Advertising needs attention, and attention needs content. Without content, there would be no ads. But what is content marketing? It is nothing but creating valuable content to generate awareness around your products. The aim is to inspire, entertain and/or educate people to earn their trust so that they eventually become customers.
Why Content Marketing?
Advertising started because brands didn’t produce content; instead, they would leverage publications such as newspapers and radio channels to spread awareness about their products.
Today, with the power of social media, every brand can become a publisher. The internet has levelled the playing field. When you can get attention to your brand with quality content and marketing, there is no need for traditional advertising. You can advertise your content instead of directly promoting your products.
Let’s face the facts. All of us get irritated with ads. We either skip them or flit between channels when the ads come. This has led to a decline in mainstream ads. No longer do we click on banner ads, and we also have ad blocks on the internet. We even pay for OTT platforms so that we do not have to sit through ads anymore. We consume content because we want to; we do not want disruptive ads in our way.
Examples of Content Marketing
One of the most extensive examples of content marketing is affiliate marketing. Taking the example of an affiliate marketer for a mobile phone company, he/she will commonly write content in the form of reviews, comparisons, etc. You also will visit that site only if you are interested in buying a phone from that particular company. The affiliates use their content to give you information about the phone and persuade you to buy the phone using their affiliate link. They will not straight up tell you ‘buy this phone, here is the link.’ You, yourself, would never buy a phone without weighing the pros and cons. This is why content marketing is more important as opposed to just advertising a product.
Another example of content marketing is LEGO. Instead of advertising their building blocks everywhere, they chose to generate buzz using their content. They have made numerous LEGO movies and comics for children, which makes every child want to own an action figure and use the blocks to create a scene from that movie. This content marketing strategy has definitely worked wonders for them because who doesn’t know LEGO?
One more great example of content marketing is none other than TED. TED Talks are the most sought after form of video content. They bring on the most engaging speakers across the globe to provide value for anyone to watch. This content marketing strategy of finding and creating the best content has made them a global sensation. Everyone wants to have their own TED talk. This just goes to show how valuable free content can be to build a brand!
The Power of Personal Branding
The best known will always beat the best. It’s not good enough to just be good at something; people should know you are good at it too.
Personal branding is the process of presenting yourself to the world and showing them all that you are and what you stand for. It is constant engagement with your tribe to build trust, credibility and a relationship with your audience. This cannot happen overnight; it is a journey.
When people see your journey, they get inspired and want to be like you. They will even take you more seriously because they trust you and connect with you through your personal brand.
People want to listen to people and not logos. Personal brands are far more relatable as you are constantly engaging with the person directly, not a company. If we look by example, on a global scale, Elon Musk has a much stronger following as compared to Tesla or SpaceEx. In fact, SpaceEx got immediate recognition because it was another company started by Elon Musk, who people know and trust!
We see the same with our Indian Celebrities as well. ‘Being Human’ gets its name and fame primarily because it’s an organisation that is founded by Salman Khan, whom we all know has a huge following.
A solid online presence helps you establish an influence in your niche, which helps build credibility. For example, if I regularly post about digital marketing, you will believe that I know it. If I then go further as to show you reviews of people I have worked with, you will believe them. In this way, I have controlled the narrative, have shown you my skills and tomorrow, you might consider getting your digital marketing done by me! This is the power of personal branding.
For a detailed understanding of personal branding, you can have a look at my other article, What is Personal Branding and Why Should You Care?
The Content Marketing Break Down
To get attention, you publish content which you distribute in proper ways across channels. Because people come to your original content, it also creates brand awareness for you as the engagement goes up. This leads to sales which lead to profit. In other words, there are three main stages of content marketing; Attracting, Capturing and Converting.
Attracting: The Hook
Your audience needs to know you exist. You need to attract their attention to build awareness. SEO is the best way to do this, but in this competitive world, it is not enough. Social media is another excellent way to attract your audience. People use social media for entertainment and information on a regular basis; if you can provide that, then you can leverage the platforms’ pre-existing database to showcase your brand and keep your audience hooked!
Capturing: The Line
Once your audience is aware of your existence, they are going to consider buying from you. Longform content such as Ebooks, newsletters, etc., plays a huge role in gaining the trust of your audience. You use your content to guide your audience towards investing in you. If they put in their precious time to go through your content, then they most certainly will consider buying your product. This is, therefore, the most crucial stage that can make or break your sale.
Converting: The Sinker
The only stage that is out of your control is this decision stage. You have made them aware of your product, they are familiar with what your business stands for, and you have guided them towards putting their trust in you. Now it is either deal or no deal. The ‘Sinker’ here is your call to action (CTA). Every piece of content must have a call to action in it. Whether you ask people to subscribe, visit your website, watch your video, ask people to comment or even fill up their details in a lead generation form, it is up to you.
This content marketing strategy of ‘Hook-Line and Sinker’ gives you content assets, builds trust, and, most importantly, gets you long-term growth!
Content Marketing and Paid Advertising
Content marketing is a form of Inbound Marketing, while paid advertising is a form of Outbound Marketing. Inbound marketing is a form of marketing where you put out valuable content, and your audience comes to you. Outbound Marketing is where you reach out to your audience and say, “Hey! I exist.” While Inbound Marketing is the ideal way to go, but it is easier said than done.
As discussed above, the first step is your attraction stage. To attract someone, you first need to show them your content, but how do you reach out to them? For new businesses, SEO and social media can only take you so far. You can give your content a boost and drive traffic using the help of paid ads.
Even creating an ad is a form of content! You have to target your audience to the minutest of detail, entice them with your visuals, engage them with your ad copy and most importantly, sink them with your call to action!
For a detailed guide, you can check out my post How to Create Facebook Ads in 7 Easy Steps
CATT Marketing Framework
According to this framework, Wealth = n^CATT
n = Niche: Solve your audience’s problems with your product. For this, you need to have a specific target audience, and an added bonus would be to have a customer/ buyer persona so that you know your customers inside out.
C = Content: Your asset for attracting people and converting them into your tribe. This includes your website, blog posts, videos, lead magnets, live webinars, etc.
A = Attention: As discussed above, this is when you drive attention or traffic to your content using SEO, social media, paid ads and/ or referrals.
T = Trust: Build trust with tripwires such as freebies like ebooks, marketing automation like email marketing and newsletters, deep marketing and retargeting. Remember, the more they see you, the more they remember you.
T = Transaction: Convert your leads into customers with a natural sales method. You don’t need to push it with cold outreach techniques; it should happen naturally using your call to action.
Content marketing has its backbone in you creating valuable content for your target audience. This, therefore, cannot be a linear process; it must be a dynamic one. You cannot be happy with just one kind of content; you need to be out there, everywhere. As soon as your content gets attention, your SEO rank will go up. This momentum will, in turn, boost trust and will then lead to a sale. Therefore the engine that drives the CATT marketing framework is nothing but integrated digital marketing.
This is why content marketing should be the centre of your digital marketing strategy.
To sum up, traditional advertising is becoming lesser and lesser viable in our digital lives of ‘skip’ and ‘block’ ads. Content marketing is the best way to promote your product/services using the power of personal branding. To aid in our conquest to gain traction, we can leverage social media platforms for their existing database and run paid ads. Once we have hooked our audience, we can then use our line to guide them towards our products or services, and last but not least, we sink them with a call to action!
What is content marketing?
The process of creating valuable content to generate awareness around your products. This is made easier using the power of a personal brand and paid ads to promote the content. The aim is to inspire, entertain and/or educate people to earn their trust so that they eventually become customers.
What are the stages of content marketing?
There are three main stages of content marketing;
1. Attracting (the hook)- Your audience needs to know you exist. You need to attract their attention to build awareness.
2. Capturing (the line)- Once your audience is aware of your existence, they are going to consider buying from you. You use your content to guide your audience towards investing in you.
3. Converting (the sinker)- here is your call to action (CTA). This content marketing strategy of ‘Hook-Line and Sinker’ gives you content assets, builds trust, and, most importantly, gets you long-term growth!
Why personal branding for content marketing?
Personal branding is the process of presenting yourself to the world and showing them all that you are and what you stand for. It is constant engagement with your tribe to build trust, credibility and a relationship with your audience. Through this you will form your tribe who will trust you enough to buy your products/services.
I hope that makes content marketing clear!
Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!