One of the hottest terms in marketing today is Content Marketing. I bet you’ve heard of it. But you might not know exactly what it is. Here’s a primer on what content marketing is and how it can drive the success of your cause marketing program. I’m speaking from experience. I started my blog, Selfish Giving, in 2004 shortly after I was hired to launch the cause marketing program for a large hospital. I blogged to share success stories and to show other businesses how we could work together. Content helped! During my tenure, we partnered with dozens of businesses and raised millions of dollars. Since then, I’ve used content marketing to grow my consulting business and to help my nonprofit clients expand their fundraising.
DEFINING CONTENT MARKETING
Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, two men I respect and who lead the Content Marketing Institute, define content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is different from advertising in two ways. First, instead of buying ads, you own the media by producing and promoting content on your own blog, whitepaper, infographic, Facebook page, etc. For Momentum’s Blog is a great example of owned media. Mollye and her team were early adopters of content marketing!
Second, content marketing isn’t about in-your-face selling. It’s about creating blog, posts, whitepapers, podcasts and other things that are valuable, useful and interesting to your target audience. Instead of pushing yourself on people with disruptive ads about what you want them to do (“Come down now and buy!”), content marketing is a magnet that pulls stakeholders in based on shared need and identification.
The For Momentum blog and newsletter does just that. They inform, educate, inspire and explain while positioning Mollye and her team as skilled professionals that can enact what they write about.
TYPES OF CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing can take many shapes and forms. Here’s a rundown of 5 of the most popular types.
1. Blog posts. This is probably the oldest online example of content marketing. Heck, I’ve written my blog since 2004 and some people were “journaling” way back in the 90’s. Blogging works. Mollye and I are proof!
3. Videos. Both long and short videos are currently the most sought after and talked about form of content marketing. Three words to convince you: Ice. Bucket. Challenge.
4. Downloadable Resources. Expertise and tools with deeper expert content than a blog post can typically convey. Can take many forms, such as whitepapers, presentations, or tool kits. Check out For Momentum’s free downloadable resources here.
5. Podcasts. Content at home and in the car! I have a face for radio so I have my own show.
This is just a small sample of the types of content marketing. Check out this list of 101 examples of content marketing.
HOW TO USE CONTENT MARKETING FOR CAUSE MARKETING
For NONPROFITS that want to attract business partners
1. Blog on the impact your organization is having in the community, especially in areas in which local businesses are also engaged.
2. Pick one visual social networking site (e.g. Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) to tell your nonprofit’s story with pictures and videos.
3. Send a weekly email newsletter to dedicated readers that want more in-depth insights and opportunities to work together.
For BUSINESSES that want to share their cause marketing stories
1. Include a tab on your web site that links to your purpose page where you share the stories of people you’ve helped and how visitors can get involved.
2. Use a 50-50 rule on your Facebook business page. Half the updates should be about your business, but the other half should be cause-related. This will show Facebook Fans that your priorities around purpose are as strong as your business interests.
3. Content doesn’t always have to be digital! If you own a store or restaurant, you can make fliers for patrons, host a fundraiser or use your store windows for education and inspiration.
How well can content marketing marketing work? I remember speaking to the president of a nonprofit about his success because of content marketing.
“Joe, we have a lot of business partners, but I have to admit we didn’t recruit most of them,” he said. “They called me because they already knew who we are and the impact we’re having.”
“Content paved the way,” he said.