What’s the difference between content marketing and posting on social media (or in a blog or sending an email?)
You might be scratching your head right now thinking - there is no difference.
I don’t understand the question?
What do I mean by content marketing?
Well, content is the stuff that people bombard us with every single day from a variety of sources. What we might read, see or watch inside Facebook. What we might flick through inside Instagram. What we might watch on Youtube or what we might read online at a website.
Our media today craves the production of it. It doesn’t matter if it is good or bad, what matters is that TV/RADIO/Online news produces copious amounts of content.
This constant urge to create online noise flows over into business.
We feel we have to create content. We can feel pressured to do something.
To get out there.
To be visible
Have you ever felt yourself saying anything like the below…
- Better pop some images up on Facebook of that staff birthday last week.
- Hey this coffee on my desk looks kinda of cool - I might pop it up on Instagram today.
- I am really struggling with this blog, I just haven’t felt terribly ‘inspired’ lately.
- Crap, better get that email newsletter out as it’s the end of the month.
And then do you ask yourself what you are even doing it for?
We can feel like we are just hamsters on a wheel, creating stuff for the hell of it, doing things online cos we have been told we need to do online marketing even though we don't have anything much to say or even know what we should be saying.
It doesn't seem to generate any sales, it just seems like a big waste of time.
I mean where is the ROI?
The reason you feel frustated like this is simple.
You are thinking you just need to create content - not actually have a content marketing plan.
Content Marketing refers to a strategic answer to a customer’s question.
When we think about a content marketing plan then - we are thinking about how we engage, educate or entice our target customers by focussing our effort on information that is actually of interest to them. Are we creating content that is seeking to build connections to potential or existing clients? Are we posting, creating & sharing information that they actually care about - that starts to move that potential customer along the spectrum from knowing us, to liking us, to finally trusting us.
Cos that is where we need to be leading them - and content marketing is how we do it.
Maybe the Facebook photos of the team’s birthday party are the right kind of content to create and share as it showcases that your business has real people that work there. That people can start to connect faces and names with the work that you do for them.
Your stylised coffee shot could be perfect in an Instagram setting if your target audience is inside Instagram and expecting a certain kind of look from you - but if your target audience isn’t there, what is the purpose of your image?
Blogging should be one of the easiest forms of content marketing you can do. If you are just creating words on a page - then you are wasting your time and will struggle to be inspired. Your blog is a powerful and easy way for you to share what you know and answer your customer’s questions. There is nothing simpler when you focus on them first and not what you think you need to do.
It can be as simple as a how to do something. You might do a compare and contrast piece, it could be a review of an upcoming season/style/colour range. It might be you sharing your opinion on something topical in your industry (go on be brave!). Whatever it is - the best thing about it, is that you are already the expert. Your ideal client is looking for answers and you have them.
Otherwise, why would you be in a successful business - share what you know.
You are an expert
Trust that you know your stuff and that your customers want to know this.
If you aren’t confident that you know what you are selling/creating/training in - then what are you doing in business?
It’s a hard question, but it needs to be asked. Do you know your stuff?
Then tell me.
The reason that you struggle to put pen to paper or share stories online that no-one reads (even with a valid invitation) are because you aren’t thinking strategically about your customers.
If you take the time to plan out your content in a more manageable 90-day sprint you will find that you not only have plenty of time to say it/write & prepare it - but that you get better resonance with your customers.
Give them what they want and they will come back for more. If you can’t do this or won’t do this - stop everything and just advertise, a lot. (like seriously a lot).
But there is another way. A more budget friendly, long term, client relationship building kind of way.
Content Marketing grows customers
You are creating this content with one sole purpose in mind.
To get your ideal client to change their behaviour in some way. Whether it is to open your newsletters more, to read your posts, to click your links, to engage with you on social media, to buy your stuff.
Whatever the action is - your content marketing plan needs to be working towards that single aim.
If yours doesn’t then you have a problem.
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You know that there is more to an effective online business presence than just having a website
Which is probably why you have a Facebook business page – that’s kind of functioning. And why you popped something up on LinkedIn. Right around the time you began to implement an email marketing strategy – which petered out soon after. Then someone said you had to blog. And what on earth are you meant to post on Instagram and why?
To properly and powerfully benefit from the online space, you need all these pieces of the puzzle to fit together perfectly.
In addition, the overall picture has to align with your goals, ethics, and overall business objectives.
If yours doesn’t, we’ve created something especially for you.