There are two types of content marketing strategies today.
Content Marketing (#1)
The first is called Content (kn-tnt) Marketing.
This marketing strategy is practiced by business owners and execs who are happy with the status quo. They don’t desire to do anything more than what they already know. Doing something new, like a different form of marketing, doesn’t interest them.
They are content.
And perfectly fine with spending a large portion of their budget on conventional advertising to spread their brand story. Print ads… Television and Radio ads…Billboards…”Pay Per Click” Online Ads…Digital ads…
Sure it’s expensive, but followers of content (kn-tnt) marketing accept this as a normal, yet painful, part of doing business. So, despite the fact that it takes a bite out of their pie, they stick with what they know: contented (a.k.a. familiar) marketing.
“But what about the small business owners who don’t have a ginormous advertising budget?” Yes, we shouldn’t leave them out–because it is true, there are some small business owners who still subscribe to content(ed) marketing, even though they can’t participate.
What they do is toil away in obscurity, dreaming of that “one day” in the future when their earnings will be high enough to let them play with the big boys and join in on the content (avoid change) marketing everyone has been doing for 100 years.
This type of advertising is also called outbound marketing. It’s the direct sales approach that has lost a lot of appeal and effectiveness in the 21st century.
Some might say content (kn-tnt) marketing is an endangered species.
Time to Take the Gloves Off
Here’s another way to describe Content (kn-tnt) Marketing (#1) that’s a bit more blunt: Business and marketing execs still doing this type of marketing alone have been conned to pitch a tent right where they’re at now and camp there–conned by either complacency, pride, laziness or ignorance.
They might even have a hammock tied between two pine trees in their campsite (executive office), relaxing and basking in their contentedness.
And as they chill in their comfy hammock watching silky white clouds silently slide past the tips of the trees, they…doze…off…
Keep playing it safe, and your business might end up in trouble.
You see, many businesses are already spending more time on the other content marketing I’ll get to in a moment. Content (kn-tnt) Marketing (#1) doesn’t work well for most businesses by itself for a couple of reasons.
1. It’s too expensive for most small and medium-sized businesses. They can’t afford access to it. At least not enough to really make it work. Only those giant corporations with tons of money to spend are able to use the traditional advertising model.
2. The internet is changing the dynamics between consumers and businesses. Marketing approaches that may have worked well only 15 years ago are not working well today.
So now, even the big corporations who can afford the luxury of feeling content while burning money on traditional advertising campaigns (that MIGHT work) are now recognizing that maybe they shouldn’t put all their eggs into this one dinosaur basket.
There’s higher profits to be made elsewhere.
Coca-Cola, American Express and Whole Foods are just a few of the big name companies who have embraced this new kid on the marketing block known as…
Content Marketing (#2)
This one is pronounced Content (kntnt) Marketing.
Here, it’s all about brands creating captivating, fascinating and entertaining “content,” then offering it at no charge. Brands are now the new “publishers” and their free content can be accessed in the form of blogs, web pages, ebooks, reports, white papers, audio and video… There really is no creative limit to how this content marketing strategy can be delivered.
So, what’s the point of doing all this at no charge?
Building relationships means everything here.
Surrounding your brand with useful, relevant content that people have access to at no charge is the key to building these relationships.
By providing clear, concise and compelling content on a regular basis, your business has the power to turn a casual acquaintance into a trusted and loyal friend. In business terms, you will turn window shoppers into lifetime devotees of your brand–their love for you will grow stronger over time, until they get so enthusiastic about your service or product that they will sing your praises from their rooftops.
This is epic content marketing that turns your customers into your evangelists.
If you are new to this, here’s a little story that illustrates how it works.
Let Me Introduce You to Hank
He’s not a real person. Just a character in this story.
But before we get to Hank, I need to point out an important statistic: People spend lots of time online today. You agree, I’m sure. Especially now with smartphones. Take a look at the 2012 mobile marketing stats …they are mind blowing.
This is why Hank’s story is so significant.
Okay, back to the story.
Hank has been thinking about remodeling his kitchen as a surprise for his wife to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.
One day, while sitting in his doctor’s office waiting room, Hank does a search on his phone for local home remodeling. The first couple of sites he checks out don’t keep his attention for more than a few seconds…once he sees a price, he moves on…but then Hank finds a remodeling business website that makes him forget for several minutes that he’s actually still sitting in a doctor’s office.
The biggest factor that makes this particular business stand out to Hank is that their website is mobile friendly. (Huge advantage.) In other words, Hank can see everything and read the copy easily on his phone.
And sure, this website has great photos… all the other remodeling sites did too. Not surprising. But without even consciously thinking about it, Hank was pulled into this unique local brand head first, and he became quickly immersed in the funny and interesting content provided by this particular business. The copy grabbed him. He actually read a couple of stories on their blog.
Really? You can read a blog on home remodeling? And enjoy it? Yes! Because it was well written, educational yet entertaining. And since Hank already had an interest, he gravitated to the content like a child gravitates to Christmas.
He also found several videos on the site, and started watching one about granite counter tops.
That’s when the old man sitting next to him cleared his throat, snapping Hank back to where he was. He stopped the video and bookmarked the site before putting his phone away.
Six weeks later…
Hank is at home now. His wife is out.
Opening a can of ginger ale, he sits down at the desktop computer in his office and remembers the remodeling company website he looked at weeks before.
Finding the website again, Hank gets excited as he starts taking in everything provided by the XYZ Remodeling Company. He watches the video on granite counter tops. Then, he notices on the home page side bar there is a Free Report called How to Remodel Your Kitchen in Two Weeks For Under $6000.
Hank puts in his email address, and the free report gets delivered to his inbox in just under eleven seconds. He prints it out and puts the 12 page report in his briefcase.
A few days later, Hank looks over the report during lunch and even shows it to a buddy of his who knows a few things about home repairs.
His friend is impressed with the info. Even more impressed it was free.
Driving home from work, Hank decides he will call the XYZ Remodeling Company the next day to see how soon they can get started.
End of story, right?
Well, no. Keep in mind that all of this content marketing produced by the XYZ Remodeling Company cannot cover for a bad product or shoddy service. All businesses who practice content marketing still need to deliver on their promise.
Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending. Turns out Hank was very pleased with the work done by the XYZ Remodeling Company. In fact, he was so happy, he hired them again three years later to refurbish the basement.
And of course, during that time, and for the rest of his life, Hank did a lot of word-of-mouth advertising for the XYZ Remodeling Company. He promoted them to his friends and family whenever the topic came up. He enjoyed receiving emails from XYZ Remodeling, and visited their website many times over the years, checking out videos, reading stories and snatching up a few more of those free reports.
Hank was not only a happy customer, but became an evangelist for XYZ Remodeling.
Even his buddy ended up calling them to put some siding on his house.
Now, This story is pretty amazing when you consider…
- Hank was never cold called directly by a sales rep.
- Hank didn’t discover the XYZ Remodeling Company through a spam email
- Hank didn’t get a glossy brochure mailed to his home
- Hank didn’t hear an XYZ Remodeling Company radio ad
- Hank didn’t see an XYZ Remodeling Company television ad
Although Hank isn’t real, his story is real for many people today who are also being touched by this new business marketing approach called Content (kntnt) Marketing.
Consider how much money businesses like XYZ Remodeling can save just by using Content (kntnt) Marketing.
By now you can see my point here–Content Marketing (the second one, not the first one) is the way to go.
In a nutshell, Content Marketing is about…
- Attracting the right prospects to your business.
- Hooking them in with excellent content that speaks to them.
- Giving the content away.
- Avoiding the hard sell. Pulling instead of pushing.
- Listening to your audience. Answering questions. Being transparent.
- Building relationships.
The better your business is at doing these things, the better those relationships will be. Which means higher profits for your bottom line.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying traditional advertising and direct selling are completely useless today. They can serve a business well at times. But you can say goodbye to the old paradigm of Content (kn-tnt) Marketing (#1) being the only way to promote your business.
Entrepreneurs should get excited! You no longer have to spend a fortune on branding, creating awareness and driving sales.
Meet the new sheriff in town that all the marketeers are talking about.
Say hello to Content (kntnt) Marking.
What are your thoughts on Content Marketing? Please consider practicing some CM right now by leaving an engaging comment. Good. Bad. Or anything in between.
I’ll practice Content Marketing in return by providing a quick reply. *wink*