Content marketing has been around a long time. The Content Marketing Institute traces the roots of content marketing all the way back to 4200 B.C. where they say, “One of the first signs of custom publishing found in cave paintings [l]oosely translated to ‘6 ways a spear can save you from wild boar.’”
Modern Examples of Content Marketing
Fast forward several thousand years, and you’ll find many modern examples of using content to attract attention. For example, in 2008, Proctor & Gamble launched BeingGirl.com, which was, “four times more effective than traditional advertising.” In mid-2011, the Coca-Cola company launched its “Content 2020” marketing plan to focus on branded storytelling as a means of attracting more customers.
In this video Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at The Coca-Cola Company, outlines a new strategy focused on content by moving from “creative excellence to content excellence.” One of the stated goals of this content marketing campaign is to, “create content so contagious that it cannot be controlled.”
This basically means that Coca-Cola wants to produce content that spreads far beyond the borders of a normal advertising campaign and reaches people in places advertising normally doesn’t. People have been tuning out advertising for years now – such as with television advertising by turning the volume down and now by skipping commercials entirely with DVRs. This approach aims to create content that escapes these limitations.
Content Marketing in a Web of Context
Digital development and the information age have brought us increasingly into a social Web, which can be more accurately defined as the semantic Web. The semantic Web is a Web of meaning, not just a Web of data. Google is positioning itself as an answer engine, not just a search engine.
In an older paradigm, the one on which Google was founded back in 1998, search results were matched to keywords. For example, if you searched for “apple computers,” you’d get results that had the most mentions of the keyword “apple computers.” The real genius of Google was the link graph, which helped rank keyword-rich content appropriately. That’s a story for another day.
Back to the semantic Web. The semantic Web attempts to extract context from your search terms and understand the meaning behind the keywords you use. For example if you search for “apple computers” and your mobile device indicates that you’re out shopping, Google may infer that you’re interested in finding Apple computers to purchase. Or if you’re home researching other topics, Google may pick up on that and provide you research-related results for that same search term.
Content Marketing in 2014
The job of a content marketer in 2014 is to provide answers to people’s questions; to understand trends and match them with content; to build relationships with influential people in niche topic areas; and to provide the kind of content that will find people where they are. It means not being a distracting ad that’s quickly ignored.
To be successful with content marketing in 2014, it’s important to build relationships with influencers who can help you amplify your content. Google+ provides a valuable resource for identifying and building relationships with these key people. This won’t happen overnight, but you’ll build your reputation by being genuine and helpful. Along the way, you’ll build the necessary relationships for successful content marketing almost by accident!
Content Marketing Strategy
Once you have the relationships and reach that will help amplify your content, it’s time for your content to be everywhere. Enter your content marketing strategy. Here is a list of content and activities that you can use in your marketing strategy:
- hosting Google+ Hangouts on Air (HOA);
- recording videos (happens automatically with HOAs);
- writing articles;
- commenting on related articles and posts;
- producing Slideshare presentations;
- writing training materials;
- producing tutorials; and
- creating how-to guides.
Many of these activities can be spinoff content from an original source. For example, you can host an HOA on a specific topic that records automatically to YouTube. You then can turn around and write an article based on that YouTube video with little additional effort.
Always Have a Goal for Your Content
All of the activity generated by the above suggestions needs to have a purpose. Each piece of content you create should be focused on a specific goal. Generally speaking, this goal will be a landing page with a clear call to action (CTA) and a desired outcome. This can be anything from purchasing a product or service to simply filling out a contact form.
Success in content marketing for 2014 is multidimensional, has many moving parts and some may consider it to have a fair level of complexity. However, by understanding the moving pieces and putting them into action, individuals and companies alike will find success with content marketing in 2014.
Get in touch with us at We Do Web Content to learn how we can help you achieve your content and Web marketing goals in 2014 – 888-521-3880.