Sometimes a word or phrase can be tossed around for years before someone brave enough to admit ignorance says, “Wait, what does that even mean?” It is not unlike greeting a neighbor every weekday morning for three years in a row without ever learning his name; there is a point after which it is simply too late to ask. That same statute of limitations on asking a question seems to apply to words or phrases, too. One phrase that comes to mind is content marketing. Of course advertising and marketing professionals know the term, but the average business owner might be hard pressed to explain the concept if asked. The truth is, they might participate in content marketing each and every day and just not realize there is a name for what they have been doing.
Content marketing is simply the act of engaging an audience of consumers not by promoting the sale of goods or services, but by sharing information. “Content” can mean anything from a short blog post to a lengthy article, or any kind of image like photos, videos, illustrations and infographics. (If content marketing is this century’s buzzphrase, “infographic” is this century’s buzzword.) Although content marketing is more about building relationships with people than it is about selling products to consumers, the ultimate goal is still to build brand awareness and eventually sell some products.
Huggies is one example of a company that has made a good effort toward combining content marketing with traditional marketing. The Huggies website contains not only company and product information, but also an entire library of articles that would interest parents of young children. One would not necessarily have to be in the market for diapers in order to find the articles interesting, and that is the key element of content marketing – piquing the interest of consumers even when they aren’t buying anything at that moment.
Sometimes the fact that a concept has a name can make it seem more complicated than it is, but “content marketing” is just another way of saying “relationship building.” Good salespeople have been doing it forever, even before there was an official term to describe it. So now that you know what the term means, you can feel free to toss it about with confidence, or even work it into a conversation with your neighbor – even if you never find out his name.