Content Marketing

Content marketing, defined

People mean different things when they use the term “content marketing.” We’ve gotten into some serious discussions about exactly what it means. Just so you know what we’re talking about when we say content marketing, here’s how we define it:

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of journalistic, helpful, audience-focused material that creates a tighter connection with your customers.

Okay, now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about why your organization should embrace content marketing. Buying behavior, whether B2B or B2C, has changed dramatically in recent years. Now, the buyer’s journey is completely different.

The Buyer’s Journey

Today, the customer is in control of the path to purchase. Buying is social, self-directed, trust-based and transparent. The first thing a brand must do is acknowledge that the journey is self-directed by the buyer. The customer is in charge of this journey – she determines the pace, the path and what influences the twists and turns of the journey.

Organizations should serve as a guide along this path, providing direction and insight. The job is to nurture the relationship, focusing on the long-term rather than the quick sale.

Here’s how we map the Buyer’s Journey:

The-Buyers-Journey

The Content Marketing Mindset

This new buyer’s journey means that, if you’re going to do content marketing right, you can’t be all up in your customers’ business. You need to give them space. That means losing that old marketing muscle memory and stop pushing your product so hard.

Yes, it’s a contradiction: The best way to sell is to stop selling.

A content marketing mindset requires understanding that the best way to sell is to back off those pushy sales messages and allow the prospect to educate herself at her own pace. After all, that’s what she’s going to do anyway. If you’re a Helicopter Marketer, she’ll shut you down and move onto your competitor.

Adopting the content marketing mindset is about taking the long view. It requires that you understand that the relationship with your customers involves give and take, and your company needs to give before it tries to take.