When we talk about Brand Content, Inbound Marketing or Digital Marketing, we often talk about Content Marketing, without knowing it. One could say that all this is ultimately only a question of terminology. But on social networks and in the press, we are witnessing a real confusion. A simple, descriptive approach allows us to show that although these disciplines are different in nature, they are perfectly complementary.
How to define Content Marketing?
The most informed definition comes from the Content Marketing Institute in the USA:
"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.”
All is said, almost…
In this context, organizations are busy engaging in conversation with their customers and prospects before, during and after their purchase journey.
Content Marketing is Content first of all
There are two types of contents.
It is aimed at customers and especially prospects, from the beginning of their purchase journey.
Example: Jeep, like all car manufacturers, presents very detailed contents about each of its models. They are directly available on the brand's website. Prospects and customers can discover all the models of the range, in every detail. They can configure the vehicle of their choice and book it directly online.
It covers much broader topics than the offer. Without commercial pressure, it grabs the attention of customers and prospects to bring them closer to the territory and expertise of the brand, and to make them more loyal.
Example: With Jeep-Life, Jeep creates a community of "adventure and freedom seekers" around its legendary Jeep Willy's, a model that equipped the US Army during World War II. The brand offers its customers the opportunity to share values through events, contents around the company and its history, or the Jeep Owners Group.
Worth noting that these contents (Product Content and Brand Content) are not an end in themselves. The goal is that customers and prospects buy the brand's offer.
Product Content and Brand Content have one thing in common: They rely on a strong brand platform. Indeed, a brand platform allows to define the following:
The brand’s identity (its personality, its values, its physical appearance, the relationship that it maintains with its target audience etc.)
The positioning of communications (what makes the brand different from its competitors)
The key messages that will structure the brand’s relationship with its customers
The editorial charter (iconography, editorial slant, typography etc.)
This guarantees relevant, consistent and high-quality contents to the brand (Cf our previous article Startups: Why Driving Your Brand Like A Big One?).
Content Marketing also Involves multiple means of communication
The brand has two distinct techniques to distribute these contents:
Here the brand uses the right means of communication to send messages, and thus contents, to its customers and prospects: TV, radio, billboards, press but also digital (display, emailing, pop-up etc). This approach is intrusive and allows to grab the attention of customers who did not ask for it. Outbound Marketing can be implemented at any time during the purchase journey.
In this case, customers and prospects engage in conversation first with the brand. They have tools (most often digital tools, such as search engines, keywords, social networks etc.) to reach videos, white papers, infographics etc. which contents (Product Content or Brand Content) are prepared in advance by Marketers. These contents inform, educate, inspire an audience that reaches them in an exploratory and interactive way.
These two techniques are complementary and, above all, inseparable. They allow the brand to stay in constant contact with its customers and prospects, with the intention of making them have the best purchase experience (Customer Experience).
Content Marketing: From Brand Platform to Customer Experience
Our Brand & Content Marketing Framework above emphasizes the central role played by contents.
Customers and prospects make up their minds on a brand and its offer, based only on the contents it produces (Product Content and Brand Content), and not on the means it uses to contact them, no matter how creative these means can be.
Customers and prospects are not aware of the technologies put in place to "accompany" their purchase journey. What matters to them is that the right message pops up at the right time. It does not matter which channels are used, provided they are relevant.
The quality and the consistency of the contents is therefore an absolute requirement.
They must rely primarily on a strong brand strategy (identity, positioning, key messages) that will determine an editorial charter.
They must meet clearly identified needs and concerns among customers and prospects of the brand.
Why you do Content Marketing without knowing it?
Because Content Marketing is a global strategy, not a specific tool. Content Marketing relies on two distinct but complementary approaches:
Any communication strategy begins with the implementation of a content strategy, before even imagining a strategy of means. Communication is above all passing messages.
Content Marketing encompasses this hierarchy of elements that will make it possible to distribute or make available the right contents, at the right time, in the right place, to the right people in order to encourage them to a profitable action for the brand.
One day, we might even talk about Content Marketing Strategy instead of Communication Strategy. Because ultimately all messages from a brand come from the same platform: agile and able to adapt to the conversations engaged with customers and prospects.
PlanningStrat-Station supports the performance of your organization by developing a Content Marketing approach that integrates a strong brand strategy. The goal is to engage in conversation with your customers and prospects by offering contents that arouse their interest and by using the right means of communication to reach them.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org