Sometimes when I talk to people about my content marketing consulting business, I start to worry that I’m contributing to an epidemic of worldwide content pollution. Like many people, I get tired of those daily or weekly emails from companies that I’ve bought stuff from in the past. Don’t even get me started on the ads everywhere. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and please, New York Times – I beg you, no more ads! It seems like the amount of noise in the world might rival the big bang. So, take a deep breath and begin to quiet the noise. Close your eyes – oh wait – you might have trouble reading this with your eyes closed.
Content marketing has become an all-important aspect of any business, and I would argue that it has increased in importance exponentially over the past five years. If you can’t find a website for a recommended consultant or store or restaurant, does it make you want to do business with them? If you are looking at two different possible CPAs to help you with your taxes, are you going to pick the one with a website that that simply lists its services and contact information or the one that helps you understand how the new tax law impacts your withholdings?
It seems almost impossible to imagine that any business could be taken seriously without some sort of content marketing effort. The trouble is, because everyone has amped up their content marketing, it takes even more posts, hits, impressions to penetrate the vast web of communications out there. You can't just sit back and hope that posting an accolade once every few months on your LinkedIn page is going to bring in clients.
So, what on earth do we do? Let's think about the purpose of content marketing. It is supposed to be user-focused and instead of being baldly promotional, it must be helpful, practical and hopefully lead to the user being able to both take a step toward doing something on their own and possibly considering you as potentially helpful.
First, here is a basic definition of content marketing:
"A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services."