The world of social media is constantly evolving, ever changing, moving forward, blah blah blah…. Yeah, yeah, heard it all before. Then the next buzz word comes along. Heard of this thing called ‘Content Marketing’? And how is your content marketing strategy going? Coming along nicely? Great to hear.

Let’s face it, the most successful of the social mediums are properly commercial enterprises, some are even public, or owned by public companies. Facebook – public. Twitter – public again. LinkedIn? Well that little chestnut is soon to be owned by one of the largest public companies to ever exist.

They MUST all just care about user experience and giving users exactly what they want, right? PAAAAHLEEEEASE. Facebook listed at $38.00 and at the time of writing, closed at $123.00. No company that doesn’t turn a profit rises quite that meteorically.

This leads us to the conclusion that clearly, they do focus on the dollar. Fair assessment too. Yet an entire eco-system of businesses, activities and services exists around these networks that don’t rely on the commercial side of social networks. Just what exactly do they do?

Enter our friend – Content Marketing.

What actually IS Content Marketing?

In reality, it’s not quite the buzzword I made it out to be. Content Marketing is a very real and valuable thing; the problem with the buzzword is the fact that agencies are selling it as this magical thing they do.

Content Marketing really means one of, a combination of, or a subset of, the following:

  • Blogs
  • Articles (alongside or, other than blogs)
  • Social Media Content & Posts
  • Affiliate Marketing Content
  • YouTube Videos
  • Email Marketing (to some degree)
  • Social PR
  • Infographics
  • Banner Adverts
  • Landing Pages
  • Advertorials

“Wow,” I hear you say. That’s a lot of different stuff. In reality, Content Marketing Strategy is the effective combination of these mediums, to bring leads to your website or business. Really that’s where it’s at.

However, Content Marketing Strategy on it’s own is seldom enough, throwing a bit of advertising budget in – to feed those big those big commercial entities – will give your properly constructed content marketing strategies a good boost!

But I don’t want to pay for ads!

Well, no one wants to fork out more money than they feel they really need to, but the flexibility and target-ability of the social media and digital media advertising platforms brings with it a unique opportunity to deliver your content to exactly the people you want to deliver it to, with very little wastage.

Say you’re selling a dress, a dress that really only suits girls between the age of 18 and 28, it’s a summer dress and it suits a more contemporary style, almost formal but not quite. Sounds like a pretty niche market; you wouldn’t want to be targeting people in the northern hemisphere because it’s heading into winter, and you’re likely not going to want to focus on people in beach areas as their style is more casual. It goes without saying that you don’t want males.

How would you do that in the old world? Probably buy some billboard placements in shopping centers in those particular regions? Maybe some magazine advertising, perhaps TV ad placement alongside a show that you know has good reach?

Pretty broad reaching wouldn’t you say?

Alternatively, you could select a platform, let’s take Facebook as the example, draft some content and a few adverts, then tell Facebook that you only want to speak to girls who are between the ages of 18 and 28 and that live in a few selected capital cities that are likely to be wanting such dresses given that it’s coming into summer. Perhaps Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, Johannesburg and may Sao Paulo.

Oh, and did I mention, you can tell Facebook only to charge you for the clicks you get? Not just some random amount because that’s what they think it’s worth?

Oh, so it doesn’t cost that much?

No. In fact, you can trial your adverts for as little as $500.00. Split your budget up, try a few different advert styles, landing pages, targets and the like. Maybe even put in $1,000.00 if you really like to mix it up.

The control you have is immense. You can set a daily budget, a lifetime budget and then thresholds for daily spending on each advert. You can monitor the spending as it comes in, no guessing, paying and praying.

Now, all of the sudden your content marketing that you’ve put all this effort into, gets that little boost, that few extra eyes that get to see your wonderful words, graphics, photos and videos. All the effort you went to suddenly becomes worthwhile!

After it’s all done…

The effort that goes into a content marketing strategy and the effort that goes into running it can be quite immense. Typically much more than you imagine or perhaps budget for. The media spend that you include for your advertising can also throw your budget out immensely.

But once you have the strategy running and you’ve trialled a few adverts, tested your budget, seen what works and what doesn’t – suddenly it will begin to become much smoother, and much more successful.

Most importantly, over time your ROI from one of digital marketing’s favourite buzzwords – Content Marketing – will start to become visible.