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Content marketing: why it works, 5 positive effects & examples

That's right folks: it's a cat.

That’s right folks: it’s a cat looking adorable. [credit]

Content marketing is a huge movement in the business community now. There’s one thing about it that’s not always discussed: it’s amazing. Content marketing represents a move from a direct sales and branding approach – as with typical advertising – to a completely new, indirect model of engaging with customers, potential customers, and other users who might either end up buying or helping to spread your content. It’s a move from more straightforward self-promotion to “paying it forward” with free helpful information for your online audience.

Content Marketing Definition – Specifically, content marketing is the generation and distribution of content geared toward your target demographic that meets needs they have for information (as with a how-to article) and/or entertainment (as with a humorous video).

You still can have plenty of information that describes what you have to offer on your site. What you present widely, though, aims at providing something beneficial with a slow and continually increasing return: the content on your site will always exist, get you search and social traffic, and (unless it’s related to current events or your industry changes) will have a lengthy shelf life, possibly even longer than a Twinkie’s.

Five effects of content marketing for your business

A recent Forbes article reminds us that content marketing is not just about generating lots of material and pushing it out to the web; rather, it’s about strategizing and investing so that your content is great and useful. Forbes also listed basic strengths of content marketing and how it can help grow businesses, without any harmful dyes or fillers, as detailed below:

  1. Brand recognition: It reasonably makes a lot of businesses nervous to be providing general advice and education online that is not specifically focused toward sales. However, part of the idea of content marketing is that you provide this gift to people, and it makes them more receptive to learning about your company. Everything is flowing from your blog and social media channels, so it helps to build your brand.
  2. Broad following: As indicated above, not everyone who sees your content needs to be a customer. It all means traffic to your site and increased attention, especially if people see your posts repeatedly and develop an appreciation for what your company “has to say.”
  3. Information, information, information: Your sales and support staff no longer have to answer as many questions because you can provide information to many users through the content. Users also appreciate a business that is upfront about elements of its general industry and subject area (for more serious posts).
  4. Interaction: Obviously you want people interacting with you on social media, and that’s not as easy to accomplish as businesses would like. The content serves as a comfortable space to ask questions and discuss the topic. Replying to comments gives you a chance to show that your company is made up of “real people.”
  5. Job applicants: Quality content doesn’t just get you customers and social sharers. It also gets you job applicants. If you want to hire individuals with strong experience and expertise, the personality expressed in your content marketing campaign allows you to separate yourself from your competition as a cool place to work.

Examples of content marketing done right

SocialMouths (a site whose tagline,“Kick-[rhymes with “gas”] social media advice for the real entrepreneur,” shows an immediate effort to present its own personality) offers several content marketing examples from the past year:

1.    Old Spice – The creation of the quite funny and ridiculous Old Spice Man was an effort by the company to connect with younger individuals. Not only did the original 30-second video get a lot of attention, but Old Spice was able to extend its positive impact by releasing additional videos responding to user input.

2.    Colgate – The toothpaste company Colgate went a completely different route by creating resources related to health of the teeth. The Resource Center gives users access to almost 500 articles on topics related to dental subjects and proper oral health maintenance. In other words, instead of giving the audience a laugh, it shows off Colgate’s expertise.

3.    Red Bull – Red Bull has experienced great degrees of success with its marketing strategies. The company is moving away from TV ads and sponsoring extreme sports competitions to a focus on content. Red Bulletin is its new magazine. The magazine is of course not directly about the beverage (although I would love to read hundreds of pages about the high-octane energy drink). It’s about subjects that many people in Red Bull’s customer base and target demographic enjoy: BMX racing and skydiving, for instance.

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From branding to general exposure to engagement, there are many reasons why content marketing has become so popular. Content marketing works for businesses in many different ways, so be sure to strategize carefully. It’s not brain surgery (not many things are – not even knee surgery), and you can always get content writers from a marketing company.

How are you using content marketing to grow your business? Please feel free to let us know in the comments so people can know about your helpful and/or humorous content.

By Kent Roberts

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