Content Is King: A Lesson in Content Marketing
In this lesson, we'll discuss:
- The principles and different platforms of content marketing, and how you can apply them to your business or organization
- Examples of content marketing in action
- Content Marketing - the process of consistently creating, publishing, curating and/or sharing relevant, valuable content in order to acquire new customers and increase the customer lifetime value of existing customers
- Lifetime Customer Value - the total amount of money the average person spends with your business throughout the duration of his or her relationship with it
- Native Social Media Content - content that is designed for or built into a given social media channel, therefore becoming the original source of that piece of content (A YouTube video that is shared via a link on Facebook is not native to Facebook, but a video that is uploaded directly to Facebook and therefore "lives" on Facebook is native.
- User Experience - the practical, experiential, emotional, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-technology interaction
The Content Marketing Institute explains that, "Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online 'surfing' that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant).
"Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.
"The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty."
Common present-day platforms for content marketing
Content marketing comes to life on a variety of platforms, including:
- Video (YouTube and Vimeo)
- Email marketing (We recommend Mailchimp)
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
- Digital magazines (We recommend Joomag)
- Games and quizzes
- Live streaming video (Periscope and Meerkat)
Examples in action
Let's look at a few examples of how companies are using blogs, video, podcasting, email marketing and native social media content to perform top-notch content marketing.
What: The W Hotels property in Israel commissioned international lifestyle blogger Roza Sinaysky to develop the W Luxury Travel Guide to Jaffa in order to give its apartment residents and hotel guests valuable, relevant and interesting information about exploring the Israeli city of Jaffa (where the property is located).
Why: It's like a digital concierge service. Better customer service means happier customers, more word-of-mouth referrals and a higher lifetime customer value.
The What: Geek Squad, the local tech support service that merged with Best Buy in 2002, produces YouTube videos with individual how-to tutorials that show people how to setup, install and repair all types of technological devices.
The Why: Geek Squad believes that many people who use their video tutorials will hit a barrier in their ability to setup, install or repair any given product. When they hit that barrier, who do you think they're going to call for help? You guessed it: Ghostbusters (just kidding -- Geek Squad).
The What: Convince & Convert Media -- which provides digital marketing consulting for international brands -- produces five podcasts, each about a different theme within digital marketing.
The Why: Podcasting is highly effective because audio is a very personal form of communication; the more you hear someone's voice, the more you feel like you know that person. Podcasts (like music) are also optimal for multitasking. You can drive, ride a bike, mow the lawn, take a bath, make dinner and virtually do anything else while listening to them. The folks at Convince & Convert Media believe that this combination increases their chances of converting listeners into paid customers.
The What: GoPro sends out a weekly email with their "Video of the Week," which showcases extreme-action videos taken by people who own GoPro camcorders.
The Why: By showing you real footage taken by real people, you see the camcorder's amazing potential for everyday users, creating a customer-to-customer connection, which ultimately increases the likelihood that people in GoPro's target market will buy one of their camcorders (or upgrade to the latest version).
NATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
The What: Humans of the New York (HONY), the Facebook phenomenon which eventually became a New York Times bestselling book, does an amazing job of producing native social media content: stories about random people on the streets of New York, told in first-person quotes, with a high-quality photo of each subject.
HONY grew in popularity because of its highly engaging content, which
enabled creator Brandon Stanton to build a massive audience (currently
more than 14 million people) and subsequently write the New York Times
The Why: Because of its short-form nature (quick-hitting quotes and a single photo), HONY's content best comes to life as native social media content on Facebook. You see the post on Facebook, you look at the photo, you read the quote, and then you engage with the content (click, like, comment or share).
Mobilizing your content
As mobile phones continue to become the way people primarily are using social media, checking email and surfing the web, it's critical to look at your content and social media activities through the mobile-first lens.
As you're conceptualizing and creating your mobile-first content, take into account that mobile means:
- Smaller devices, which makes viewing content different compared to tablet devices and desktop computers
- People potentially have several distractions around them and are on-the-go, which in turn means less time and attention that they can dedicate to any one piece of content