Content Marketing

Content marketing, defined

This might be weird coming from a group you’d consider to be content marketers, but we have a love/hate relationship with the term “content marketing.” It’s kind of a phrase that says nothing, and that has led to a lot of people using the term but meaning different things.

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. And that reason is reality: Buying behavior, whether B2B or B2C, has changed dramatically in recent years.

The Buyer’s Journey

Let’s start with this: Today, the customer is in control of the path to purchase. Buying is social, self-directed, trust-based and transparent. The customer determines the pace, the path and what influences the twists and turns of the journey.

So if the customer is the hero of the story, what’s your brand’s role? You’re the guide, the Obi-Wan Kenobi that helps them discover what they’re looking for. By providing direction and insight, you help the customer towards her goal, building trust all the while.

Here’s how we map this buyer’s journey:


The Content Marketing Mindset

This new buyer’s journey means that, if we’re going to do content marketing right, we need to give the customer some breathing room. That means lose that old marketing muscle memory and stop pushing the product so hard.

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

That’s the content marketing mindset. It’s kinda Zen. 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. You need to understand that there’s give and take here. And your company needs to give before it tries to take.