Scribe has a great phrase that I think describes content marketing very very well, “Rather than buying access to an audience from the media, your company becomes the media.” The internet has become a useful tool for many potential customers but also has some pretty hefty downfalls for business. One of the big ticket items being the preconceived notions that are inevitably formed in the minds of consumers BEFORE any traditional marketing tactics are able to reach them.
Also, because competition is so fierce, businesses need that, “something more” as Scribe describes it, and that is what content marketing is. It’s a new form of branding that is actually enjoyable and desirable; very different from past approaches that were quick to try to sell you on a product/good. This goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing.
The driving factor behind content marketing is empowered individuals online. The idea is to create desirable content then give it away for free. It seems counterintuitive but it’s just basic math– in a cost-benefit analysis, the cost to produce the content is substantially less than the benefits retrieved from that free distribution.
So what is content without SEO or social media? Nothing really. Effective content marketing just doesn’t happen without the other aspects, it’s possible to create the best content on the web, but without the distribution provided by search engine ranking and various SM sites- the content is created in vain. Here’s a simple infographic from Scribe to show how everything is completely interconnected.
Another drastic difference between “traditional” marketing strategy and content marketing is what you pay for. You are no longer buying a list of email address and other various data, you are building a list of people who seek you out because of the great content that has been produced.
What I really want to focus on is an interesting idea that Scribe presents on the concept of authority and its effects on content marketing. At Scribe they believe it to be a major player in establishing a brand, because with authority also comes visibility (that is if you’re doing it right)- some examples are Oprah and Donald Trump. Both individuals are authorities in their realm, largely because they followed the following rule: “Authority comes from taking what you know best and sharing it with other for their benefit.” This is so critical because it isn’t just an online idea! Authoritative figures command more attention all around us, so it only make sense that search engines would also qualify their rank order in a similar fashion. A fantastic quote reads, “If people think you’re important, so will Google.”
I’ve had kind of a ‘DUH’ moment with the whole concept of online authority, I hadn’t given it much thought because it’s seemingly too obvious. The most interesting part about authority (as it’s used here)– you don’t need to be an ACTUAL authority, all you need is the interest and passion, along with the ability to share your ideas through an online portal. This is revolutionary, seemingly anyone with the drive and access can become an authority in their niche, producing noteworthy content that can be turned into content marketing! Whew.
At Scribe, they’ve also got a sense of humor. Describing the process of optimization; Google is a “toddler” who needs information to be “spoon-fed” to them in just the right way for it to be digestible. The gist is that the content needs to be superb for prospects but needs to be presented in a way the Google’s algorithms can make sense of. A straightforward but witty way of explaining a rather complex idea.
To bring these ideas to life, there is http://mystarbucksidea.force.com as a form of content marketing. The motto behind it all is “Share. Vote. Discuss. See.” Anyone can share an idea on how to make their Starbucks experience a better one, people vote on the best ones, and you can actually see ideas from this interaction, implemented in Starbucks locations. The concept of asking for customer feedback isn’t unique, but the platform that Starbucks is using is! It’s visually appealing, and creates a sense of community that revolves around business caring about consumer satisfaction (and they have links to their SM sites, of course). This draws people in, this is content marketing put to work.
So what are the takeaways from all this?
This is where it all connects, it isn’t one thing or another, it isn’t lets pick one: it’s lets do it all.