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What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is another buzzword in the long line of digital marketing buzzwords. So, what does it mean? Content Marketing Institute has one of the best definitions…

“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.”

Chances are you’re probably doing some of this. Most businesses today have a website, some have a presence on social media channels, and some even have a blog (or two). Let’s break this content marketing definition down a bit…

  • Valuable and relevant content – Blog posts, video, podcasts, eBooks, white papers, etc.
  • Attract and retain – make a connection that has value to them and you
  • Clearly defined audience – your ideal client
  • Driving profitable customer action – achieving your goals met, be they monetary or otherwise

At Wood Street, we’ve created lots of websites with blogs, and have worked with many of our clients to help them integrate social media marketing with their website marketing strategy. This is all important and useful.

If you’re doing some or all of these things, good for you! But, is your business getting the most it can out of all of this content? Do all elements of the definition above apply to your content marketing efforts?

Fluid Content Marketing

Content marketing should be fluid. Before I expand on that, let’s take a look at what the word “fluid” really means. According to Merriam-Webster, fluid means…

1a: having particles that easily move and change their relative position without a separation of the mass and that easily yield to pressure : capable of flowing

1b: subject to change or movement <boundaries became fluid>

2: characterized by or employing a smooth easy style <the ballerina’s fluid movements> <fluid recitation of his lines>

When you think of your content, do words like move or change come to mind? Is your content capable of flowing? Does your content have a smooth easy style? It should.

Your content marketing should reach your potential clients with valuable content where they’re looking for it. And do this with the intent of driving them to some sort of movement. Action.

Fluid content can live anywhere. An idea on Twitter can lead to a blog post. A blog post can be shared on your Facebook page and then expanded into an eBook or a YouTube Video or SlideShare presentation – all working towards a common goal: allowing an idea to change position without a separation of the mass.

In order to have a fluid content marketing strategy, you must accept the fact that you’re aiming at a fast moving target. Your audience, more than ever before, is on the move – blogs –> websites –> YouTube –> mobile…

Content Marketing Audience

You need to know who you’re marketing to. What are your buyer personas? What do these people look like? What are their hopes and dreams? Ok, a bit far, but you see what I mean.

Let’s say you run a local chapter of the Humane Society. You know your target audience is made up of people concerned about animals who are looking to adopt a pet or looking to care for the pets they have.

Content Your Audience Wants and Needs

What content is going to help them achieve their goals when it comes to their pets? Blog posts about pet care? Sure. Video about animals? Of course. A white paper on the endocrine system of a parrot? Maybe, but that’s one you need to work up to.

The white paper example is important to look at. A white paper can be an important part of your content marketing efforts. But, can you post a technical white paper and expect hoards of pet enthusiasts to flock to it? No, of course not.

Your content marketing is an organism made up of many parts working together as one. Our parrot example could have many parts. Sure, you have the white paper about the endocrine system of the parrot. But, this would be considered “in the weeds” and not the first place someone with a parrot issue would necessarily look.

They’re going to look for quicker answers to their questions. Answers contained in blog posts, a video showing what a parrot experiencing pain looks like or a podcast interview with a parrot specialist talking about a parrot in pain – all placed on the society blog and then shared.

Content that Gets Shared

These concerned parrot owners are going to ask their Facebook friends or Twitter followers for resources on pet bird ailments. They might search through YouTube for helpful parrot care videos. Is your content marketing fluid enough to reach all of these places?

content-marketing-hub

As you can see in the graphic above, all of this should lead back to your website and blog, where you have strategically placed, targeted calls to action. For a local humane society, this could be a callout to signup for an upcoming workshop, or a button to donate online.

As you can see, there isn’t one line with a beginning and an end. Content marketing is not linear. It’s fluid. It moves and transforms itself so that it can be where it needs to be when it needs to be there.

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Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

6 Responses to “Is Your Content Marketing Fluid?
  • Jon,

    Great post on fluid content. I think what you talk about here is what I have called the “tie-in”. I think you phrase it much better than I did though. I think small business owners (some, not all) struggle with understanding what to do with a blog, or twitter or facebook. They go to an informational event and hear someone say “you have to have Twitter” or “You have got to be on Facebook”. They come away from that repeating the mantra but they have no idea why or how. They spend months posting things on Twitter but get frustrated by either the lack of feedback or by the lack of return. They key you talk about here is giving them the “action”. The action can be as simple as saying “please RT this” or bigger like “buy this now”. You have to build the path that you want your customers to follow. Direct them towards the goal (which is the sale). Just some thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Brad

    Reply
  • Hi Jon,

    I feel if you can connect your content marketing to a specific metric, then it’s easier to get funding for other projects and also demonstrate its value.

    Ivan

    Reply
    • I agree with that but you can do this while keeping your methods fluid. That is the beauty of the web.

      Reply
  • Interesting how I found your blog via your twitter account (perfect example of fluidity)! You’re right, all of this information needs to be relevant not only on our websites but our social media as well. It builds a sense of trust to a potential client. Good post.

    Reply
  • Hi Jon…thanks for the shout out on our definition.

    I would also say that print and in-person events are critical to your main point. With all the attention on the online channels, sometimes we forget that the more traditional channels can still work depending on the business objectives of the content marketing initiative.

    Keep spreading the word.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. In person connections are still super important and the materials that back up any connection are crucial. Thanks for bringing this up and thank for the comment!

      Reply

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