Content Marketing

What exactly is content marketing? And why is it nothing new at all?

Because content marketing is essentially about stories and information.

Content marketing is nothing new. We humans have always told each other stories around the campfire since we invented the language. With stories, we have to pass on our knowledge, lessons and view of the world.

IT WAS JUST THE BEST WAY TO SHARE INFORMATION AND REMEMBER.

Therefore, even today, our attention immediately jumps to a good story. It is firmly anchored in our DNA.

You can see that the subject is fundamental. So let’s take a closer look at the history of its origins.

How did content marketing come about?

Since there were cave paintings and stories around the campfire, there has also been “content marketing”. But first of all, these stories turned into recommendation marketing. If you were the best blacksmith in the region, word got around. Then came the printing press, and so it came about that in 1733, Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack”:

It delivers valuable content … and at the bottom, it says “random” that his company printed this and where to find it. In 1895 has published John Deere ‘The Furrow magazine “. There were honest tips for farmers there. As a result, they built trust and closeness and so sold more tractors.

From 1930 the first soap operas appeared on the radio and television:

In the end, these always had a cliffhanger and a dramatic story that used to only exist in an opera. Procter & Gamble came up with the brilliant idea of simply creating the complete content for their target group (housewives at the time) themselves … and thus becoming a media company themselves. And guess what there was in the breaks? Exactly: soap adverts. Hence the name! 

In 1967, Hasbro then GI Joe out. The idea behind it was to bring out action figures, including comic books, to give their characters a background story. Since there were legal issues with running TV commercials (since it was children’s toys), they decided to focus only on the story (the comics) and not the product (the toy):

Seven years later, it was one of Marvel’s strongest comics (who made it for Hasbro).

Speaking of Marvel, they make more money from the movies and merchandise than from the comics. The comics are just content marketing. So you are not in the comic business at all, but in the merchandise and film business! 

At the turn of the millennium, the internet and social networks came along. Now content was instantly accessible and shareable for everyone. This is how the first viral video in history came about in 2005:

Since backup systems are a boring topic for companies, the IT company LiveVault has released a funny video with John Cleese (known as Monty Python). It went viral and made the company better known.

It was around this time that the first private blogs appeared. At some point, companies came up with using blogs for marketing purposes and corporate blogs were born. Amazingly, Microsoft was the first here with Channel 9.

What is content marketing exactly?

Let’s start with content first. Content is content. Clear. But what is it exactly? Content is the matter that can fill a space. It is the content that is put into a medium. To put it simply: content is information. Man absorbs these. Then emotions are aroused. And these, in turn, lead to action.

Therefore, what is in the medium should provide relevant and useful information and / or offer entertainment.

You just have to offer something valuable (content) first in order to receive something valuable (attention). Only then does it become an effective advertising medium. And that’s exactly when we talk about content marketing.

That’s why I always say:

“Content marketing is marketing using free content that offers added value.”

In other words: You create and distribute free content (e.g. a blog article, e-book, video, etc.) and use it to make your company known, sell something and ensure lasting customer loyalty.

The big difference in content marketing is that your goal is not to promote a product or service, but your content. So you take a little detour. Your content is, however, closely related to your solution and has the goal of value to deliver and slowly a relationship build to your customers.

If you want a dictionary-like definition, it would look like this:

“Content marketing is the creation and marketing of free content that adds value to attract and connect with a specific audience and ultimately generate a sale.”

Content solves the problems of your target group, makes their world better and supports you in your business goals. Isn’t that awesome?!

Why is content marketing so important?

The provider used to be in control. He had the message and the information. If you wanted a solution, you found out about it from the mass media and had to seek advice from a salesperson. Regardless of whether B2B (e.g. a factory machine) or B2C (e.g. a television).

Today, however, traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective. Your customers don’t want to see ads anymore. They don’t want to be interrupted anymore and have found ways to bypass the advertising.

That is why they hang out on social networks today. Or look for a solution to your problem in the search engine. Today, they have all the information. And they are often even better informed than the seller.

“Today your customer is in control. Not you.”

Since your customer is so well informed and making most of their customer journey independently, you have to get on their radar somehow. How do you do that? By being found by him. And this is precisely where your high-quality content comes into play. Hello, inbound marketing!

Where we found content marketing?

What do you need to start with this? Remove simply: a content hub. A place where your content rests. A content archive, so to speak.

So the first thing you should think about is what kind of hub you want to create. You have the following options to choose from:

1.Blog

Content type: text

2. Podcast

Content type: Audio

3. Video channel

Content Type: Video

4. Membership

Content type: courses + community

There are other content formats (such as e-books, infographics, webinars, etc.) that you can work with. For example, you could just create infographics and collect them on one page. But I lose the hub character. I see these formats as an extension. For example, you can easily publish your infographics as a blog post.

Of course, it’s always best to have a mix of everything. One person prefers to read, the other likes to listen and the other likes to watch a video.

But especially at the beginning, I recommend that you only focus on one type of content! The types are different and must be mastered individually. Just choose the type that you are most in the mood for and what is least available in your industry.

Conclusions

Content marketing is marketing using free content that adds value. Instead of pitching, you simply create useful content and help your customer solve their problems or entertain them.

With traditional marketing, you had to buy an ad space from a media company. With content marketing, you become a media company yourself. That is the big difference. So you do marketing by thinking like a magazine, guidebook, or textbook.

For centuries, companies have made their company known by providing useful information and exciting stories, “by chance” selling something suitable and retaining customers for the long term.

Today, however, there is also the fact that customer behavior has changed and traditional marketing is becoming increasingly ineffective. Today it is no longer enough to bombard your customers with advertising. Today it helps, not hype.

This is why Seth Godin says so beautifully:

“Content marketing is the only marketing that’s left.”

Share other examples of content marketing or other trends in the comments to spark new ideas on others and like/share if you enjoyed this article.