What is content marketing?
Our team are so used to using the term content marketing that it took a curious client to stop us one afternoon and say ‘Hey guys, what is content marketing?’
Oops, our bad for making the mistake of thinking everyone would just know what we’re talking about. Our apologies for using lingo and buzz words. It’s generally not our style and we’re grateful for the deserved reality check- thanks Scott for bringing it to our attention!
So we’d like to fix this oversight by dedicating this post and an episode of Moonshine Moonshot to the topic of ‘What is content marketing?’ By the end of this short read you’ll be so up to speed that you’ll confidently drop ‘content marketing’ into a conversation and sound like a pro.
Content marketing is a great asset to any marketing strategy and can be very affordable so it’s worth the time to understand it better. Later in this blog I’ve added some great ideas on how to create one piece of content and turn it into many, saving you loads of time.
So, what is it already???
According to Wikipedia the definition is:
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.
What is the content?
But what classifies as content? So glad you asked because just about anything you see online is content. Blogs, articles, podcasts, videos, social media posts, pictures, infographic, ebooks- all of these are content because you can share and promote it which is where it becomes content marketing.
The easiest way to define what is and what isn’t content is to ask this question. Is it advertising? Am I looking at an ad or commercial trying to sell me something? If the answer is yes, then it isn’t really content. Content is anything you create that you want your audience to see, share, like or engage with so that they can get to know you, your brand, project or initiative. And it is usually created with the purpose to educate, to entertain, to inspire, or to convince. Yes, it is a very fuzzy line between convincing and selling at times so we understand your raised eyebrow over this one.
Why is content marketing important?
So, why is content marketing so important to any marketing strategy?
When you think about advertising, it’s designed to grab attention and get the viewer or audience member to take action. It’s a ‘flash in the pan’ style of connecting with people with the specific motivation to sell them something. However, content marketing is a slow burn by comparison. You could be creating content for the same audience for months, if not years to engage them and grow your profile.
And with content marketing, you can build rapport, engage with and build communities, grow your social channels and your audience can really get to know you in a deeper and more meaningful way. There may also be times where you’ll sell to this audience, but this would be on top of your content marketing strategy, the main purpose would be to establish trust by sharing useful information, giving advice or recommendations, or sharing and joining in conversations and solving problems. Once they get to know you, it’ll be much easier to transition them into becoming customers.
Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand what content is, and what content marketing is, the next step is to create some content and put it to good use to build and grow your audience and platforms.
Check out our blog on How to Master Your Message for some ideas on how to create your strategic content marketing strategy. Once you’ve mastered your message the rest will become much easier. Read on to learn some great ways to make the most out of your content.
Find out where your audience is online
When you first get started on your content marketing I strongly recommend you do a bit of research to find out where your audience are hanging out online. Are they really active on Facebook or do they seem to be more engaged on Instagram? Perhaps they are big on LinkedIn or Twitter? It’s important to know because content marketing is time consuming and you don’t want to spend hours and weeks hanging out on Facebook and learning all the ins and outs, only to find your audience is actually over on LinkedIn!
You also don’t want to be trying to grow an audience on all the platforms at once if you have a small team or if it’s just you in the marketing department. If you have limited resources then try to grow on one platform first and dip your toe in with a second one, then expand out when you have more resources.
It’s also important to consider what type of content you want to make. Are you great at writing or much better speaking to camera, or perhaps podcasts are your thing? If you hate writing then starting a blog or hitting a copywriting heavy campaign is going to drag you down. But if you love talking then go with audio or video if you like being on camera. Everyone is different. So focus on the thing you enjoy most and you’re more likely to stick with it.
How much content do you need?
Well, this is dependent on your time and capacity to create content and which platform you are on. If you’re focused on LinkedIn then posting a few times a week could be enough, as long as you’re jumping on each day to comment on other peoples posts. This might only take you 10 minutes once or twice a day to do the community-building aspect.
Or if you’re working with Instagram you’re more likely to see results by posting every day. Some folks recommend posting up to 3 times a day or more.
If you can post daily then I would go with that. Like with anything, you get back what you put in, so the more effort you make, the bigger the results you’ll get. But remember, it’s a long game and it will take time. So be realistic with your time frames and also remember that it’s always slower at the start.
Each platform has its own best practice so once you work out where you want to start, do some research on best practice for that platform and go from there.
Repurpose your content
When you saw my recommendations on how much content you need, did you think ‘yikes, that’s a lot’? If so, don’t panic!
You can turn one piece of content into many quite simply once you know a few tricks.
Let me explain. (Or you can watch this video for a fast overview 9 ways to make the most of your content marketing: Moonshot mashup 1
If you write a blog that’s around 500 – 1000 words (btw if it’s going on your website then it’s recommended you have a few blogs of at least 1800-2000 words, this will help google know the blog is serious content and rank it higher).
A written blog
- Carve out pithy quotes or key comments and use them as an image post on Instagram or Twitter.
- Take an overview paragraph and use it as the post text on LinkedIn and link to the blog post
- Record yourself reading the blog and turn it into an audio file and embed it in the post or use it as a podcast episode.
- Use an app like Wavve to create an audiogram of a small section of the podcast to share on social.
- Take excerpts of text to create a newsletter to send to your list.
With a video
- You could cut up the main video into smaller bit sizes cuts of under a minute to share on social that push people to the main video.
- Share a link to the video in all social platforms with some text for the post (except Instagram, you’d need to add the link in a comment under the post or point people to your bio where you can put a link).
- Grab cool quotes and use them on Twitter or in image posts on Instagram or Facebook. Very easy to create with Canva
- Embed the video in a blog on your website
- Add a link to the video into your email signature.
A podcast episode or audio version
- Create a thumbnail image and use the audio to create a video to put on YouTube. The background doesn’t’ have to move to create a video version.
- Use an app like Wavve to create an audiogram to use on social to push folks to the main content.
- Get the audio transcribed using a service like rev.com and use the text to create a written blog. This is also a great strategy for people who like to talk and not write. You can easily copy edit the text to work as a written piece.
Embed the audio file into your blog post.
- Add a link to the podcast into your email signature
To sum it up
There are so many ways to make one piece of longer-form content into many. You don’t have to create an original piece of content for every single platform, every day. Just make sure what you do create is suited to the audience on the platform your posting too. For example, LinkedIn is a platform aimed at professional people so using more informative content that aligns with your profession will work better than posting info on where you went for a great lunch on the weekend.
You can keep your content on track and with a clear point of view if you follow the strategy we suggest in ‘How to master your message’.
Once you are up and running you’ll find there are endless ways to make the most of your content.
The key is to be consistent, add value to your audience and drive conversations. Don’t just put stuff up for the sake of doing it. You have a point of view, you have a specialist area, once you start thinking about it regularly you’ll find interesting ideas that will delight, surprise or help your audience and some of those people will become your raving fans.
Experiment and have fun.
That’s probably a bit much for a single nutshell so if you want to understand it a bit more, then have a listen to this episode where Mike and I will share some other insights we’ve gained from creating content regularly.
“The future of publishing is about having connections to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want.” Seth Godin
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Until next week,
Sue Collins is a producer at Moonshine Agency and regularly develops, produces and creates purposeful content for Moonshine Agency’s projects in order to build audience’s and make an impact.
Learn more about Sue Collins and Mike Hill here
Want more tips? Watch our bonus video: 9 ways to make the most of your content marketing