The term “Content Marketing” has been gaining traction gradually over the past few years, and by the look of it most people in the digital industry have no idea what it means, let alone clients. In our scene, content marketing is in danger of turning into another digital advertising bubble where it becomes another ineffective mouthpiece for your brand. So first, let's hear how the leading content marketers, Content Marketing Institute, define content marketing—
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
That sounds like something a BBA student will regurgitate onto their exam scripts for a course he paid way too much for. Let me break things down for you.
What is content?
In general terms, content is everything. In marketing specific terms, it's a piece of resource that has inherent value to your specific target group that establishes your credibility as a brand. Content can be a free book, like how Walton gave me a free recipe book on my purchase of their air fryer. It can also be a blog or anything that adds value to the potential customer's life after perusing it.
How does content marketing help me?
As we quickly adopt the age of the internet, our customers are slowly becoming more and more informed. Before buying a product, almost everyone I know youtubes for reviews and such. Having the right content in place or having a content platform that your customers rely on can drive up your credibility. Let's talk about Red Bull. They are a proper media platform now. No one had access to photos of Felix Baumgartner's jump except Red Bull Media. Newspapers and TV had to get their footage from an energy drink company. Red Bull and Monster regularly does these crazy things that produce top notch content for the aspirational youth. What's the point, you ask? Next time you're stuck in Dhaka traffic, look to your left and count the number of Red Bull and Monster stickers on motorbikes. Monster isn't even available as readily as Red Bull is in Dhaka. That's blind loyalty through the power of content.
Is it a magic potion that will fix my brand?
No, it's not. Content marketing on the long run can become more powerful than any of your marketing activities but expecting it to produce short term results is like expecting a baby within a month because you have 9 wives. Like all marketing strategies, you need to divide up your goals for the short-term and the long-term. Push digital marketing activities for short-term gain while concurrently curating a long-term content marketing ecosystem.
Yep. Where do you think the #shotoniphone pictures go? The Apple account. As mentioned in my previous article, Urban Truth did this 5 years ago while most digital agencies in the country were too busy looking for dollar endorsed credit cards to “boost viral videos.” For a content marketing plan to work, you need to figure out a sustainable method of your content distribution. Surprisingly enough, PR agencies work the hardest for content marketing in the country. Unfortunately, due to the lack of expertise, most of their articles look like it was written by a copywriter who was lobotomised by the client to only speak superlative praises for the brand. They look hilariously fake. When you're dealing content, credibility is key.
Credibility? What's that?
Welcome to the age of the internet where everyone has a voice. If you're peddling content that clearly looks like it was paid for to promote your brand, at best people will ignore you; at worst, they will berate you. In such circumstances, it's super important to make sure there is a level of transparency with your customer. For example, our vision for Rantages was to be a credible content platform for humour and purely that. In the past 5 years, there have been many brands who wanted sponsored content but their requirements meant that our target audience would feel like we were selling out. After declining every sponsorship request throughout this time, now we have finally settled on an endorsement model that our fanbase is okay with. They trust us to make the right judgements. If your content has no value, you can't force it. Content marketing takes at least a year to flourish and needs constant tinkering from experts.
I'm still not sold on this idea of content marketing
Aside from a quick google that'll show you that content marketing's decisive year is 2018, just think about the brands I mentioned in this article. This is the PR mileage their content has generated without ever even contacting me. Content makes people organically speak about your brand. Michelin is a tyre brand that certifies restaurants.
Finally, if your product isn't up to the mark, content marketing will never work for you. Instead, people will generate their own content on social media criticising your products.
Rumman R Kalam is the founder of Rantages and uses his 8 years of content experience as a consultant to help brands develop their long-term vision and bring stability to their marketing activities. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.