Content marketing has become a popular strategy for businesses, especially those in the service sector. The strategy consists of creating lots of content in various forms to draw consumers towards the company and its products or services. It’s quite different from traditional advertising methods. Here are just four ways that content-based marketing stands apart from standard approaches to advertising.
Four Unique Characteristics of Content Marketing
1. The Purpose of Content
The biggest difference between a content-based approach and a traditional one is the purpose of the marketing material. In a traditional advertising campaign, you would design a few pieces to be reproduced and distributed at scales. Think of magazine ads that end up in thousands of copies, or a radio ad that is broadcast all throughout the country multiple times every day.
These forms of advertising are centered around a pitch. There’s a concise message that aims to sell a product or service with key information such as the price or unique features. With content, we completely flip the script. Instead of trying to pitch a product or service, content discusses concepts and themes related to the product or service.
So, if you were trying to sell a lawnmower, you might produce content about landscaping and lawn care. You could discuss best practices, review products (including those of your competitors!), or even touch on current news topics like climate change predictions and how they impact the landscaping world. Hopefully, when the reader finishes your content, they’ll be left wondering what product or service would best fulfill their needs. They might choose yours.
2. Unique Formats
While traditional advertising relies heavily on mass media outlets, like TV or radio, content-driven marketing is primarily online. Although blogs are one of the most common content platforms, content writers may also support YouTube channels and podcasts by writing scripts. They may also design content for social media posts.
These formats are unique to content marketing and are less frequently seen in traditional advertising. The classic approach to advertising is to use visual elements more than text. Therefore, you see lots of posters and print ads in a traditional campaign.
Even when the same format is used, a traditional approach would call for much shorter pieces. A traditional video ad lasts 30 seconds to a minute at most, while video content routinely runs 10 minutes long. A traditional advertiser would never dream of writing a 1,400-word blog post or lengthy review article, however, that’s exactly what content writers do every day.
3. SEO Dragnets
We alluded to this before, but one of the key aspects of a content-driven approach is that you want to produce a high volume of content. Why is quantity so important? Each headline and each piece of content is one more set of search terms that could lead a viewer or reader to your business. SEO is a fundamental aspect of any content-based marketing effort.
The more topics you can connect to your company’s products or services, the more likely you are to catch a customer’s attention. Someone looking for great hunting spots in western PA might search those exact terms, find your blog article, and click on your internal link which takes them to your product page. Some people call this a dragnet, others see it as a funnel, but either way, the point is simple: more content equals more visitors.
Traditional advertising rarely considers SEO and instead tries to target specific customers using data. They try to put their ad in front of the person who is most likely to try their product or service. Instead of a dragnet, traditional advertisers go spearfishing with harpoon guns.
4. Inbound vs Outbound
Authors have dissected marketing in dozens of ways, but one simple way of looking at the field is to divide it into two camps: Inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Content-based strategies fall firmly into the inbound category, while traditional advertising methods are predominantly outbound in nature. What’s the difference between these two styles of marketing?
An easy way to remember the difference is that inbound marketing leads to people coming “in” to your company, while outbound marketing requires your company to reach “out” to the customer. Using content is clearly inbound because the content you publish is presented to the general public, even if it’s designed for a specific audience. You aren’t cold calling or trying to email random people with your content, which would be a form of outbound marketing.
The best content writers know how to sprinkle a few outbound techniques into their work. For example, if you have a target demographic at your business, you might tailor your words to suit that demo’s preferences. You might choose to use more casual language for a younger crowd, or avoid certain political leanings that could trigger your audience. However, your work is primarily inbound and needs to lure in as many people as possible.
Do You Want to Be a Content Writer?
Content writing can be a fun experience. You get to write about a wide variety of topics, which means you’ll learn a lot as you research and compile information for your content. You might even end up writing a hit script for a video. Of course, your writing skills need to be razor-sharp, and you need to have lots of ideas to contribute as a content writer.
If you’re interested, apply for a position with us at SteadyContent. We’re always looking for new content writers who want to join a team of experts and gain valuable experience in the field.