Where did you first hear the term content marketing? At a conference? Or did you read it on a blog? Or did you see an interesting tweet and you wanted to see what the deal is with this “content marketing” term? And did you like it? What did you think of it at first? Easy, difficult, simple, complicated, weird, bad, no idea?
In fact, if I were to straight up ask you what does content marketing mean for you, what would your answer be? Whether you are a blogger, vlogger, company, social media manager (or expert), marketer, copywriter or advertiser, you need to have an opinion on this trend. A blog article? A video? A Facebook post? A strategy? A behavior? An attitude? A something that can’t be explained through words, but through facts?
The discussion can go on indefinitely, just like the boys from This Old Marketers make a weekly podcast regarding this trend that looks as if it’s a never ending story. (Thank you guys for mentioning me at your last episode)
After studying the trend, I did some experimenting and I came to the conclusion that everything can be simplified in 3 simple key points (“d’oh!”) that you need to combine in order to get a content marketing strategy that works.
But, to be able to easily understand what I want to say, I made a drawing that I will explain below.
Click on the image to enlarge. Free download!
Content marketing strategy is divided into three large sections:
Each point is defined by a question and each point plays an important role in the strategy process. Nothing new so far, eh? After all, we’re talking about things that are so easy to deal with: content (status, images, photos, video, infographic), platform (website, blog, landing page, social networking, publications, etc.) and distribution (when to launch, how to launch, ad sites in social media, display ads, promoted post etc.).
The idea is as follows: I’ve noticed that many brands are trying to understand (as seen from their behavior) how content marketing works, but they often lose sight of these 3 simple, but important points.
So, through the above drawing, I want to show you the dangers a brand might face when using only 2 of the 3 key points.
But first let’s take a look at the points and then at the dangers.
Whether we’re talking about blog articles, landing page, a Facebook status, user manual or a Slideshare presentation, that comes from a brand- it is a content and its goal is to tell a story, to sell, to attract the customer and convert him, to advertise. But everything it depends on the strategy!
I don’t think we should hide behind the idea that “Content marketing is not advertising. Content marketing comes to the aid of the client’s need and ensures that the brand is transparent towards the consumer … bla bla bla“. Like any other type of message that comes from a brand, the purpose of content marketing is to make the brand bigger and closer.
The content should answer the question “What?” – What type of content should be created? What will this content do? What message should this content convey? What need does this content solve? What does the brand want with this content? What? What? What?
But this “what” needs to be spiced up with a pinch of magic dust that not everyone has and only some special people can use – the creatives. Therefore, the content of a brand not only has to answer the question “what”, but it also has to be creative, original, special.
By platform I mean the place where the content shows up- i.e. a blog post on a blog, a photo on Facebook or Instagram, a presentation on Slideshare , ads that target a man, infographic on Pinterest, etc. Specifically, the area for which the content is created. I think we are still facing the problem of the platform- what do we create for the platform in question?.
And we’re not just talking about the platform itself, but also about the users who access it- whether it’s a blog or a social network.
The platform should answer the question “where?” –Where should the created content appear?
Many content marketers or copywriters have the impression that, after pressing “Publish” on the article or “Upload” on a specific type of content, their job is done- the great mistake that many people make. And they sometimes forget that distribution should be on the same level as the platform and the content. Why? Because we live in an era in which the entire Internet is noise and we need a smart distribution of the content on the platform. What does that mean?
Distribution answers the question “How”– how do I get to that user? How do I convey the message better? How do I create a direct bridge between the user and the brand? How do I convert the user? How do I set my ad? How do I choose which community is in my target? How? How? How?
Just imagine that distribution is part II of the “content marketing” term, namely “marketing”: content is the first part, while the platform is the space between “content” and “marketing”. Complicated? Not really. It’s all about imagination, and I know that you are smart enough to figure it out.
Now that we’ve learned a little more about those 3 points, let’s leave the stage to the dangers brands might encounter when using just 2 of the key point in their marketing content strategy.
A- When the platform does not matter!?
The combination that often kills created content.
Imagine that you’re going out formally dressed with dress shoes and everything and ready for a dinner party in a special place and you end up on a soccer field, while it’s raining and you must pass the ball around. How would you feel? Even if you’re wearing a special outfit, and you have the perfect perfume on, it still doesn’t match the context, the platform.
That’s how it is with Content & Distribution. It’s useless having great content, it’s useless having a good distribution if the platform is not the one where the content should be and it’s not the one where you should make the distribution.
Example: An 800 x 5000 pixels infographic cannot be uploaded on Facebook or Twitter. Why? Because the networks are not designed in such a way as to allow a normal view of this kind of content, and then there is the danger of losing the point of the content.
B- The moment when the content will die
I wrote it above and I want to repeat it- the fact that you “Publish” or “Upload” your content does that mean that your job is done. Distribution comes into play, which is part of the marketing strategy and may be divided into sharing on social media, newsletters, display ads, dark post and everything else that is content distribution.
Think of the following aspect: you’ve created an article you’ve worked on for 3 days. You have everything you need, data and statistics, graphics, links, great storytelling and a call-to-action that will certainly convert the readers, and so you publish the article. And you wait! You wait A day goes by, two days pass and 4 days pass. You check Analytics and you notice that the article has not had any success, visitors are the same, the bounce rate even increased and Mention has not said anything about the article either. What happened?
Well if you haven’t distributed the article, how could users have known that you wrote it? Think of how many opportunities you have today for distributing an article- social media sharing (be careful though as to not have a spammer attitude and do not forget that in social media you need to find a balance between “social” and “media”), e-mail marketing, display ads, communities etc.
Here’s an article from Neil Patel that explains the 11 steps you need to take after you publish an article.
C- But the content, what about the content?
Now that we’ve learned that the two combinations are quite dangerous for a content marketing strategy, what if we’d take out the “content” and we combine “distribution” and “platform”? What would we be left with then?
So we have the distribution part and we know how platforms work, but if we have no content, or even worse, if we have lousy content, what happens then?
Well it’s simple- the one who will suffer most is the brand’s image.
Quality content is a subject often discussed among bloggers, agencies and companies. People want quality content, especially from brands and from content creators (bloggers, vloggers, instagrammers, etc.).
Just look at the top instagrammers (you can find a few examples here) and look at your friends instagram accounts- which accounts look visually better? Which photos have outstanding quality and convey a story? Who can earn money through their work on Instagram?
That’s how it is with the type of content, quality will make the difference. And brands that are focusing more and more on quality content vs. distribution vs. platform will be the ones winning.
D – A+B+C= All in
This means taking into account all three key points when it comes to content marketing strategy: content, distribution and platform.
Let’s stop playing with half-assed things and do a professional job.
Ether we do things the right way, or we can forget about it!
- Pay attention to content, distribution and platform when you prepare your content marketing strategy;
- Quality content is the best content that you can share;
- The platform is as important as the content and the distribution;
- The work of a content creator starts after “Publish”/”Upload”;
- Practice and experiment.
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