The way I see it, there are two overall strategies when it comes to content marketing.
The first is to create content about yourself, your business and your industry in an effort to educate your target audience on all of these things. The second is to create content that is catered to your target audience that doesn’t necessarily have much to do with you at all in an effort to build an audience of your own that you can reach at any time.
Each of these content marketing strategies are tried and true, but it’s important to understand the benefits and downfalls of each system to make sure you are heading down the right road for your business. It’s possible that a combination of both marketing strategies would take your marketing efforts to the next level.
Let’s take a closer look.
Content Marketing Strategy #1: All About You
When I think of this content marketing strategy, I think of positioning and unique selling propositions but let’s get one thing out of the way first: SEO. If you simply want your potential customers to find you when they are actively searching for your product, service, industry, etc., then pumping out content about those things is certainly the way to do it. The more you say via more pages containing all those wonderful keywords and search phrases, the more your pages will be indexing over time.
Besides flooding the search engines with your expertise, this content strategy offers another benefit. You will be building a large volume of answers for those who seek them and for those who just don’t know that they don’t know stuff. Your educational material will be accessible through the SERPs, as we mentioned, but these pages might also be useful as an email series for new prospects, direct answers to questions found floating around the interwebs or repurposed into print materials if you’re still into that kind of thing.
The key thing to remember about this content marketing strategy is that it’s all about educating your target audience on why your product or service is awesome. This is where you probably expect me to give specific examples in an effort to illustrate my point, but this is so specific to each individual business and I don’t want to create limitations in your mind about what this content should be. Hopefully, you already know why people should do business with you. You already know what’s best for your customers. You’ve heard the arguments and the misconceptions that keep them from buying. This is your chance to educate them. Try to be as subjective as possible. After all, there’s no reason why a well educated and motivated individual wouldn’t choose you over all the sub-par competition.
Content Marketing Strategy #2: Just for Them
This content marketing strategy dates back before the words “content marketing strategy” were ever uttered. In 1955 Guinness Brewery published and distributed the first "Guinness Book of World Records" to Irish pubs in an attempt to keep the patrons hanging out longer, drinking Guinness and participating in trivia. The publication had nothing to do with beer, but it was created for their target audience. The publication blew up and was massively in demand. They had created their own loyal audience and you can do the same.
You might be more familiar with this content strategy as it’s used by many within the realm of social media. When organic Facebook Page reach was still a thing, marketing professionals would suggest creating posts for the audience that weren’t brand-centric. For example, if you ran a business selling kid’s clothing, you might want to post about kids health or how to organize yourself as a parent. This way you would attract and keep the interest of your target audience, parents.
Now, use your imagination to take this content marketing strategy a step further. Visualize a YouTube channel called “Parents These Days” (I just made that up) where all the videos being posted are meant to directly help parents live a better life. Videos might include “How To Find The Best Babysitter” or “3 Easy Kids Meals For Busy Days.”
This kind of content is more likely to be shared, helping you passively grow your audience with helpful material. It’s also more likely that a parent would hit that “subscribe” button because they don’t see it as supporting or endorsing a company. It’s just a show that they like and that they find useful.
Sales Pitch Later
All that hard work will eventually pay off. You have essentially created your own media just like a magazine, TV program or radio show. You have a large audience consisting specifically of parents. You know all about them because some of your videos were popular than others. You have valuable demographic information on that audience that you could use to sell advertising. You could endorse something in your videos. You could offer something exclusive in your newsletter.
Advertisers will pay to reach the audience you have created and you might let some of them in … if they are worthy. But the primary goal is to sell your clothing.
A Blend of Both Content Marketing Strategies
Guinness wasn’t a one trick pony. Their little publication served a specific purpose. But you can bet they had material to educate pub goers on why their beer was the best choice. Founded in reality or not, they all knew it was “good for you” and gave you strength.
Do you have content marketing material to communicate your positioning? Have you ventured into the realm of creating your own media? What is the perfect blend of these two content marketing strategies?
Image credit: Guinness World Records Corporate