Message. Market. Methods.
Branding and marketing for small businesses 
August 2017
Content Marketing Demystified

People talk about content marketing these days like it's a "thing." A new thing. Something that didn't exist 10 or 20 years ago, never mind 50 or 60 years ago. The truth is good marketing was ALWAYS content marketing. Content marketing is not exclusive to online marketing, although it is a great strategic approach to online marketing. Googling "content marketing definition" returns about 4,600,000 results. While we know those are not all relevant results (by a long shot), it shows us that a lot of people have a lot to say about content marketing. For the sake of this article, I will define content marketing as a marketing approach that does the following:
  • Provides valuable, relevant information to people so that they may become aware of your organization and perhaps be interested in interacting with you in the future.
Done. List over, no more bullets.

There are many nuances related to content marketing, one of the chief ones being that it does not try to sell. A message that is prevalent in social media marketing is that your goal is to provide useful, interesting, and engaging content without asking for the sale each and every time. Again, the truth is that marketing and sales were ALWAYS two different things. Of course, marketing and sales are intimately intertwined, but they are two separate functional areas of a business.

Don't be scared away by the concept of content marketing, you're probably already doing it. The question is whether or not you're consciously practicing it as a marketing strategy, and whether or not you're doing it as well as you could be. Here are the "Troubadour Top Ten" guidelines to help you excel at content marketing:
  1. Narrowly define and truly understand your ideal client
  2. Stay focused on your customer and not yourself- content should be about their needs and interests
  3. Ask people what they find useful (surveys, research, casual conversations)
  4. Nail your messaging and stick to it
  5. Be consistent with your branding (look and feel plus values alignment)
  6. Be authentic and engaging (be a real human, not a faceless company)
  7. Give value without expecting a sale in return
  8. Show gratitude through your content
  9. Be consistent with interaction and follow-up
  10. Always include a call to action (CTA) inviting them to the next interaction (which does not have to be the sale)
Don't be surprised if you are thinking "Wait, these aren't content marketing rules," they are just "marketing rules." YES! You are correct. Good content marketing is good marketing. Want content that rocks? Use these content rules to guide you and you're on your way! Need help? That's what we're here for: contact us.

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