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What is Content Marketing?

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In today’s fast paced digital world, it is very easy to be overwhelmed with all of those little buzz words flying around everywhere. The more digital we become, the worse it seems to get. Multiply that frustration when it comes to digital marketing and online web based communications. 

Let’s talk about this little known concept called “Content Marketing.” Most users of Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and every social platform you can think of have experienced content marketing at some point. And it goes something like this:

The golden era of advertising full of classic print ads featuring the guy in the velvet smoking jacket selling bourbon, or the lady in her kitchen selling a new vacuum cleaner are long gone. Consumers see way past that stuff. And we all know it. Users don’t react to that style of ad content the same way because we have grown distrustful of companies and celebrities claiming that their product is the best and superior to the competitor. 

We say, “Oh yeah? Says who?”

Modern advertising has essentially turned into never ending white noise with TV, radio, billboards, and every medium imaginable constantly jamming a message down our throats.

What’s the answer to all of that noise? Content marketing. Simply put, content marketing is offering free content and information to a user without asking anything in return. That means never actually asking for the sale. 

The point of content like this is to build a high level of trust by giving the consumer something for free. Let me tell you a brief story:

Beginning in 1895, John Deere began printing a quarterly publication called The Furrow. It was intended to be free information used by farmers (or anyone in agriculture) to help their understanding of ag related concepts. This ultimately helped famers all over the nation grow better crops, keep healthier animals, and become more successful in their industry. However, this was never intended to be a John Deere quarterly advertisement. It’s purpose – to offer free content to help the world. In fact, it has been said that in over 100 years of producing The Furrow, John Deere was mentioned by name only FOUR times. But who bought John Deere tractors? You guessed it, readers of The Furrow. 

Jump ahead into the 21st century. If traditional ads are less effective, then what? Enter content marketing. 

Imagine this: you own a drywall business, and want to grow by advertising and informing users why they should hire you. The first approach could be to make a radio ad and tell the world how great you are and hope people hear it amidst all of that noise. Or, you can take a much smarter and altruistic approach. Make a short video educating the public how they can fix small holes and defects in their drywall without having to call a professional. Show them some tricks of your trade that only come from years of experience.

Share that video on your website and social networks and help users in a truly selfless way. After seeing enough of that content, people will call you when they realize that major drywall repair is not so easy, and best left in the hands of a professional. Do this with some degree of regularity and method, and you very quickly become the area expert in your field. 

Content marketing requires a little hard work, some patience, and time. Remember: building trust with an audience is never a sprint, always a marathon.