For health coaches that leverage social media to establish their presence and build their brand, content is all-important. Before your prospective clients decide to buy your coaching programs, they consume your content. Even major brands that have massive, loyal followings are investing their resources in content marketing. In fact, it is often the quality and relevance of their content that earned them their loyal following in the first place, even if they didn’t know what they were doing at the time!
So, what exactly is content marketing? Let's define it first. You can find many definitions online, but here's one from the Content Marketing Institute that sums up quite well what content marketing is about:
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
As the above quote says, the idea behind content marketing is to create and distribute content that engages your audience and leads them to take action.
Content is basically any kind of media online or offline. Content in a book is its many pages and the information contained there. A film's content is the footage itself and the information it conveys. Content is no different when it comes to the Internet: it is the information you consume when you're online.
We typically think of content as written, such as articles, blog posts, and reports. However, the definition is much broader than this. There is visual content in the form of photographs, images, infographics, graphs, and charts. Multimedia content includes videos, audios, interactive slideshows, and online presentations. Even social media posts such as are considered content. Online content is any kind of media distributed digitally on the Internet.
Content is Not Promotional
There is a key difference between content and traditional marketing materials, and it's essential that you grasp this difference, as it defines success or failure in content marketing. Content is not promotional. It isn't like an advertisement that reaches out and grabs the customer, urging them to buy. Content marketing works in a much more subtle way.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy developed a highly successful strategy of advertising under the radar. As consumers became overexposed to promotional messages, they began ignoring them and taking no action. So he wrote ad copy disguised as editorials. These pieces read like news stories, informing the reader while also urging them to buy.
Today, we're even more bombarded by marketing everywhere we go. The traditional approach to advertising doesn't work anymore. Content marketing goes one step even further than Ogilvy's cleverly disguised advertisements. It doesn't try to promote or sell. Its only aim is to inform and help.
Your content informs, entertains, engages, helps, and/or answers the questions your customers have. All promotional or sales language is left out of it. The idea is that your prospective client will use and enjoy your content...This is the start of the relationship building process, as your audience grows to know, love and trust the content that you produce and share. Then, when they want what you have to offer, you'll naturally be their first choice.
An Ongoing Process
There's another way content marketing is different from marketing methods of the past. Unlike an advertisement which you write once and then use to drive leads for weeks or months, content creation and publishing is ongoing. In order to do content marketing successfully, you need to keep a steady stream of content coming. You leverage the relationship you build with your audience, not any individual piece of content, to drive sales.
Why You Should Care about Content Marketing
So, why should you care about content marketing? Is it even relevant to your business as a marketing strategy? Well, it isn't just a passing fad. It's how we primarily consume information now.
The shift to content marketing is a response to the changing ways in which we get information in our society. In the old days, media channels were limited and big advertisers dominated. A consumer sat in front of the TV and, during commercial breaks, they had to endure whatever commercials were shown.
Today, all of our media is on demand. We can skip the commercials. Online, we can go straight to the website, video, or article that we want. In-your-face promotional content can be skipped over (and is skipped over). Instead, you need to provide something that your audience will choose to consume, and it should be something they choose over another competitor’s content.
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