What is content marketing?

Explaining content marketing and why it's important for your business

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The bones of content marketing

Content marketing, put simply, is the creation and distribution of certain content to a certain audience. It can include social media, video, pictures, blogs and storytelling. The end goal is to promote brand loyalty and win customer sales. Content marketing elevates brand awareness by capturing audiences’ interest in a brand’s products or services, without directly pushing a sale. We sum it up in this short video.

A fascinating example is Michelin tyres, who founded the Michelin Guide in 1900. They wanted to encourage motorists to travel, and what better reason than for great food? The restaurant and hotel guide not only promoted car travel,  but made their brand more appealing by creating a link to luxury dining and honest reviews. They increased mileage to the hotels and restaurants they recommended, increasing their tyre sales too. 


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Why use it? 
It can be a powerful tool to turn strangers into customers, if used skilfully. Businesses are waking up to how effective a content marketing strategy can be. Unlike more straightforward sales-focused marketing, it doesn’t set customers on the defensive by provoking the reaction to spam that we are all familiar with. We click through our inbox or scroll down our screens, deleting or ignoring the content we feel bombarded with. Most of it is unsolicited and unwanted, a contrast to the feeling of control we have when we come across a piece of quality content marketing that we have actively looked for. 

Well-produced content should be relevant, consistent and worthy of people’s attention. Quality content, over time, establishes your brand voice as an authority in your field and increases your credibility. Neptune kitchens does this well. The email newsletter is easy on the eye and links to ‘how to’ tutorials, customer case studies and charity events they have organised. Their blog posts or journals don’t directly drive sales, but generate interest around the brand and trust in their values. 

We are much more receptive to brand information if it is disguised in interesting content. Neptune send out a quarterly magazine, printed on luxurious heavy stock, full of recipes and interiors inspiration, which really creates an opulent feel for the brand, and makes it clear where they pitch themselves in the market. 


Always the host? Meet Chichester, one of the eight dining table designs in our collection that can extend for when the whole family comes to lunch. #neptunehome #thehappyhome #designisinthedetails #interiors_and_living
A post shared by Neptune (@neptunehomeofficial) on Mar 30, 2018 at 1:00am PDT


Know your audience
Content marketing brings people on board if your product is what they are looking for, and doesn’t try to appeal to everyone. Good content marketing is finely tuned to go after a specific audience, aims to gather a tribe and keep them close.

If the content is interesting, engaging and well-pitched, the reader should take time to properly digest the material and look forward to the next dose of your content.  

An example of this is the ‘share your label’ campaign we ran for our client “GB Labels”. In it we asked people to send pictures of the labels they’d ordered - on social media channels, in the weekly newsletters and on a postcard in the parcel of labels. Customers love to see other happy customers. Running this campaign showed the versatility of the labels, created trust in the brand and engaged existing customers, not to mention getting people to market the product to new customers for free. Smart. 


Stunning snap by @siberina.child 🌿✨What are you working on today? #ShareYourLabel
A post shared by GB Labels (@gblabels) on Feb 20, 2018 at 8:19am PST


No hard sell 
Content marketing helps people solve problems they have and can be used to educate them about a product or service. Prospective customers find content marketing through search results and if they find the content useful and relevant, the beginnings of a relationship have been fostered between customer and brand. 

Good content marketing introduces customers to products and services without overtly selling to them. It engages customers and they can get a feel for the brand and what it offers before they even explore making a purchase. Trust has been established because the brand has been helpful and they are already invested by the time they decide to buy, making sales easier. At its best, good content turns customers into evangelists for your brand.


Formats of content marketing 

Although the majority of content marketing happens online, content offline also plays a role. Printed materials can be powerful as a tactile medium for customers, especially if a business can produce good visual content around their products. 


Video is booming- Forbes predict that by next year, video marketing will account for eighty per cent of online content. Video can be evocative and emotive and feels relatable to consumers. Ephemeral content- with a short lifespan and powerful message like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat ‘stories’  instantly engages your customers. Creating these short snappy videos can have a massive impact, and it’s free. Everybody’s doing it and it is a versatile and profitable marketing tool. 


Infographics can be really powerful, as they provide information in a novel format, to change things up as we are reading. Our attention spans are short, so a visual is good to capture our attention before we scroll away. Ninety per cent of information transmitted to the brain is from a visual source  and we can absorb it rapidly. 


Podcasts are becoming increasingly used as a content marketing strategy. This form of content is convenient to consume, and is relatively quick and cheap to produce. Your potential customers are searching for podcasts in the same way they use a search engine. If your podcast is relevant to them and they find your content compelling, they could be acquired as a customer. Our blog post: Why you should record your own podcast  explores in more detail the valuable content marketing opportunity that podcasts present. They quite literally get your brand voice across. 


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Social 
Social content should be optimised to fit in with the rest of your content strategy for maximum impact. Depending on your objective, social platforms can be used to publish content to sell products, or to build your brand profile. Posts on social can also be used for SEO optimisation, where keywords are used. 

SEO generation
Successful content marketing via web pages generates inbound links which naturally boots SEO, making your website more visible to the group you want to target. Good writing and captivating headlines are important, but adding value is paramount. Building an interesting online presence will attract attention, create traffic and organically build sales. 

At Crocstar, we know how to spin a yarn to draw in your target audience and keep them interested. We are expert at building that trust between you and your customers. 

Get in touch with us, we can produce some crafty content for you, to boost your business and tell your story.