Content Marketing: Teach, Don’t Preach

I get asked the question all the time, even by my wife and parents: What is content marketing? If you’re hearing the term for the first time, the best place to start is a basic definition: Content marketing is a marketing strategy centered on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content designed to attract and acquire consumers. But to understand this hot term further, it’s critical to understand how content marketing differs from traditional marketing in the way it actually attracts and acquires those customers.

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The only real value old-school advertising and marketing provides is letting you know that a product or service exists and how you can access it. For instance, a newspaper advertisement for a new film provides you with an opening date, tells you where the movie is playing, and may include a catchy tag line. A billboard over the highway lets you know what exit to take for a nearby restaurant and what kind of food you can expect when you arrive.

By contrast, content marketing operates on the premise that today’s customer is looking for companies to provide value in marketing. In other words, it’s not as much about the who, what and when as it is about the why. Put simply, to be successful you have to teach, rather than preach, to prospects and customers.  

Say you own a startup company that’s invented a new dating app. It’s not enough to just get the word out that the app is available. First, you have to make people understand why they should be interested in downloading any dating app at all. So perhaps you write a blog post or write a white paper that includes relevant statistics. For example, 38 percent of single American adults have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. That statistic adds value for the consumer that a piece of traditional marketing could not; it lets these potential users know that there are millions of possible matches that they could be missing out on meeting if they don’t use a dating app.

Once you’ve established that a dating app is worthwhile, the next step is to distinguish yourself from Match, eHarmony, OKCupid and all the other competitors out there. So maybe you put together case studies or testimonials where actual users describe how, after failing to connect with anybody through those other services, your app helped them meet their soul mate. Again, these are essentially in-depth conversations you are having with prospects and customers that traditional marketing simply can’t facilitate.

Now, I understand that even if all of this makes sense it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why Content Boost exists, and why we are holding our first-ever Content Boost Crash Course on Dec. 4. Just as we encourage our clients to educate their own customers, we are holding this free event to help business professionals get comfortable with the principles behind content marketing and how a content strategy vendor like Content Boost can help your business put together a successful content strategy. For those in the community who are interested, the agenda is as follows:

Now that you’ve had a little taste of content marketing, we hope you’ll join us for a full meal on Dec. 4 (literally and figuratively, as we’ll be serving lunch). Click here to register … we can’t wait to see you there!

Why Your C-Suite Should Be Blogging (and Tweeting)

shutterstock_171724835 (1)There are few better representatives for your brand than your CEO and other members of your C-suite. And since 60 percent of a company’s market value is attributable to its reputation, according to surveys of executives conducted by Weber Shandwick, corporate leaders should be making their voices heard by writing and sharing valuable and unique branded content on their company websites and across social media. Continue reading →

Are You New to Content Marketing? Stop By Our Content Marketing Crash Course, Dec. 4th

shutterstock_231918973Chances are you’ve heard or read about the term “content marketing.” After all, almost every major news publication from Forbes to The Huffington Post has written about it and companies are increasingly investing in it. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 46 percent of businesses plan to increase their spend on content marketing, while 32 percent have already made a commitment to keep their budgets the same.

But what exactly is content marketing and how does it work? Continue reading →

Social Media Contests: Good or Bad Idea?

photo 2A few months ago, I entered a contest on Twitter to win a free spa getaway at the lovely Mayflower Grace in Washington, Connecticut. Excited and shocked to learn I was the winner, (I rarely win things) I immediately shared my excitement on social media.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by friendly staff, and escorted to our beautiful room with a breath-taking garden view. Everything was exquisite, from the delicious food to the out-of-this world spa. At dinner that night, we were asked by our waiter what we did to deserve to win such a great prize. “I think I entered my email address and retweeted something,” I responded. The waiter looked less than impressed, expecting my answer to be a bit more long-winded and involved. His response got me thinking – what is the true value of a contest on social media? Continue reading →

Don’t Run Away From Blogging—Your Content Marketing Strategy Needs It

That frigid, bitter wind was whipping against my bare legs and face as I walked outside last night to continue my marathon training. With the wind chill hovering around 20 degrees, the easy decision would have been to turn right around, grab some hot chocolate and relax under cozy blankets for the night—with Netflix by my side, of course. But no, I needed to face the elements. If I didn’t stick to my rigorous training plan—in which I run at least 30 miles a week—my marathon time will not cut it. So there I went into the frozen tundra for one of the most painful 7-mile runs I’ve ever experienced. But when it was all over, it felt amazing to conquer Mother Nature and stick to the training game plan. Continue reading →

Case Studies and Testimonials: Content Marketing Tactics That Work

Most of us would rather act on a referral from a friend than make a purchase based on a sales pitch alone. We want to know that the product or service actually works before we take the leap to buy, and we’re bound to put more trust in someone who has already used the product successfully than the person trying to convince us. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 consumers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39 percent do so on a regular basis, according to research from BrightLocal.

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That’s where fact-filled case studies and testimonials come into play for your content marketing strategy. Case studies and testimonials give you the opportunity to establish credibility, helping your business prove claims about your product or service and convert more prospects into customers. In fact, customer testimonials are the most effective form of content marketing, according to SalesStaff’s “100 Sales & Marketing Stats That Will Blow Your Mind.”

Continue reading →

Overarching Theme at Inbound Marketing Summit 2014: Content is the Future

20141112_150001When I first heard of the Inbound Marketing Summit, designed for content marketing visionaries and evangelists like myself who love to convene, share, collaborate and learn, I was all in. As the Boston-hosted event neared and the agenda was posted, I was particularly intrigued with how intimate the event appeared to be.

As someone who attends a fair amount of trade shows, I am used to darting feverishly between track sessions, networking on massive trade show floors and finding the most comfortable pair of flats I can locate to survive the miles of walking. So you can imagine my curiosity when I discovered this show had zero tracks and was being held in a historic castle. But, I have to say, it was a nice change of pace.

Continue reading →

Hungry Yet? What Chef Jamie Oliver Can Teach You About Content Marketing

Jamie_Oliver_cookingBusinesses across all industries have gradually accepted the fact that in order to be successful, they really don’t have much of a choice other than to begin forging their content marketing strategies. But there’s a catch: A vast majority of them admit they’re not really good at it.

Marketers exist to promote their products and ultimately generate new revenue streams. To do this, they’ll place ads in newspapers and on websites, pay for radio and television commercials and write pertinent blog posts, among many other things.

The mistake, it appears, is that many marketers approach digital mediums the same way they approach traditional ones. As a result, their blogs—the cornerstones of their content marketing efforts—often end up more like really long ads than engaging, beneficial content. Continue reading →

What ‘Interstellar’ Taught Me About Content Strategy

After months of anticipation, I finally had the chance to see the blockbuster “Interstellar” last week. The film is a Sci-Fi adventure, directed by Christopher Nolan starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, which explores the possibilities for deep space travel and the mysteries of our physical universe.

Continue reading →

Will We See You at Our Dec. Content Marketing Crash Course?

From our content marketing keynote panel at ITEXPO in August

From our content marketing keynote panel at ITEXPO in August

Right around the time Content Boost started holding content marketing breakouts, keynotes and panels at various trade shows—including our very own ITEXPO events—we got asked the same question by many attendees: do we ever hold seminars or training courses throughout the year? The short answer was no, but the long answer was… not yet.

Quickly, we started to pick up on a very common trend in the industry: people did not want to have to wait until conferences or trade shows to receive best-in-class content marketing training. Perhaps more importantly, they didn’t want to have to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for one-off seminars. Instead, they wanted a way to stay current with the latest industry trends and strategies for improving upon their existing marketing efforts.

Continue reading →

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