What is Content Marketing?
According to C.C. Chapman it’s photos, words, audio and video – everything you create and share to tell the story of your company or product.
According to Hubspot Academy it’s a strategic marketing and business process 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.
According to Ryan Smith, Director of Growth at Sandbox Apps, Inc. it’s any form of marketing that involves the creation and curation of relevant and valuable content with the purpose of building relationships with your target audience.
It’s creating something that people inherently want to share because it’s helpful and/or entertaining. – Bridget Grogan
*Unlike marketing or advertising, content marketing is the art of communicating with your audience/customers without having to sell to them.
Charmin’s Sit or Squat App (From Lyfe Marketing)
The toilet paper brand created an app for their customers called Sit or Squat. They built a social media campaign around this unique app to get the word out about their products.
The app allows users to check the local toilets around their local area to see if they are clean or not. The idea behind this is that if they are clean, people can feel free to sit, but if they aren’t clean, then they may want to squat. This silly app was the perfect way to connect with customers about a real problem they face that is relevant for the brand to address.
Charmin used their social media channels to promote their Sit or Squat app.
One reason why this app and the resulting campaign is so effective is that it gets people talking. The app idea may seem silly, but it is at its core still useful and relevant to consumers who would be using Charmin’s products. The app itself is also interactive, which allows consumers to take part in the content experience themselves.
You don’t have to have a big brand budget to take something from best content marketing examples like this one. At its heart, this campaign is not about a fancy, fun app. It’s about helping customers solve a problem that they regularly face – dirty toilets. And this is something that every brand can do regardless of budget.
Though you may not have the time or resources to create a specialized app to market your brand, you can create great content that gets to the heart of your target audience’s biggest challenges. By focusing on creating content that highlights and explains these challenges, providing simple and effective solutions, you’ll be on your way to building stronger customer relationships and influencing more conversions.
Native Advertising and Content Marketing Are Not The Same Thing
The official definition for Native Advertising on sharethrough.com is “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”
There are different types of native ads, including those referred to as in-feed units.These native ads are usually identified as ads by words such as “promoted by,” “sponsored by,” “suggested content,” and “advertisement.”
Another type of native ad is the paid search unit. These are typically found above other search results on a search engine. These have been sold with guaranteed placement and appearance. Paid searches have been regulated by the FTC since 2002. The FTC stipulates that paid searches should be disclosed in a manner that explicitly conveys that the search result is advertising. The disclosure must be large and visible enough for consumers to notice it and must be located near the search result it qualifies.
Recommended content is a type of native ad on a website that is not made to look like the editorial content around it. Recommended content ads have a very broad target. As a result, these are placed in webpage spaces that are less strategic than the more target-oriented in-feed ads. These are often identified by words such as “recommended,” “you might also like,” and “you may have missed.”
Promoted content ads are located on sites that do not have homogenous content, such as Amazon and Autotrader. This kind of promoted content is designed to look like the content around it.
It is important to note that the FTC requires bloggers and social media sites to disclose their promotion of products.
How well does native advertising work?
According to Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, it might not work as well as publishers would hope. In an article in Time.com, he said that two-thirds of consumers spend more than 15 seconds of engagement in a typical article but that number drops to about one-third of consumers when it comes to native advertising.
But it is profitable and is growing. According to Facebook’s Audience Network blog, recent research shows nearly two-thirds (63.2%) of all mobile display ads will be native by 2020, summoning $53 billion in total advertiser spend. That’s not a bad haul.
In a nutshell:
If you pay for placement, it’s advertising.
If you pay for placement of valuable, relevant content in a format similar to the third-party site, it’s native advertising.
If you don’t pay for placement, the content is not advertising.
If that content is valuable and relevant, designed to attract a clearly-defined audience, and posted on your own or other unpaid platform, it’s content marketing.
This Carly Rae Jepsen/Lil Yachty music video aired during the Grammy Awards a couple of years ago:
Is this content marketing or native advertising?
Content Marketing Done Well
Red Bull stands out as an example of a leading content marketing brand. The company has taken the “brand as publisher” model to a whole new level.
According to NewsCred, Red Bull has created a totally separate division of the company focused on making amazing content, Red Bull Media House, with the goal of becoming a profitable enterprise on its own.
The Red Bulletin is an international online and print magazine that features breathtaking stories from the world of Red Bull and its playgrounds. It has a distribution of more than five million.
Red Bull spent $2 million making a movie called The Art of Flight
Red Bull sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s famous world record freefall from space.
Red Bull is on Twitter, Facebook with several pages, Instagram, and more.
The Power of Storytelling
Why are stories important?
Google receives more than 3.8 million search queries per minute.
About 4,000 blogposts are published per minute.
Facebook user share 2.5 million pieces of content per minute.
YouTube users upload 400 hours of new video content every minute.
Twitter users publish 350,000 tweets per minute.
Instagram users post more than 200,000 new photos per minute.
That’s a lot of competition!
So tell stories…
Stories help the audience make sense of decisions they’re going to make.
Stories can change the way your audience members think and feel.
Stories are how audiences remember. (Logic and facts rarely get remembered. Emotion gets remembered. And emotion gets shared.)
Storytelling has three essential elements – characters, conflict and resolution.
Characters: Stories can be told from the first-person, second-person, or third-person point of view. There is no right or wrong approach.
Conflict: The conflict is lesson about how the character changes through the challenge. The conflict should drive the overall story, affect how the characters react and inspire your audience to engage. Make sure the conflict fits your audience’s problems.
Resolution: How does the story end and how do the characters change? The resolution wraps up the story and calls your audience to action.
Start With Why
According to author and ex-advertising executive Simon Sinek, people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
The Golden Circle
Most marketers are terrible at content creation because the “why” is about driving demand and selling more widgets. – Joe Pulizzi