What is Content Marketing?

You've probably heard the term content marketing. But what is it? Well, it's a powerful tool to attract and retain customers. See how to use it for your business!

November 19, 2019

The term "content marketing" gets tossed around a lot when you’re creating a holistic marketing strategy. But if you aren’t a full-time marketing person, it can be hard to understand what it is and envision the many ways it can help your company stand out and attract customers.

It’s essential for a growing business, and when used correctly, it’s very powerful. 

What is Content Marketing? Here’s The Short Version

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. – Content Marketing Institute  

That’s a very high-level definition, and it is still really vague because the word “content” isn’t defined. Essentially, content is information. It can be educational, inspirational, newsworthy, entertaining, or even shocking.  

At its core, a content marketing piece is not salesy, yet it generates sales. It isn't advertising, but it is a way to create brand awareness and a connection to your company or product that makes it relevant to your customers.

Here are some examples and tips for creating great content marketing for your business.

Tip #1: Great Content Marketing Starts With A Question

To turn prospects into customers and fans, you have to create content with them in mind.  An example of this is a staple of most Thanksgiving tables--the famous Green Bean Casserole. The recipe, originally called “Green Bean Bake,” was created in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly, who was a supervisor in the Campbell’s Soup Company test kitchen. It was inspired by an opportunity to have a Campbell’s recipe printed by the Associated Press and a question:

What is a quick and easy recipe made with two things most Americans always have on hand?”

The recipe was a hit. Campbell’s estimates that it will be on over 20 million tables this Thanksgiving. Eventually, they added the recipe to the Cream of Mushroom soup label, and today approximately 40% of sales of that soup are due to the Green Bean Casserole recipe.

This is an excellent example of content that "places a product in the context and circumstances of its customer's lives.” According to Ann Handley, author of the book Content Rules.

What questions are your clients asking? What questions could you ask to learn more about them?

Tip #2: Great Content Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

The Content Marketing Institute (yes, there is such a thing) has identified common characteristics of brands that are having great success with content marketing. These brands focus on:

Tip #3: The Smartest Marketing Puts Your Product or Service Into the Context and Circumstances of Your Customers’ Lives

An Electromagnetic client faced a challenge with their product that is so versatile, and it can be used in many industries, like manufacturing, engineering, military, aerospace, and more. Plus, it has a price tag over $100K and in most cases, needed approval from multiple stakeholders.

The Power of One

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 11.06.48 AM.png

Emphasizing the versatility wasn’t a selling point without showing how the investment could pay for itself. In this case, it was overwhelming potential customers. Electromagnetic developed a strategy to focus on one industry, tap into the customer feedback their client received about the product and created a blog and video (aka content marketing) explaining how it was used by one customer.

See how Prototyping Solutions answered the recurring question, "how can I justify purchasing this product?" by putting their product into the context of their customers' lives with two types of content marketing.

Content marketing should be at the center of your marketing strategy because when it’s done with your customer’s circumstances in mind, it raises brand awareness, generates interest in your company, and more.

Raising Brand Awareness By Standing Up Kindness

Burger King® is a brand that creates content marketing that keeps its brand relevant to its customers. Sometimes they do this by placing their product in circumstances that put the spotlight on their customers' issues.

For example, during National Bullying Prevention Month in 2017, they decided to speak up against bullying. To do this, they put the issue into the context of their customers’ lives with an experiment that took place in a real Burger King® restaurant.  Their unique video campaign, “Bullying Junior,” starts with a high school junior (an actor) being bullied by friends (all actors). Then a Whopper Jr.® sandwich is bullied – punched, smashed, and then served to real customers by a staffer (an actor).

The results were shocking:

Burger King® didn’t know the results would be that eye-opening when they set out to do the campaign. They just knew it was a circumstance that many of their customers faced.

The video went viral, receiving almost one million views. Bullying and the cringe-worthy results of their experiment were the focus of social media posts, sharing across platforms, and on national TV. But, most importantly, it prompted discussions on and offline about bullying and Burger King®, the hamburger brand that put it in the spotlight in a unique way.

You can see this powerful example of content marketing that puts Burger King’s product and brand into the context of customers’ lives here: Bullying Jr. campaign video.


How To Do The Best Content Marketing For Your Business

You can create and deliver great content for your customers, even if you don't have the same marketing budget as a global brand. You have to remember to put your company, product, or service into the context and circumstances of your customers’ lives.

Here are some guidelines to help you create great content marketing for your business:

Electromagnetic Marketing is the #1 Content Marketing agency in Birmingham. We connect with your customers by telling compelling stories about your company and creating great content, focused branding, ads, video, social media, and more.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you increase your revenue and loyal customers.


Writer: Jamie Parris

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