Content is a pretty boring word without much meaning. So let’s give content some context so we’re all on the same page.
Content, as I see it, is measurable value. It is value that can be watched, read, listened to, experienced and shared. It is value that demands attention and is sought out.
The primary goal with content marketing is to develop a relationship with an audience based on the value you can offer. That value can be knowledge, insight, education, or even entertainment, and it is offered freely. That value turns into trust, and that trust converts prospects into sales.
Content marketing can take many forms. Articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, tutorials, white papers, and e-mail newsletters are all excellent ways to distribute content.
So how does content marketing differ from advertising?
Content doesn’t interrupt you while you are watching your favourite television show, and it doesn’t make you wait for 10-seconds before it gets out of your way so you can read an interesting article. Content is consumed very differently than advertising, and must be developed differently.
There are, however, many attributes of advertising that can be applied to content marketing. The power of storytelling, persuasion, great creative, branding, and emotion - all of these qualities of effective advertising can be applied to content marketing with great results.
Advertising can work, and if you have the budget and the right creative, it can be a great way to build awareness and reinforce branding. But there are other options. If you’ve got a unique product or service, if you’ve got a story to tell, if you’ve got something that a defined market will respond to, there are better ways to reach that market than mass media advertising.
I heard entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin being interviewed on a podcast a few years, and he said it very well:
“Advertising is a price you pay for an undifferentiated product for the masses. Marketing is the way you avoid paying that price.”