. One of the things that I really appreciate about content marketing is that you can constantly keep things fresh because your angles can be very different from one piece to the next. You could use comedy, intrigue, controversy, and a number of other strategies to help that content reach your target audience. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here’s an idea of how I start to generate ideas for content marketing strategies (like an infographic) for our clients:
- Become familiar with the client’s website, target customer, objectives, and target keywords.
- Find out what’s worth talking about in relation to #1, or what’s already buzzing related to #1 (always a good idea to ask the client!)
- Visit sites such as Pinterest, Reddit, Google/Bing News, Cracked, Topsy, YouTube, etc. and see what’s trending in connection to #1.
- Ask people around you for ideas that they have and consider their ideas.
- Start building a list of ideas based on what I know now.
- Determine what ideas you now have on the list that have already been done and done again and
scratchthem from the list.
- Narrow your list of ideas and fine tune them by changing the angle up a bit here and there.
- The Olympics of Razors – Electric vs. Regular: Which Razor Wins – visualize plus/minuses of each, costs, how close of a shave each gets, where you can use each, how long it takes to shave with each, how many people use a standard razor vs. those that own an electric, etc.
- How to Shave Your Legs Like An Olympic Swimmer – a women’s guide to shaving your legs so close you would gain seconds in any 100m freestyle race.
- A Lifetime of Shaving – visualize how much time a man spends shaving throughout his life. At what age does the average boy start shaving, how often does he shave as he grows, how long it takes each shave, how that all adds up, and how that compared to the amount of time he spends on the toilet, on the golf course, at the office, etc.
- BONUS IDEA – How to grow a huge goatee like Matt Siltala.
The content you create and share should come in many different shapes and sizes. Generally, the best vehicle for delivering for your content will be determined by the topic your content addresses and the audience you are targeting that content toward. However, in most cases I’ve found the content type is primarily based on budget. Here’s a look at some of the most common content types:
- Linkbait Posts
- Blog Posts
- Special Reports or White Papers
- Images (not infographics)
- Animated GIF’s
- Contests or Sweepstakes
- Interactive Content (games, quizes, etc.)
This is the part that really “separates the men from the boys”, but now that you’ve got some amazing content, what are you going to do to make sure that everyone in the world gets their
hands eyes on it? What can you do in house? Does it make sense to outsource some of the promotion?
“How do I get people to see this content” is a post of it’s own and to be honest, my goal here was to simply answer the “what is content marketing” question. So, for now (but coming soon to a blog near you), I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the promotion part. I won’t leave you completely hanging though, so here is a quick list of things you can do:
- Put the content on your site… yep, that is step 1 (not somewhere else)
- Promote the content socially on sites like:
- Share the content with influencers in your space (Outreach)
- Keyword optimize the web page of your site hosting the content for the keywords that best describe the content
- Bookmark the content
- Build an email notification list by gathering email addresses from those commenting on your blog posts and notify them when you post your new content
- Email or tell all your employees/customers/clients about it
- Add the content to your company newsletter
- Write and syndicate a press release about your new content
- Reference your new content via ALL of the other marketing channels you’re already active in
You can also check out the followings posts for some tips on promoting your content:
- Twitter Is Still An Amazing Marketing Channel
- Just How Big Is Facebook? Yep it’s big, you need to use Facebook
- Secrets to Social Media ROI by Andrew Melchior
- Google with a Side of Blended Social by Matt Siltala
Finally, in case you missed it earlier, for a more in-depth look at some of our content marketing services and client case studies please download our Content Marketing PDF.