Why Content Will Always Be King (When It's Not a Royal Pain)

"Content marketing" isn't just another trendy buzzword to throw around in conversation at your next conference. It's a method of connecting with your audience that has been around for decades. However, with the changes in how people access and process information, content marketing has evolved tremendously since its emergence from the editorial and advertising scenes.

Jason Skinner, Chief Marketing Officer for True North Custom, can attest to this. His company was started in the late 80s when the founder was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article highlighted the emerging marketing method that was starting to "blur the lines" between advertising and content. Since then, the company has devoted its attention to providing content marketing related solutions from strategy to direct mail services.

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So what exactly is "content marketing"? Peter Drucker, a renowned business management consultant, addresses its definition by speaking to the purpose of marketing:

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him/her and sells itself.

With content marketing, the information surrounding the product or service then essential leads to a buy-in. It sounds like the secret recipe to success, doesn't it? However, according to the Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of marketers feel their content marketing tactics are effective. The root of this problem goes back to perhaps the most important portion of the Drucker quote: "know and understand the customer so well". Without truly knowing your audience as opposed to just assuming (which mothers have taught us not to do), any marketing initiative is subject to failure.

In order to gain the competitive edge, Skinner has a few suggestions:

  • Follow the Leader(s) | Amazon, Google and even the Cleveland Clinic are prime examples of companies who are doing it right. Get ideas from organizations like these on how they are adding value to their customer experience.
  • Zoom In | By getting close with and to your customers, you get to know their culture and what they want a lot easier. What makes them laugh? What are they always searching? What are they passionate about?
  • Correlate Your Content | Map the content you create directly to your audience's needs, interests, and stage in the customer journey, especially if you're boosting any of the content as paid advertising.
  • Strategize | If content is king, promotion is prince. Content is not going to give your marketing the momentum you need without putting it in the hands of your customers, prospects, event attendees, employees, etc.
  • Test Your Tools | Not all content marketing options are going to be right for your message or your audience. Test tools based on the information you gather and adjust accordingly! If you're blog isn't driving revenue, either improve your promotion tactics.

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