You’re smart and you hate superficial, simplistic ideas about content marketing.
Content is king. Build a blog and the audience will come. Publish daily, push content to social streams, do some push ups, and wait. Also, try some plug-ins and pump up life into your half-dead website. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
You see, these are all empty platitudes. In theory, they sound so simple and doable but they mean nothing in practice. So it’s good to avoid feel-good ideas that are actually bad for your content marketing education. Especially when you’re starting.
What’s Content Marketing, Really?
It’s a streamlined process of moving beneficial ideas to valuable online audiences for commercial advantage. There, simple and smart. But it ain’t easy, of course.
Now let’s pin down four crucial elements to get the most out of this definition:
- streamlined process
- beneficial ideas
- valuable audience
- commercial advantage
It’s not just a process. It’s a streamlined process, meaning a smooth, frictionless way of doing things. You follow steps or rules or principles, all of which guide your and your team in accomplishing goals. You have, for instance, an editorial calendar to publish articles on time without having to wait for someone. Your writers won’t have to struggle with meeting deadlines, they already anticipate it. A pattern was established, thanks to your streamlined process.
An effective content marketing plan thrives on good ideas, ideas that benefit the audience. You already know what these beneficial ideas are. They are relevant to your day-to-day needs. You feed on these ideas to create similar ideas, reframe a problem or spot potent solutions. Make sure your audience are getting their own share of beneficial ideas too.
Your content needs an audience. By audience, I mean a select group of people, not everyone online. Tailor your content to this specialized group and you’ll waste no marketing effort.
Content marketing is commercial. Free content and all the good stuff? Sure. Give them away. Just don’t forget that it’s all part of the sales process. You’re attracting people to your brand. You’re helping them see a need for your product. And you’re guiding them through the buyer’s journey.
That’s it for now. Dwell on the definition, remember those four elements, and watch out for my next post.