There are many buzzwords and much hype that surround the term content marketing – but what is it, and how can it support your organisation’s goals?
Content marketing 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.” – Content Marketing Institute
There are many different opinions on what content marketing is, as this list of definitions from 25 thought leaders shows.
For my part, I believe content marketing aims to connect people with valuable content, based on their goals and needs, that drives them to act.
It also provides customers and organisations with a better understanding of how they can work together to achieve shared goals.
Three steps to start content marketing
1. Get to know your customers
There are many ways you can introduce content marketing approaches at your organisation, however the first step should always be thinking about your customers.
Who are your customers?
Internally a customer could be viewed as staff, volunteers, senior executives, board members or more. Externally you may communicate with clients or service users, their family members or support network, carers, other organisations and referrers, donors, funders, government – the list goes on.
What are their goals and needs?
What are your customers looking for? For example, someone with a back injury may not instantly think “I need a massage” or “I need to see a physio” – their first step may be to research back pain and the causes, to identify the best treatment options.
How can you address these goals or needs with content?
Your organisation’s expertise and experience, shared through content, can be a great way to demonstrate what you’re all about and how you can help. From the example above, a physiotherapist with extensive knowledge of back pain causes and treatments could share their advice through meaningful content. In turn, this content could drive someone to consider making an appointment with a physiotherapist for specialist treatment.
2. Build your news sense
Stories and information gaps are everywhere; you just need to know them when you see them. Developing a knack for news and knowing what offers value to your customers is the best way you can drive regular content over time.
If you’re working within an organisation, building relationships with colleagues is crucial. Meet with leaders, chat to people in the tea room about what they’re working on, review client feedback and keep an eye on mainstream and social media commentary. What are customers feeling excited about? What are they feeling confused about? How can you address these needs through content?
3. Make a plan
Now that you’ve thought about your customers and their content needs, it’s time to put it together into a plan.
- Identify a common goal – shared by your business and customer
- Based on your customer reflections, brainstorm some content ideas
- Consider your content options – from blogs to lists and infographics, there are many ways to present your information
- Create a publishing schedule – factoring in timelines for drafting and approvals, and responsibilities for each step
There are some great resources available online to support your content journey, here are just a few:
- Get started – Content Marketing Institute
- Nonprofit Marketing in 2017: Challenges, Strategies, and Examples – Content Marketing Institute
- Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Templates: The Ultimate List – Curata
- Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey – Hubspot
About the author
Over close to 10 years, I’ve worked within non-profit and community organisations to drive communications and marketing campaigns and initiatives. Making sure people have access to valuable, accessible and inclusive information is a true passion of mine; and a passion I’d love to share with your organisation.