Content Marketing – a Crash Course

Teach, don’t sell

Google defines content marketing as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services”.

And that’s a pretty good description of what content marketing is these days. But content marketing actually dates back long before the invention of the internet. Michelin, the French tyre manufacturer, came out with some very clever content marketing in 1900. They gave away 35,000 copies of the Michelin guide, a small red book full of recommendations for motorists of good places to stay and eat. Today, Michelin stars are the highest accolades a chef can hope to achieve. Another anecdote of highly effective, old-school content marketing comes from P&G, who created a radio series in 1933 to promote their soap powder and create brand loyalty – and this is where soap operas actually got their name.

I like content marketing not only because of how effective it is (content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads, according to DemandMetric) but because, in my opinion, it’s the least annoying form of marketing. If it’s done right, you actually get something out of it.

So that’s the definition, a short history and why it’s good – here’s how to do it:

  1. Create value – make sure your content is educational, useful, relevant, engaging, honest and consistently produced.
  2. Anything that is obviously selling, marketing or advertising, your reader will switch off.
  3. Think carefully about who you’re targeting and make sure you appeal to them.
  4. Build an audience, build credibility and earn trust.
  5. It’s ok to post other people’s content. Just don’t try to pass it off as your own.
  6. Don’t be afraid to offer an opinion and create a conversation.