Content marketing is a narrative form of marketing focused on consumers' needs while telling a story. Without being a thinly disguised promotion or advertisement, its conversational, human voice gently persuades prospects and helps buyers and the public provide consumers with useful information to aid purchase decisions, improve product usage, and entertain them.
Think content marketing doesn't matter? Then, look at Man of the House, Celebrations, and Amazon to see how different companies, namely P&G, 1-800-Flowers, and Amazon, support their brands and products while driving sales.
To maximize its effectiveness, develop your marketing plans around the four pillars of content marketing: context, channels, connections, and commerce. (Here's help for keeping your content marketing on track.)
Context. Provides the basis for branding and message relevance. It draws prospects in and engages them.
Channel. Distributes messages one-to-many, one-to-one, and many-to-many.
Connections. By its nature, content marketing engages prospects, buyers, and others. Marketers' goals are to encourage engagement and build relationships over time. Of course, it's critical to respond and keep the conversation going.
Commerce. Supports sales at every step of the buying process. Content marketing effectively answers prospects' and buyers' questions about your offering in a variety of formats because they don't trust advertising.
By integrating the four pillars of content into your overall marketing, you can attract prospects to your offering, build a relationship with them, and persuade them to purchase. Used effectively with an appropriate call-to-action and unique tracking code, content marketing delivers measurable bottom line results. As a result, content metrics can be more easily tracked.
Is there anything else that you'd add to these four pillars of content marketing? Alternatively, is there anything that you'd change? If so, what would it be?
This column was originally published on January 23, 2012 on ClickZ.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.
Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.
March 19, 2014