Content marketing is an ingenious strategy to provide helpful information to people without expecting anything in return. Because the basis of content marketing requires informational sharing, everyone involved gets a benefit from its existence. An altruistic form of human advancement, content marketing will continue to play a drastic role in the spreading of valuable knowledge.
The History of Content Marketing
A form of content marketing, believe it or not, has always been around. Since the beginning of capitalism, the idea of creating and maintaining a relationship with customers, by giving them valuable items (content), has been at the forefront of business development. Imagine content marketing as a tool by which spreading valuable knowledge creates revenue. By this simple theory, many ancient empires have created forms of content marketing strategies that have paid serious dividends.
The Rise of Business Content
Towards the end of the 19th century, with the rise of technological advances and an easier method to communicate with consumers, businesses started creating new ways to connect and help their customers. Because simple marketing and advertising was directly related to people buying the advertisers products, content marketing shaped the future of consumer relations with businesses by showing them that they cared enough to provide information consistently and for free.
One such early pioneer of business content marketing was Jon Deere. The Jon Deere company created a magazine called The Furrow in 1885. The Furrow, as a prime source of content, provided many farmers with information, helpful tips, funny stories, and applicable knowledge on how to help their farms. After about 20 years, The Furrow had created an extraordinary following (of about 4 million readers), and developed a landscape of marketing that was trustworthy, helpful, and altruistic.
Jon Deere was not the only company to create content publications. Another company, called Michelin Tires, created a similar publication in 1900. The Michelin Guide, as it was called, was a completely free 400-page pamphlet that included information on automobile maintenance, travel, and hotels. This guide quickly became a popular hit for those who wanted to travel in automobiles.
Both the Furrow Magazine and The Michelin Guide were successful promotions. Having the opportunity to create secondary revenue (Through charging for the publications and selling ads), these promotions truly changed the game for marketing and advertising. But, above all financial rewards, what these publications truly did was establish a long-lasting connection between company and consumer.
Content Marketing in the Modern World
Being a sober living company, our focus is obviously on helping people get off of drugs and alcohol. But, because our focus is on much more than the avoidance of drugs and alcohol, we also have a huge focus on health and fitness. Health and fitness, as you probably have seen, has a large internet community. With millions and millions of free articles, videos, and publications, the fitness industry is a prime example of content marketing at work. If you have ever taken advice from a website on any form of fitness or health information (diet, workout routine, stretching, etc..), you have been apart of content marketing.
Imagine you are wanting to do something new. Whether it’s creating a new culinary dish, which vacuum to buy, or how to adequately preform a handstand, you will probably venture to the internet for some advice. You can easily find thousands of articles for basically anything you are interested in learning. This, my friends, is content marketing in our world today.
On social media sites, we are all flooded with content. Especially from businesses. This constant outpouring of information as created a complete change in how we operate as a society. Now, everything can be found for free. However, this is good and bad. It is good for consumers, but it is bad for businesses who need to make money of off certain information.
Tips on Spreading Knowledge
The only way to stand out, and the essence of any good marketing campaign, is to be as unique as possible. We, as consumers, are so overloaded with ads on a daily basis, that we become numb to most attempts at convincing us to buy products. Nevertheless, for reasons obscure to me, companies continue to spend billions on advertising each year. The results resume to be astonishing. How can we possibly remember the name of your brand, if you are selling the same message as everyone else?
Content marketing is how we can remember your brand and prefer to use your services. Because all of your (The content marketers) information has been for our benefit, we have a certain attachment to you and your company. When we needed the information, you were there to give it to us. And, most importantly, you did not directly ask for anything in return.
So, the best tip on how to be great at content marketing is this: focus on the consumer first. Of course, you want to make money for your business. That is the end result of any good marketing campaign. However, when you focus on us (the consumer) we feel loved, respected, and cared for. This creates a true connection. We, at the point of purchase, don’t really care about the competition because we know you have been there for us the entire time.
What not to do in content marketing
Because we, as human beings, are fundamentally selfish creatures, if the product has no benefit to us, we have no use for it. That is certainly the case with any form of content. So, if you are giving us extensive amounts of content, with the obvious intention to sell us on something, this will create an automatic resentment towards the brand. Regardless of how valuable the content may be, we will not want to listen to you or buy your product. All of us want to feel appreciated. And when businesses give out information and obviously ask you to purchase something, we feel used and betrayed.
Doing content marketing the right way is an amazing way to create a loyal customer base. It can spread valuable knowledge and help many people, while establishing and reaffirming your brand as a leader in a specific category. But, like any form of marketing or advertising, it produces the best results when done the right way. And as an altruistic form of communicating with consumers, content marketing is done best when done in a selfless way.
About the Author
Joe Dantes is a Content creator for Real Deal Sober Living. Person in long term recovery. Fan of sports, brisket, and martial arts.