When friends ask me, “What is content marketing?” I usually say, “Do you want the short answer or the long answer?” The short and superficial answer is it’s blogging services, but it’s really so much deeper than that. It’s thought creation, idea creation, interacting with other idea makers, engaging with the community you’ve already established, and creating new communities.
Actually, let’s just say that’s what it’s about (since I just said that word two times): creating and supporting a community. So what does this mean, and how does this happen?
Let’s say, for example, you’re an artisan quilt maker living in Hartford, Connecticut. You don’t know this, but there’s someone doing some pretty progressive work using mixed media—infusing jewelry, graffiti, projections from John Cusack movies, amongst other things—on their quilts in Vancouver. And you never would’ve known this because A) you’re in Hartford, and B) you don’t have the time to do research into progressive Canadian quilt makers because C) you just want to do what you love—making badass Hartfordian quilts while listening to mindfulness podcasts. But, perhaps this person would be a good relationship for you to develop. Maybe they know some craft shops on the west coast who would love your work? And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to know an artisan, progressive quilt maker in Vancouver (anyone that says no to that question is a bold-faced liar)? So what can Social Construct do to initiate a relationship with this person for you?
1) Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
2) Write them a note saying how much we love their work, and would they like to do an interview for your blog.
3) Now we know them personally because we’ve spoken on the phone.
4) Continue the relationship through social media and become besties for life (unless you don’t really like them, then you can just be “professional acquaintances”). Now when you go to Vancouver you have a place to crash for the night.
No matter how you choose to keep the relationship going, the fact is that content marketing allows you to establish and maintain deeper relationships than a superficial “like” of a post or an occasional retweet. These relationships stay intact and relevant because the depth of them is forged through ideas.
How many posts on the Internet have you seen where you start reading the article, and the piece is actually about nothing? There’s no new information in it at all, and it was just clickbait? Let’s end that, and keep real relationships going because there’s real things to talk about.
That’s what content marketing is all about. And that’s so much more than blogging services.