If you Google "content marketing," you will get thousands of results. But not each of these results will be related to true content marketing. Because this area of practice has exploded in recent years, there are many people and organizations who are looking to profit from sharing information about content marketing. I encourage you to do your own research (like reading this book!) and make the right decisions for your situation. There is no silver bullet in content marketing, only guidelines to consider and apply to your own work.
You likely see examples of content marketing every day and don't realize it. It is standard practice in industries from packaged foods to beauty products to the travel industry. Consumers are becoming savvier about companies' advertising techniques and expect more from brands. Perhaps you have seen REI's Miranda in the Wild YouTube series, where one of their employees discusses how to find the right camping gear for the right situation. Or Dove's Real Beauty campaign. Or any of the multiple blogs and recipe sites by food companies such as Pillsbury, Kellogg's, and Kraft. These are all examples of content marketing.
The content itself is one part of content marketing, but in many respects, it is not the most important. Before you start thinking about what types of content you need to create, you need to lay the groundwork. Think of this as the edge of the puzzle that holds the whole picture together. As you will learn, there are a lot of steps that you need to take into consideration before you get to the actual creation of content. Content planning doesn't come until you establish your objectives, define your audience, and research keyword usage and social chatter. When it comes to content, think out of the box. Think about yourself as a consumer and how and when you would like to get your content. There are many content types, but we tend to stick with what is familiar. Later in Section I, we will go over some of the most popular types of content and some that you may not have thought of before.
How do you know if this book is right for you? Maybe you are a small business owner who wants to learn more about how content and content marketing can help your business, or perhaps you are a new marketer launching a career and want to learn more about content marketing. This book is meant to be both an inspiration and a roadmap, depending on your perspective. If you are a new content marketing practitioner, knowing how to put the pieces together will help you perfect your craft. If you are looking for content marketing inspiration, there is plenty of that on the following pages. Entire books have been written about most of the topics in this book. This is not an in-depth look at the individual pieces of content marketing. Instead, this is a starting point for those who are new to or interested in learning more about the practice of using content strategically in your marketing efforts. Those efforts are shaped and secured through a thorough understanding of psychology. Throughout Section I, you will begin to see why psychology is an important part of creating content and developing marketing plans. In Section II, we will dive into the psychology behind content.