A business can choose to market itself in a number of ways to make itself known. Technically, any activity or process that works to provide value for an audience of potential customers falls within the scope of marketing.
These days, the power of marketing has moved beyond signs and billboards and into intangible spaces on the internet and in social media. While many companies use online advertising to place ads and relevant links to their products into webpages and social media timelines, ads are a passive way to market — they appear within other content as an interruption, and are easy to scroll past and ignore. These days, a good number of businesses work to remain active with content marketing as well: a new way to reach the customer and provide value.
What is Content Marketing?
Content can be a number of things we consume: text, images, audio, video. Using content as a portion of a company’s marketing strategy means the company must consistently produce quality content of some sort that will be of value to their potential customer base.
This can be a lot of work. Posting a daily image, writing short blog articles, recording a brief video — these are all time-consuming things that will take up valuable employee time. And it can’t just be any kind of content; the content your business produces needs to be interesting, useful, and/or entertaining to the customer, or else your potential audience won’t stay.
The best kind of content marketing works to bring ideal customers into your space, rather than projecting ads into their spaces. This kind of draw can bring the target market right into your company’s space, and can lead to positive customer interactions that ideally will drive sales.
Content Marketing Examples
It’s usually best to explain how content marketing works through examples. For the first example, consider a local lawn care and landscaping business looking to expand their customer base into more wealthy neighborhoods. They could run ads on television and various websites, but instead they decide to look into content marketing as well. They could start posting articles to a blog in their webspace talking about what’s involved in their services and how they can improve the quality of one’s yard.
They could even post images of work they’ve done, showing before and after shots to demonstrate the quality of their work. They might want to post informative how-to articles as well, so that users who might google ‘how often do I need to mow my lawn’ or ‘how to care for tulips’ might find their webpage as an answer. They could even provide video explanations of different kinds of water features, for example, to help homeowners understand what’s best for their own yard before moving to schedule service.
In these cases, the goal is to provide content that has value to these potential customers — consider the difference between regularly posting positive reviews of past work, and regularly posting content on how to garden in the local climate. Most homeowners only care to read reviews when they’re already decided they need a service, and won’t be looking for that information otherwise.
However, a number of homeowners putting ‘local flowers full sun’ into a search engine like Google or MSN may come to an article written by this company, read through the information, and decide to make a call for service based on the content provided. The key is to bring in potential users of the company’s products and services and have positive, valuable interactions.