What is creative content marketing? It seems like a simple question with a straightforward answer, but within a fairly obvious definition lies a vast universe of detail and possibility.
It Is Fresh and Engaging
Creative content marketing, as the name implies, is a form of marketing that utilizes a steady stream of fresh original content to do more than merely advertise a business, but to actively engage audiences and encourage them to share that content with others.
This is done by making the content in question worthy of sharing. In other words, instead of just being a dry delivery system for consumer-relevant information, the content has value to audiences beyond its function as a piece of marketing. It is entertaining or educational.
Essentially, while older forms of promotion have often been viewed as disruptions or distractions from a desirable piece of media (i.e. a commercial interrupting a TV show), creative content marketing seeks to create promotional materials that are themselves desirable pieces of media.
Examples of content marketing including blogs, social media posts, online videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars, newsletters, and more. Really, any form of creative content can be utilized as a form of marketing. Many pieces of media already work in such a way, albeit unintentionally. With content marketing, the idea is to mindfully harness the power of creative media so as to funnel its consumers towards the interests of a growing brand.
Consider, for instance, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014, which took advantage of trending social media “challenges” to educate the public about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. More than 17 million people uploaded footage of themselves participating in the challenge online. The result was $115 million being raised for The ALS Association.
It Turns Customers into Participants
Not all campaigns need to be so elaborate, and not all will likely be quite as successful. But they don’t have to be. The benefits of content marketing are readily apparent, regardless of scale.
As an approach to promotion, content marketing eschews the clichés of direct advertising for a subtle, disarming appeal capable of lowering the defenses of even the most reticent cynic. A regularly updated web blog or YouTube channel humanizes a brand and creates an ongoing relationship with its customer base that helps build consumer trust and loyalty.
Such forms of content also encourage audience engagement, turning passive customers into active participants. This, in turn, makes users feel more invested in a brand.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of this kind of marketing, as previously noted, is its “viral” nature. That is, an informative, entertaining social media post or blog article lends itself to propagation through likes, shares, and reblogs/reposts/retweets. Consumers like showing off to others the media they themselves enjoy, and that translates to increased brand visibility.’
It also translates to an equalization of opportunity regardless of business size. Companies as big as American Express, L’Oréal, and Marriott have all used content marketing to great success. But this is still a form of promotion that relies more on quality of content and organic audience engagement than on budget or influence. That means that any business, large or small, can make use of creative content marketing with potentially comparable results.
Many advertising firms now offer content marketing services. With so much diversity in the types of content available, there is no shortage of flexibility to accommodate different budgets.
With social media more central to the lives of consumers than ever before, the possibilities inherent in creative content marketing will only continue to grow. Already, it has become a necessity. Today any business that isn’t producing some form of original content risks getting left behind.