Defining Content Marketing

What is Content Marketing – Really?

Content marketing is a huge buzzword, but what it stands for really isn’t all that new.

Strip away the buzz and you have attention-grabbing content. That’s it. As every piece of content, it’s about leveraging marketing channels in a smart and strategic way to make sure that content gets in front of the right people at the right time. So, what is content marketing truly at its core, and why is there so much hype?

Get the inside scoop from Matt and Ashley as they discuss the following topics:

  • How businesses should look at their content as brand journalism
  • What really goes into creating quality content marketing
  • How to approach content distribution and capture your audience’s attention
  • Why campaigning with a content marketing mindset can help improve results
  • How every business can leverage some part of content marketing

The activities that go into content marketing are nothing new. We’re consuming more content than ever before, and that’s why it’s a must for businesses to be strategic about their approach with content creation and distribution.

It goes beyond the amount of content to really capture your audience’s attention, and that’s what Matt and Ashley really dive into within the podcast. Given the technology and amount of content available today, your audience can be more selective when it comes to the type of content consumed. This podcast explores how to get past talking about your products and services by demonstrating value and providing answers to problems.

Matt and Ashley talk about how a business can position itself as an expert by utilizing the methodology behind content marketing. They go into how to capture a potential customer and bring them through the marketing/sales funnel to become a loyal buyer. This podcast will help you to sort through the noise behind content marketing, so you can be more strategic with how you approach targeting your customer with quality content.


Matt: Ok, so for every piece of content I create, where does it sit in the buying cycle? Where does it sit, and how am I using it to drive the next stage, you know, it’s out here, it’s to answer a specific question, once I’ve answered the question, you know, what is the user supposed to do? You know, bounce out, put their phone away, how do I use the response to that, I’ve answered your question, now how do I drive the next stage, and I don’t think that’s considered enough, that people see content marketing as a way to, we’re answering questions, we’re educating people. Great, how do you drive the next stage?

Introduction: Welcome to endless coffee cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

Matt: Welcome to the Endless Coffee Cup, Yeah. Well, so like, I think I was telling you a little bit about this project I’m working on with a black Smith who is making hand forged cooking pants, cookware, which I love, I got to say he gave me one to test it and absolutely love it. So yeah, it’s well, in what I like, cause he says, okay, to season this pan, the best thing you can do is cook bacon in it. I’m like, yeah. So that was the first thing I did is go out and get some real good bacon. So, but the part of it is, I mean, he’s a blacksmith. People are fascinated by fire and loud noises. I mean, it’s so part of promoting, this is just stories from the, you know, they, they have a farm, he does classes, he teaches blacksmithing and I, and I was telling him, this is part of what interests people is the story behind it. What made you want to do pans? Well, Oh, you’ve been a blacksmith for 40 years. Oh. You know, and, and, you know, come to find out he’s made. So the Disney castle he made the sconces that are on the wall in the beauty and beast castle. Yeah, it just that’s his work. He’s done work for the white house in,

Ashley: I shouldn’t say I went from here to here and now I’m in the, in your full making a difference. I’m making memories everywhere.

Matt: Yeah. It just, I mean, he is a talented artistic blacksmith. And so I’m like, you’ve got more stories to sell this and an ad because people were, I think people were fascinated to know the story behind things. Whereas, you know, when it’s our business, we’re bored of it. We don’t see the magic. I think that’s why, if you remember the show dirty jobs, I think was why it was so fascinating as you’re watching someone do a pretty mundane job, but we’re fascinated with what other people do. And when you’ve got a good story, when you’ve got good things like that, part of it is you need someone from the outside to come in and point that out to say, this is what’s cool about what you’re doing. And, and it’s you know, it’s behind the curtain for everybody else.

Ashley (02:14): It is really astounding to me. I actually, a common rebuttal that I hear with content marketing and trying to get a story out is that we’re really just trying to push sales. This is going to push yourselves. This is going to help you to connect. I mean, it’s a common thing that I hear all the time and it’s not, I can’t just do an advertisement. And I mean, yeah, I can, yeah, I can, I can create some Google ads or something, but you know, at the end of the day you know, we want to really sell and create loyal customers and really have people identify with who you are as a brand. I can tell you some brands that I buy from and I’ll be straight with you. They don’t even give me the best price, but I like the brand and what they stand for. So I will buy from them. And I think a lot of people are like, especially today you know, let’s talk about the millennial generation. They do want to feel like they are creating like a, a purpose that they are a part of something big. And you hear a lot of companies getting into sustainability and why they’re doing it and building that comradely. I think that people today want to know that they are involved in something that’s much deeper than just buy in products.

Matt (03:26): It is. And, but that’s also something really to watch out for is don’t do it just to do it. Right. There’s a lot of brands that are doing that. And now granted, yeah. I, if I find a brand that I like that I really it’s got, I feel like at this point it’s got to be special if I’m going to be loyal, because it’s easier right now to find brands that I won’t support that I don’t like because of what they’ve done now, an experience, a bad experience is one of those things,

Ashley (04:01): Making sure your customers.

Matt (04:02): Yeah, exactly. If I have a bad Experience, I’m not gonna use your stuff. But Also just, you know, the way that you approach social issues, if it’s let me I’ll give a great example. So dubs started a campaign called real beauty and it was talking to girls about beauty body image and all that. Okay. That’s great. I appreciate, and I applaud that the problem is dove is owned by Unilever, who also makes Axe body spray. And if you’re familiar with the commercials of Axe, body spray, it’s targeted to young men and their tagline is spray more, get more. Get more why? You know, and the Everything that dove complains about as far as objectification of women acts does in their eyes.

Ashley (04:51): It’s just to show you, they’re just about making the money versus actually communicating the message

Matt (04:56): And yeah. And they got some heat for it. Rightly so, because I don’t know, I, to me, it’s

Ashley (05:03): Like, you can’t have it.

Matt (05:05): Yeah. You can’t have This both ways, you know? And granted I love what you’re doing dove. However, whenever you know, I’ve got daughters, I am an inline with what you’re doing. However, you can’t be a part of a company that does that as well. Right. And just to me, it completely takes away any credibility you have when you’re trying to play both sides. So it’s, it’s, it’s a great example too. I saw an article about so gay pride month, all these brands are trying to come out supporting gay pride month. And when you look at a survey that was done, the vast majority of Americans saw these brands as being opportunistic rather than fully supporting the cause that these brands will say anything to sell it to anyone. And it was negatively perceived by, I think it was like 80% of Americans that, you know, I’m less likely to do business with this brand because they’re opportunistic and they’ll say anything. And I’m like, wow, that, I mean, those numbers were bigger than what I thought they would be. And, it was across the board. It was, you know, men will women, sexual orientation, generational. It was across the board that people were doubting the true intentions of business that supported gay pride month. It was. And, the thing is now, and I’ve seen the same thing come out now for every other month.

Ashley (06:50): I, yeah. A lot of opinions about

Matt (06:54): Every month, it’s something different and all the corporations are on it.

Ashley (06:57): Yes. Yeah. You just see it a lot more. I mean, yeah. I mean, as a marketer, I understand like you want, you want to sell your product and things like that, but at the same time it does it doesn’t do you any well, if it’s not authentic and that’s where content marketing comes in and makes sure that you are being authentic.

Matt (07:15): Yeah. Well, this gets to whole question of authenticity. Yeah.

Ashley (07:19): I I know.

Matt (07:21): My favorite word in digital marketing is authenticity.

Ashley (07:23): Well, does it truly exist? Let’s just be real, but yeah.

Matt (07:28): Well, and that’s, I think that was one of the first podcasts I did with Sue. And that was, I think, where we ended up is that it’s marketing. There’s no such thing as authenticity marketing.

Ashley (07:38): I mean, we’re really just a bunch of salespeople behind a computer, right?

Matt (07:43): Yeah. it’s funny. I look at, well, you know, I look at my blacksmith and I would love to show him to people that you can’t get more authentic than this guy. You know, he, he makes his living with a hammer and fire. Yeah. He wakes up, he has to produce in order to make money. There’s your, you know, now my job now is to take that image and apply that in. And, you know, but really though, it’s one of those things where I feel like I just need to stand out of the way you kind of let it do it itself, but yet it requires someone who, you know, can position it on the site, make it look good, drive people to sale. You know, it requires that kind of work too, from the persuasion aspect.

Ashley (08:30): Well, and even to make sure the message is being properly communicated. I know I was talking with you earlier about a client that I really believe in their cause I think it’s great. And and it’s hidden, it’s hidden and there’s two different messages that are going on and just making sure that it’s being properly positioned, that people can hear it. You know, you want to make sure when you hear about all these organizations that are supporting causes are supporting like a certain times that are, that are going on like gay pride month and things like that, that if you do have a story that you’re making sure that you are communicating those things clearly.

Matt (09:07): Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re not just aligning with it because it’s, you know,

Ashley (09:13): Right. Making sure that things are being communicated clearly and authentically. And I know we’re joking around here about how marketing really isn’t that tech, we’re just a bunch of salespeople, but but I do think that, you know, sometimes those stories I really can get attached to brands that have good stories and I can be very sentimental. And I just, I love it when I hear a good story from a brand and it was really disheartening. This great story with this client was buried and I get it.

Matt (09:43): Yeah. Well, and that’s the thing emotionally we want to identify. We want, I think as customer, we want to know that the products we buy, the companies we support have the same goals, values as us. And so when that doesn’t happen, it can be devastating to the brand and to the person, but you know, how could they do this? And you see some, some, you know, lashing out, you know, especially on social media when that happens. So it’s a very dangerous thing to, and I see this a lot, you know, a holiday comes out and all the emails come out and, you know, somehow we’re aligning our brand to this holiday, whether it makes sense or not, we’re doing it. That’s not content marketing.

Ashley (10:32): It’s not, I mean, I am one of those I do like to align with the holidays and things like that. But I think the big ones, okay, like Christmas, right? Thanksgiving, what are we thankful for? You know, those type of things, it’s just big sets, but you also don’t want to be like another company that’s in this pool. This is going to get mixed. And he miss, you know, you want to be seeing, you want to be unique while still being authentic and timely.

Matt (11:00): I think that’s, I mean, that’s the key it’s content marketing, I think is more proactive. It’s more, scenario-based planning, positioning it’s strategy. It’s not saying what’s the next holiday that we align ourselves to and somehow make our message relevant to the holiday. It’s, that’s a more passive where you’re allowing the kind of a calendar to dictate your marketing rather than your strategy.

Ashley (11:31): Well, and honestly, I guess too, like companies that are doing a lot of content marketing and maybe they are just running out of campaigns and need a new campaign because you really shouldn’t do. I mean, I’ve heard this from other people I’d love to know your opinion, like running the same campaign every year. I am completely aghast at myself. I think that people get sick of it. They want to see something new. They want to see something exciting. Like don’t do the same campaign every year. In fact, I don’t even think you should do it twice. I don’t think you should do the same one the second year it gets boring and people are sick of it. You have to think of a new angle, a new way to communicate. Almost like I’ll wear a dress one day and I’ll love it the next day. I’m like, I’m pulling that out of my closet. And I’m thinking, man, I have nothing to wear. It’s like, I want something new and fabulous. And I think people think the same way whenever they’re connecting with a brand and they find something entertaining.

Matt (12:26): Yep. Yeah. I think there’s definitely a lot of brands that are doing it. Well, I think one of the things, so at sea, the the website where it’s, it’s handmade, it’s vintage, there is a whole bunch of stuff going on there, but I think it’s interesting that every month they send out, like this is the birthstone of the month and here’s all the jewelry. We have the handmade jewelry that matches that stone. It’s very, you know, and then also,

Ashley (12:54): You get a personalities and stuff.

Matt (12:56): The next week, it’s all about well based, you know, here’s our color. And so now you’re seeing, I mean, just hundreds of products, but they’ll have the color. And what’s interesting is if you click through and go to Etsy, it doesn’t matter what kind of product it is. You can search by color. It just blows my mind. So, you know, and, and if you’ve been on Etsy. Its wearing thing.

Ashley (13:21): Yeah, they will. I haven’t been on se in a while make a laugh. Yeah.

Matt (13:26): Its clothing, Craps, kitchenware,

Ashley (13:28): But that’s a fun way to communicate some product.

Matt (13:31): Yeah. But search by color. And there’s like thousands of different kinds of products and we’re going to search by color, but okay. You know, but that’s the thing, it’s, it’s this one’s first stone. It’s, here’s the color of the month. Here’s and so interesting ways that they move and present and helping, I think what they’re doing is they’re helping you think about their products from many different angles.

Ashley (13:53): Well, and that’s something I just wrote down here is like really thinking, I know at the beginning of this conversation, we were talking about like more educational pieces. And that had very, I think, straightforward themes, but then you’ll get into times where you just want to be entertaining. Yeah. Or like, just think about what emotion you’re really trying to hit with your audience. I know a lot of people will go after an emotion you know, versus education. I think education is great. Education does very well from a conversion optimization standpoint. But I do think emotion in defining what that emotion is, will help you determine your channels and how you’re going to communicate that message. Now there’s a lot that Etsy can do with that. Cause as you’re sitting there talking, I mean, you can go into like personalities, like think about like, I just had a birthday. Let’s talk about the Libra. I mean, I was laughing, joking around. I know I was laughing and joking around with the BMV I was telling the woman. I’m like, I’m sure there are there’s some months you don’t want to be here horoscope. Right? I just think like this. So Think of timeliness and what’s happening and just get creative and have fun. I just think that there are no limits to this. This makes content marketing, makes marketing fun.

Matt (15:12): Oh, Oh. So yeah. We’ll, we’ll kind of wrap it up, but here’s a great example. So tire buyer, how often do you buy tires for your car? Like three to four years. So I bought tires through tire buyer. About every quarter I get an email and the theme lately has been, so the one email was the 10 ugliest cars we’ve ever seen. Oh, fantastic. I mean, how do you keep an audience engaged that buys once every three years and the next one was the best cars, the best movie cars, the worst movie cars. And so it was like, one of them was a Volkswagen bug. That’s in a classic movie called bullet. There’s a car chase around San Francisco. And the same Volkswagen bug is in the background of every scene of a car chase. And people are commenting like that beetle is keeping up with you because you’ve got two classic cars racing. Yeah. So, but about every quarter, you know, anyone who buys tires, they’ve got to know something about cars, but you know it, what is it? But they’re entertaining and it’s not, you know, the background behind tires. I’m sorry. Yeah. We, we talked a little bit about people want to see behind the curtain. I’m not so sure about with tires, maybe some of that thing.

Ashley (16:37): And that’s how much is this? He hasn’t really determined what your product is. There is something I wrote down here. I know we’re wrapping up here. I think this is so, so, so important. And this is where content marketing fails is where people forget about their foundational item and really where they’re going to drive traffic, their audience, where they’re going to convert to get to the bottom of the funnel. Because I know we went into that buyer’s journey. A lot of people won’t get into the decision stage where they have white papers, blog, posts, whatever it is that they’re using newsletters versus thinking about where am I going to convert this person? Yup. And is that area up to par to creating those conversions? You know, I put website here. I think that that’s a big thing cause websites usually aren’t in the best place for that. And I think your website is normally the foundational item of a good content marketing.

Matt (17:32): Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And it is, it’s looking at every piece and at the conclusion of it, or even in the middle of it, how are we driving to the next stage? Right. And if you’re not asking that question, you’re just publishing content.

Ashley (17:44): Yeah. You really.

Matt (17:45): You are not driving to the next stage and not looking it from the customer or the prospect standpoint of once we answered their question. And, and I, I like to challenge people with that, but okay. You you’ve done the keyword research, you know, the questions that they’re asking, what’s the next question. Can you anticipate it? If you can anticipate it, then you can drive them to the next stage and what can you do to put something in their hands, something they can download something they could watch. How do you keep them there for 30 more seconds?

Ashley (18:16): Do you remember that or something? I don’t read it as much anymore, but I just, I used to really like be all over that site and I thought they did a fabulous job as they did. And they always had some kind of call to action on the site. That was a big one. Yeah. And it was always there on every page by I would read like relate to content in the bottom and it was actually relatable. I mean, how many times have you been on a site where it says related content? It’s really not.

Matt (18:46): And I was just on a site the other day where I’m looking for information, I’m reading the article, but in the upper, right, what I’m seeing is related content and it was truly related content and it was, you know, five ways to do this top 10 things we’ve seen, you know, it was really well-written related content. And I was on another site and the related content or questions, they were written in the form of questions. They weren’t written in the form of blog, post titles, they were written in the form of questions. And so yeah, if you can anticipate the next question, get that in there and lead people to that. Okay.

Ashley (19:28): I think that’s what got me thinking about, about, I think about it that I think so. Yeah. And cause he would always hook me. I would be in like a trail, just get deeper on their side.

Matt (19:40): Yeah. Somehow they were anticipating that next year.

Ashley (19:43): Yeah. I want to say it was them. It’s just been a while since I really looked them.

Matt (19:46): It was. Yeah. But yeah, I think that’s, I mean, that’s really the distinguishing factor. I think of a good content marketing campaign is are you anticipating the next stage, the next step with that content piece, if it’s not being engaged with, then you’re not hitting anyone. You’re not answering anyone’s problem. But once you get the engagement, if you are answering their problem, what then? Where are you driving them? So yeah, this has been a fun survey of content marketing.

Ashley (20:16): Oh, I love it. I can keep going by. I’ll shut up.

Matt (20:21): Okay. Listener, if we have not answered all of your questions about content marketing, feel free to shoot us some questions. Challenge us. We’ll be more than happy to take that on. And, and maybe, you know, if we missed anything, let us know. We’d love to hear from you, Ashley. Thanks for joining in.

Ashley (20:39): Oh yeah thank you.

Matt (20:39): All right. Thank you. Listener. We will catch you next time on the endless coffee cup.

Featured Guest:

Ashley Schweigert

Marketing Communications Consultant

LinkedIn profile: Ashley G. Schweigert | LinkedIn

Website: Marcom Content by Ashley

Listen to Ashley Schweigert on a previous episode:

Endless Coffee Cup: “Investigating Influencer Marketing”