Without wanting to bore you with inane definitions, I do think that content needs some clarification.
That’s because some people think of content as search engine marketing, some think of it as social marketing, some think content means the final produced asset, and others think of it as an approach to growing businesses.
They’re all true in a way, but we’ll arrive at a more helpful definition. First let’s define what we mean by a marketing channel vs content, to bring some broader context.
→ Channels are the delivery mechanisms for content. That could be your site, social media, search blog, or a keynote speech.
→ Content is any information that can be delivered by a channel. That could be words, images, videos, or anything else. It’s often a combination of these.
So, very coldly, content is information.
Therefore, a content-led approach to marketing prioritizes the effectiveness of the information you share ahead of the channels that deliver that information. Content first, then channels. At this stage, this all sounds far too vague and theoretical to be helpful, but at least we've made a start by separating channels and content.
If I told you, “Now you know what content is, go make some”, you’d probably produce something naff. That’s because, just like channels are a delivery mechanism for content, content is a delivery mechanism for the message you want to share.
By ‘message’, I don’t just mean copy. A message is a core point you want to communicate. Imagery conveys a message too. For example, simple product imagery is often used to communicate that a platform is easy to use.
So, to recap, when you’re building content, your message comes first. Your message is delivered by content. Your content is delivered by channels. Your audience’s experience of your content is the same, but in reverse.
If this all sounds a bit Inception, bear with me. I think it’s important to fundamentally understand how content works before you try to use it to grow your business.
To know which message is going to land, you’ll need to know your audience first. Understanding how your audience thinks and behaves is also key to knowing which content they’re likely to consume and where they spend time. I’ll bet that all successful content campaigns can be traced back to a deep understanding of their audience.
Throughout this book we’ll figure out your startup’s content strategy by defining your ideal audience, the best message for that audience, and the best way to put that message in front of that audience with content. The outcome? More customers.
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