What do you get when you combine Jell-O, Doritos, and Spiderman? Three things. Billions of dollars spent on marketing, some fine content, and a tasty snack. Huge companies like these have the people and resources to experiment. And even if there’s little impact, it barely makes a dent in their profits.
Content Marketing Definition
To give you a straight forward content marketing meaning – its a process of creating and posting relevant information that will target the right audience and make them support you and drive traffic to your brand.
What is Content Marketing in Digital Marketing
For people like you and I, we probably can’t afford a Super Bowl commercial or make a blockbuster film. But it doesn’t mean you can’t create impactful content marketing campaigns. Content marketing strategy include more than just blogging or creating videos for YouTube.
According to CMI, 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.
Let’s break these down into some key points. You need to create content and distribute it. In terms of content attributes, it should be valuable, relevant, and consistent. On top of that, you should know exactly who you’re targeting so you can attract and retain them.
Most importantly, the content should drive profitable customer action. Now, content marketing isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for centuries. Pay attention while you read below, this article is more of a quick content marketing course.
For example, in 1904, a relatively unknown brand, named Jell-O, created their first recipe book. And of course, the main ingredient for every recipe was their jelly product, making their content relevant to their business. They went door-to-door distributing free copies and this contributed to over a million dollars in sales by 1906. With inflation, that’s nearly 30 million dollars today. This was one of the earliest content marketing strategy.
In 1964, Hasbro created a line of military-themed dolls and action figures called G.I. Joe. The toy didn’t do so well and was eventually discontinued in 1978. Then in 1982, Hasbro partnered with Marvel creating a new series of comic books, called “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” which brought the action figures back to life. When high-quality content and stories integrate your products, it influences purchasing decisions. And that’s content marketing in a box.
But successful digital marketing content ideas for your business doesn’t exactly fit in a box. There are different types of content marketing strategies. Every business is unique and there are other external factors that can impact your campaigns. So to heighten your chances of executing a successful content marketing strategy you can use a 4-prong strategy that I call – the elements of effective content promotion.
The CART Formula
C is for content. The content requires you to think of a topic and format you’ll use. For example, will it be a blog post, video, commercial, infographic, or whatever? This is the basic for a content marketing strategy.
A is for the audience. Having a clearly defined audience is going to help you refine that format as well as your distribution strategy. For example, a personal finance guide would likely resonate with married couples, aged 25 and older. Probably not as much for teenagers that are still dependent on their parents.
R is for relevance. Content marketing isn’t about virality. It’s about driving profitable customer action. So keeping your content relevant to your products will ensure it’s serving your business.
Finally is Timing. Being in the right place at the right time can increase your chances of success. Generally speaking, the more criteria it fits, the better your campaign will do. This helps to complete the content marketing strategy.
For example, a CART is better than just a CAR. Let’s look at a few examples of companies doing content marketing that I don’t think we’re crazy expensive to execute. I’ll break them down through my lens, and give you ideas on how you can replicate them.
The first example is a YouTube series called “Will it Blend.”
This series was a wildly successful brand campaign where Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec, was able to showcase the power of his blender. The content was simple, yet brilliant. Create videos of putting random objects into a blender, and see if it’ll blend to dust. They took the boring topic of blending and made it exciting.
The videos entice curiosity, disbelief, and a lot of dust. And it’s pretty clear that they nailed relevance. Their product is the star of the show. And without it, the videos wouldn’t have had the effect they did.
The place where they fell short in my opinion was the audience aspect. If you look at their YouTube videos, you’ll see that there “will it blend” videos all have a crazy number of views. But then they tried creating helpful recipe tutorials to go after a more relevant audience. And you’ll see that they barely got viewed in comparison.
Their current audience isn’t there to learn recipes. They’ve subscribed to watch them destroy things. As for timing, blending is an evergreen topic. But they’ve done something clever to leverage timing.
You’ll see here that the iPhone 6 Plus was released on September 19, 2014. 4 days later, they blended it.
Amazon Prime Day was on July 16, 2018. So to “celebrate,” they blended an AmazonEcho just 3 days before.
While the novelty of blending objects has clearly died down, you’ll see the number of searches for the brand itself stayed strong for quite a while after.
Content Marketing Examples
Let’s move on to a more repeatable example, and that’s Superdrug’s “Perceptions of Perfection” campaign. Superdrug is a company that sells health, beauty, and skincare products. In June 2015, they launched their “Perceptions of Perfection” campaign. One of the most brilliant content marketing strategy.
Their content was actually crowd-sourced. They asked female graphic designers from 18 different countries to retouch a photo of a woman to “make her more attractive.” As you can see, cultural perceptions of “beauty” were quite different depending on the culture. And that was their point. Beauty can’t be judged objectively.
The topic was controversial, personal, and emotional. To me, it seems like they were targeting women around the same age as the person used in the photo. And with 18 perceptions of beauty, I’m sure they were able to impact a diverse audience. Relevance was there too because the campaign attracts its target demographic and builds both brand awareness and trust.
And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This was right around the time that the body positivity movement was gaining traction. And it only continued to explode since then. This campaign has racked up over 837 links from unique websites and over 34,000 social shares. But this campaign wasn’t completely unique – a well built content marketing strategy though.
About a year before, a freelance journalist sent an unaltered photo of herself to 40 photoshop experts from around the world. It blew up and she was featured in numerous large publications and also gave a TEDx talk on her experiment. So let’s talk about finding replicable topics you can apply to your content marketing.
Tasty’s Youtube Content Marketing Strategy
The next content marketing example is from Tasty’ s YouTube channel. Tasty is a YouTube channel with recipes and other food-related content run by Buzzfeed. And I’m sure you’ve seen their creatives on either YouTube or Facebook at some point. They popularized this super-simple format of video recipes done in just a couple of minutes.
And the audience they hit hard as anyone who cooks at home, specifically busy moms and dads that want to make something easy and delicious fast. Buzzfeed monetizes through several channels like branded content, ads, and affiliate commissions. So relevance, in this case, comes down to creating interesting videos people want to watch and then have those people share them so they can get more ad impressions. With good content you need a good content marketing strategy.
Something I really like about the TastyYouTube channel is that they don’t clickbait you into their videos. In fact, a good portion of their most popular videos is clearly targeting keywords like, “how to cook perfect eggs every time.” “how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies,” and “how to cook with cast iron,” which all get searched on a regular basis. This allows them to get consistent traffic to these videos since they’re evergreen topics.
Their videos on YouTube alone have racked up over three and a half billion views. Plus, they’re getting millions of new views every day and about 100,000 subscribers every week to week and a half. Now, Tasty’ s success on YouTube comes down to three things: They publish great content consistently. They use eye-catching thumbnails. And they use a unique video format that serves a need in a timely manner.
So something that I love about their strategy is that they started off by targeting keywords that get searched. And now that they have a targeted audience of around 16.6 million foodies, they can create new types of content like this series on making really big food.
Cars.com And Their Content Marketing Strategy
The next example is an Auto Loan Calculator by cars.com. Cars.com is a website that connects sellers with buyers. They created a simple auto loan calculator, which has collected over 18,000 backlinks from over 570 unique websites. And this has helped them rank for competitive keywords in Google like “car payment calculator,” “car loan calculator,” and “auto loan calculator, “which collectively bring in over a hundred thousand visits from Google each month.
Their content is a tool. It calculates car payments over the life of your loan. Just fill in the form like so, and you’ll see your estimated monthly payment amounts. Now, the best part about this calculator is that it’s super-relevant to their business. If you scroll down a touch, you’ll see a heading that says, “Search for Cars by Price Up to…” and whatever value you entered. Then enter your zip code, click the search button, and it’ll take you to their listings of available cars.
And just like that, they’ve turned search visitors into potential buyers. The timing here is two-fold. First, the topic of car loans is evergreen. People are always in the market for a car. And naturally, cars are pretty expensive, so most will have to get a loan. But since most people are likely finding this page through search engines, it adds an additional layer to timing.
They’re reaching potential buyers right in the exact moments that they’ve searched for keywords like “car loan calculator.” Someone searching for that is likely in the process of buying a car or seeing how much car they can afford. Tools are a great way to help potential buyers. And since they’re already on your site, you have the opportunity to control the experience that comes after. A great way to find tools that are worth creating is to search in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer for broad keywords related to your niche.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend just recreating the exact same tool as everyone else. Instead, look for issues with the current results and see how you can improve the experience for users. And if you hope to get discovered through search engines, you’ll need to get backlinks to that page so you can rank high.
To do this, I recommend reading this article – 9 Things You Should Know About Content Marketing to get you a better strategy in place. Feel free to reach out on any of my social media channels or the contact page and I’ll be there to help.
I also recommend the how to content marketing 101 pdf for free below :