What is content marketing, and how do you start?

Dec 16th, 2021 Marketing

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, but there are certain tactics that have proven to be effective time and time again. Content marketing is one such approach that can make a world of difference in the way attract and improve the quality of leads — before they even become customers.

Here we’ll show you the ins and outs of content marketing, and some ideas for how to get started.

What is content marketing?

We all know how traditional marketing works. It’s the billboard that says “Buy this car because it’s got the best gas mileage” or the radio spot that says “Sign up for this cable plan because we have hundreds of channels.” While traditional marketing takes a pretty blunt approach in appealing to customers (ours is the best and you’d be bonkers not to choose us), content marketing is a bit more subtle. 

Content marketing instead provides free value for the audience before they choose to become a customer. By informing, clearing up misconceptions, or filling in gaps of knowledge, content marketing’s aim is to spark interest in a type of product or service that you just so happen to sell.

Consider the following blog titles. If you’re planning on rescuing a dog, which blog are you more likely to read? Which one do you imagine would help you make an informed decision about the right chow for your new buddy?

Super Pup Dog Food — The World’s Best Dog Food


4 Things to Know About Dog Food Nutrition Before Welcoming Home Your New Best Friend

While the first blog sure sounds super, it’s only going to give you knowledge about a single brand. The second blog, thanks to its content marketing approach, is intended to give you the knowledge to make an informed decision on your own. It’s a free resource that helps you become a more educated consumer, and you’ll come to your own conclusion about the product that suits your needs.

Through blogs, social media posts, videos, and other digital assets, content marketing turns audiences into more qualified leads for your business. By providing free information, you position your brand as a thought leader in your industry, build trust with your audience and help them make the decision to choose you over competitors.

Content marketing in motion

This year, we worked with an awesome local adoption agency called Adoption Support Center (ASC). While their website made it easy for pregnant women to get the information they needed to confidently choose adoption, it didn’t do much to address prospective adoptive families. To quote a family that had adopted through ASC, “Oh, we didn’t even know they HAD a website!”

As part of our rebuild for ASC’s site, we dove deep into the needs of families who are considering adoption. The costs, the timeline, the legal side of the equation — we made it easy for hesitant families to do their research and ultimately choose ASC as a modern, ethical adoption agency.

But content marketing isn’t just a play for more leads. It should increase the quality of those leads, too. For ASC that meant overcoming misinformation and outdated perceptions of what adoption looks like in the 2020s. To that end, ASC’s new site prepares families to be the best adoptive parents possible, even before they get onboarded.

How to start with content marketing

Getting started with content marketing can feel like a daunting task, especially on top of any other advertising you’re doing. But in our experience, all it takes is a good brainstorming session to get the creative juices flowing. You’re probably sitting on a wealth of knowledge about your product, service or industry that would make great content.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What’s a big misconception about your offering? Can you set the record straight?
  • What are three things people should consider before buying a product like yours?
  • What’s one simple trick that helps people get the most out of your product?
  • What are some of the latest advances in your industry that consumers should be aware of?
  • What’s an unconventional use for your product that you can endorse?
  • Is there any situation where your service isn’t the hero, but is a valuable sidekick to another service?

Once you’ve jotted down some ideas, think about how this information could be presented. That “Top 3 Things” idea might work as a carousel on Instagram, with each item taking up a single image. Or if you have a lot to say about each point, it could be a Buzzfeed-style listicle that you post to your website’s blog.

Content marketing takes time and intention, but it’s a game-changer in attracting and improving the quality of your leads. If you need help kick-starting content marketing efforts of your own, Kicks has your back.

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