Content marketing defined: Communication strategy, created for your audience, and distributed with purpose.
Content marketing has three essential parts - strategy, creation, and distribution - and they carry equal value. All content needs to be planned; it requires a strategy. That content needs to be composed with your audience in mind; understand what they want to know, not just what you want to say. And deliver that content to a place where your audience can best receive it.
Strategy: You don’t have to sit in a room like the one pictured, but look at it - comfy chairs, electronic devices so other people can call in, a bulletin board wall for notes and inspirational imagery, and a table big enough for Thai food lunch. That’s how you strategize.
What’s more important, though, is why you strategize. What are your goals for the content you create? And are those goals measurable? You strategize so you’ll know if you’re doing it right. And if you’re not doing it right, you make changes in the Creative phase.
Creative: You might think this is my favorite part. And I do love to write, shoot, and create content. But I don’t have a favorite. Sure, I do this one most often. In fact I’m not always in on the Strategy or the Distribution. But all my clients know (or they find out quickly) that I’m going to ask about those two. I want to know - I have to know - if the content I’m creating is planned well, and if there is a smart distribution plan.
Creative is kinda like the meal you order at a restaurant - maybe that’s why we “consume content.” More than that, I like to think of Creative as your response to that meal. That’s how you need to think of creating content. How is your audience going to respond when they read content, see photos, watch a video, hear your speech? You need to listen and engage with that response.
Distribution: In its most simple form, distribution is delivering something to a location where a customer can retrieve it. That mundane definition is fine for Amazon delivering your new shoes. But when distributing content, you need to consider much more than just place.
When your blog post goes live and you email the link, what is the mindset of your recipients? Are they at work or on the golf course? Are they looking at a desktop computer or a mobile phone? When you deliver that magazine or catalog, is it going to a mail box or a PO box or an office mail room? When your YouTube video goes up, are people in front of the TV late at night or are they waiting for it to download through airplane wifi?