Content Marketing is something that I’m sure you’ve heard of, but what is this stuff that everyone is so keen to stay that they produce?

In fact, in marketing circles, in the online world and well beyond, it seems like you can’t stop people from talking about their “content.”

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

This is the definition supplied by the Content Marketing Institute™  a US based organisation. They go on to say that;

“Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

I thought that these definitions were pretty widely known and accepted but I was wrong.

In a recent discussion with marketing people from small and medium sized businesses I realised that there was some confusion amongst them about how to use content marketing to build sales.

More importantly, some of their beliefs would kill sales if they pursued the views they expressed.

Certain myths were stated as facts by one or more of the group. The most dangerous myths I heard are listed here.

  1. Content Marketing is more like PR rather than sales. No it’s not. It’s actually a very powerful sales tool if used well.
  1. This form of marketing is more about alerting people that you exist. No…..You can and should look for ways to generate direct response from the content that you produce. See the next myth.
  1. That there is no direct contact response mechanism when you use content marketing. There definitely can be if you design this into your marketing.
  1. That content marketing is just about video. Er, what about white papers, reports, blog posts, infographics, speaking at conferences and a host of other routes to market?
  1. That this is a wishy washy form of sales. No it isn’t but you may have to change your boss’s mind on this point.

Show him or her that you can build-in calls to action all through your content process.

  1. That you have to be operating in the tech sector or a fast moving market to engage in content marketing. Yes, tech companies are often producing excellent examples and results - borrow some of their ideas but also look at businesses like Virgin, Marriott Hotels and US-based accountancy firm Crowe Horwath.

They used content marketing specifically to reach and influence financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets (source Single Grain).

  1. That spending money on Google Adwords will deliver better results. Not necessarily, around 200 million people worldwide now use ad blockers. Relevance and de-cluttering are of growing importance to more and more of the people that you want to do business with.
  1. That a blog is all of the content that a business needs. Well it would be a great start, especially if the blog was updated regularly as was used as one element in a connected marketing plan. Too often though blog updates are irregular and don’t link to other sales-building initiatives like email marketing.
  1. Content Marketing is all about Spin. No it’s not and this will definitely kill your sales if you produce content that is not factually correct and accurate. No fake news people!
  1. That you must always have “news” for your content to be read or consumed. No that isn’t true either. And don’t you just get fed-up seeing more bland news stories about contracts won, stands built, shows opened…. Yes. Those messages have their place but for big sales growth you will need to be a bit more imaginative with the content and stories that you produce.

These are just some things to think about especially at this time of year when many business owners and managers are thinking about their marketing plans for the next 12 months.

This is an area in which I specialise, so if you need help in getting a cracking marketing plan that makes the most of the content in your business, do get in touch. You will find our contact details in the ESSA Members Directory. 

Also, and for an excellent analysis on the misuse of content marketing, read this article: “Journalism Is Dying and Content Marketing Is Taking Its Place (I Know Because I Do Both).”

It’s written by Tamara Pearson and you can link to her article here.

  1. And for even more on Content Marketing read this post in Exhibitors Only.

 David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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