There is a plethora of content marketing definitions and most of them, if not all, are focused on the value of the content shared with the target audience. To holistically understand the concept and context of content marketing, we need to understand the particular circumstances that existed at the time a definition of content marketing emerged. To be more precise, the practice of content marketing goes back to 1732 when Benjamin Franklin I published his annual Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business. Nowadays, we apply content marketing, mainly, through social media platforms.
“Good content isn’t about good storytelling;
it’s about telling a true story well”.
Ann Handley – Keynote Business Speaker
Joe Pulizzi (2013:5), in his ‘Epic Content Marketing’ book, comprehensively defines content marketing as “the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action” while Rebecca Lieb (2012:1) states that content marketing “is a pull strategy – the marketing of attraction”.
Neil Patel, a top influencer and recognised by Forbes as one of the top 10 marketers, explains that “content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content [for free] that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis [to build your personal brand]”. To me, this is a holistic definition of content marketing that precisely describes the context of content marketing today.
It can be inferred that a content marketing strategy is highly dependent on the basis of a win/win situation, which is explained by Jeremy Francis in his article on ‘Negotiation’. In other words, to get the benefit (build your personal brand, make the sale etc.), you need to give the benefit in the first place (valuable, relevant, useful content for free).
What is the most important component of content marketing?
- The content shared with the target audience (value, relevance etc.)
*Ann Hadley said that “good content isn’t about good storytelling; it’s about telling a true story well”.
Content can be anything in the following forms:
Social media articles | Blogging | Email | Whitepapers
Social media videos (e.g. TikTok, YouTube) | Webinars | Tutorials
Podcasts (Personal on Demand)
Magazines | Books | Booklets | Brochures
Mediums you may use to promote your content marketing strategy:
Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | TikTok | YouTube
Personally, I would focus on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to implement a content marketing strategy. Not because other channels (e.g. YouTube) are weaker, but because there is a need for incorporating further equipment (e.g. video camera) and further communication skills (e.g. speaking in front of a video camera). Paradoxically, there are some professionals who are reluctant to use Facebook and Instagram for their content marketing strategy. But business is not what we personally like or dislike. Business is where we can get more leads and generate sales. In fact, Facebook had 2.3 billion active monthly users in the first quarter of 2019, Instagram had more than 1 billion accounts active every month and LinkedIn had nearly 500 million. Each social media platform must be used wisely in order to get the most out of it. Meaning that Instagram could be used to share videos, Facebook to share articles, passages and videos and LinkedIn to share lengthier articles, passages and shorter videos. The decision on how to use each medium is yours. This means that you need to narrow your gaze and identify where your target audience is and connect with them by using the right medium/s.
It is important to mention that many content marketing campaigns on social media platforms fail for various reasons. These are:
- Lack of practical knowledge (how to effectively use social media ads to promote content marketing campaigns)
- Lack of experience (Dos + Don’ts)
- Lack of consistency (an article per week/month)
- Irrelevant content
- Not targeting the right audience
- Not investing enough time
- Not investing enough money
*There are a lot of educational videos on YouTube on how to commence successful content marketing campaigns and how to use each social media platform effectively, however, if there is little or not adequate knowledge pertaining to the particular subject, it would be wiser to contact a professional marketeer to guide you through.
The above reasons are the hurdles to the success of a content marketing strategy, however, there are some convincing facts that support the immediate design and implementation of a content marketing strategy. Gary Vaynerchuk, a notorious marketing guru and a world-class influencer, asserts that advertising through social media is currently cheap and at the same time effective and efficient. This means that there is a good opportunity for many small and medium-sized businesses to thrive through a well shaped content marketing strategy before social media ads costs go up, he adds.
To conclude, a content marketing strategy must be well-organised and planned before moving into the implementation stage. Be patient, invest time and money, trust the process and keep sharing your content on a constant basis. The latter is the most important ingredient to your success.