Content marketing is becoming increasingly popular. And filmmakers need to know about content marketing - to market their own films but also because there are growing opportunities for filmmakers who want to work for brands making interesting and valuable content.
What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as "a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
In other words, content marketers create and curate valuable communications. Instead of traditional ads, content marketers think about what their customers and potential customers need to know. Then they provide that content. Content marketing is not about selling - it's about providing content that serves their customers and builds loyalty.
For example, the Michelin Guide, that first appeared in 1900, is NOT an ad for tires. Published and distributed as a service to the customers and potential customers of a tire company - the Michelin Guides identify that brand with quality. The Michelin Guide to hotels and restaurants is therefore a great example of content marketing that doesn't overtly sell. The Michelin Guide delivers information that Michelin's audience finds valuable - identifying Michelin with the best in travel and dining while providing a valuable service.
Why is content marketing becoming so hot right now?
Content marketing is surging in popularity right now in part because traditional ads just aren't working like they used to.
Many companies are finding that their traditional ads are being ignored. In part, that's because technology (e.g., the time-shifting DVR with a fast forward button, the "mute" button on computers, etc.) is making it easier to avoid recorded commercials. And the audience has become much more adept at avoiding old school print ads, and even banner ads and pop-ups. Finally, even the promise of social media as a platform for traditional ads is being questioned by brand managers, because an overt sales pitch in a Facebook newsfeed may actually end up hurting a brand (who wants to buy from a spammer?).
How is content marketing different from (better than?) ads?
Content marketers create - and sometimes encourage the audience to create - meaningful content.
The goal of content marketing is to attract, acquire, and engage your audience.
The ways of attracting an audience are numerous - but truly entertaining videos and useful information (like the Michelin Guide) are good places for a content marketer to start.
Remember, converting your audience's engagement into sales is the ultimate goal - but content marketing is NOT about selling: "Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty."
According to a July 4th, 2012 post to Marketing Week, the amount that will be spent on content marketing this year is expected to "rise significantly." That growth means jobs for filmmakers who can create the content that a brand's audience is seeking.