When Google announced it would be using content to validate worthwhile websites and experts in its super secret way (aka its algorithm), companies clamored to create content. What most didn’t understand was that Google wasn’t saying the site with the most content wins. It was looking for quality content; but it’s view of “quality” and that of your high school English teacher is different.
For Google to notice you and your brand, you need good quality content but quality is a designation only your audience can give. And your audience has to be larger than your mom and best friend. That’s where “content marketing” comes in.
Content marketing is not sales-y. It’s helpful. If you do it wrong, you’ll alienate your audience and Google will shun you. There’s a lot at stake so you want to make sure you’re doing it right.
What is Content Marketing?
It’s not a new concept, but just like so many other things in life, we’ve finally given name to something that’s been around for years. John Deere and Michelin (tires) were among the first companies that created content in order to help their audience and to sell more products. Because when you help someone, they remember it.
But how can you have the same success?
Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. There are a number of leaders in content marketing and we can learn a lot from them. Here are some great examples.
Content Marketing Leaders and How They Rose to the Top
Speak in the Language of Your Tribe: Gary VaynerchukGary Vaynerchuk got into content marketing like the best do -- he wasn’t a marketer. Marketers are often caught up in thinking with their half PR/half sales brains. It’s a difficult switch to go from what you want to say (and what you want people to know about your company) to what your audience needs help with and wants to hear.
Gary worked in his family’s wine business and began producing videos to talk about the products and help educate people on wine. Not a new concept, right? But what was new was his refreshing, down-to-earth style. He didn’t use weighty concepts. He simplified wine appreciation for everyone. He spoke in the language of his tribe and he’s still doing that. He produces a ton of free content on how to market your business better. He presents in a way you’d speak to a buddy. Gary knows his audience and he gives them what they want. Before you check out his videos on full volume at the office, know that his tribe really likes the f-bomb.
To be like Gary: you want to speak in a language that resonates with your audience and provide them content in the medium that they enjoy.
Teach and Build a Tribe: Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute and really the guy who got people talking about “content marketing.” With the help of his team at Content Marketing Institute, Joe produces thousands of free resources to educate people about content marketing. From videos to infographics, blog posts to e-books, even webinars, Joe made sure every business knew what content marketing was and how to do it successfully.
To be like Joe: give it all away. Make a name for yourself as a resource by giving all/most of your content away. Once you establish yourself and people come to you for your expertise you can offer meatier pieces and promotions for a fee. Joe throws an amazing annual conference, CMWorld in Cleveland, Ohio.
Answer Questions Even the Hard Ones: Marcus SheridanMarcus Sheridan also got his start working at a small business -- a pool company. He was tasked with writing a blog but had no idea what to write about. So he started listening to the questions people asked. He recognized a pool is a large investment. Few people will merely drop by your store and sign a check to you on the first visit. They need to do their own research. They need to ask questions. They may need to justify to their significant other why they’re buying a pool instead of a car. So Marcus began answering their questions in blog posts. These posts became so successful, and drove so much traffic to the site, he had people from across the country using his site as a resource.
To be like Marcus: anyone can answer questions but Marcus answered them all, as truthfully as he could. He wrote comparative pieces and he didn’t always place his product on top. Because of this, people trusted him and that’s how he became a preeminent resource in the industry.
courtesy of: Salesforce.
Content marketing is a simple concept that takes time. You just produce content your audience finds helpful, inspiring, and entertaining. It must be in a format they find appealing and they need to be able to access it when they want to. There’s a time and a place for “charging” for your content and resources but even when you’re established as an industry leader, the great content marketers always give more than they get.
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