What is content marketing? Q&A with Marcus Sheridan

Are you a business owner and wondering what all the fuss is around content marketing?

If so, it’s likely that you have some burning questions about content marketing, for example:

  1. What is content marketing?
  2. Why not just use traditional marketing?
  3. What is the biggest secret in content marketing?
  4. Why does content build relationships?
  5. Why is content marketing a long term strategy?
  6. Are there any circumstances where you cannot use content marketing?

One of our favourite content marketers from the US, Marcus Sheridan, was recently filmed by Brand Movers answering these common questions about content marketing. We have placed the six short video clips into this article and compiled his answers.

Once you have watched the videos we’d very much like to you to share your own thoughts, opinions and experiences.

One – What is content marketing?

According to Marcus Sheridan, content marketing is about 3 things:

  1. Teaching people, in a digital way, about what you do and how you can solve their problems
  2. Providing information and being viewed as a trusted source of information
  3. They ask, you answer

While the term content marketing may be a technical one, listening to Marcus speak, you can see that it does not have to be that technical. If you provide information that is easy for people to understand, without acronyms, marketing jargon or long technical words, your consumers will get it.

Your Turn

  1. What do you think content marketing is?
  2. How do you explain to others what content marketing is?
  3. How can you help your audience using content marketing?

Two – Why not just use traditional marketing?

These days we no longer shop and think in a traditional way. Before we purchase anything we conduct research online, we vet a business via their website, we ask friends opinions, etc. So if consumers are not shopping traditionally then it would follow that traditional marketing techniques will not be as effective as they once were. To be effective, you need to use content marketing to encourage people to stay on your website longer, to engage in a “dance”. The more a consumer sees and knows about your business, the more they will love what you do and the more likely they will become a customer.

Your Turn

  1. Why do you think content marketing is better than traditional marketing?
  2. How do you see the distinction between content marketing and traditional marketing in your business?
  3. Have you had different/interesting results for traditional vs content?

Three – What is the biggest secret in content marketing?

The biggest secret in content marketing is to teach, begin by listening and answer any question a customer has. By turning these answers into blogs you then have an infinite amount of content. However, really, there are no secrets in content marketing, at least according to Marcus Sheridan. This is just good old fashioned common sense and if you do this, Google, people and customers will trust you.

Your Turn

  1. What is the one thing you have learnt about content marketing that you think everyone should know?
  2. What is currently working very well for your business that you can share with other business owners?

Four – Why does content build relationships?

A difficult questions to answer, Marcus compares it to asking why do you love your first grade teacher? The answer to that questions is because she taught you things that you didn’t know. In a way, the answer is the same for the first question.

Content marketing builds relationship because it teaches people about things that they didn’t know and helps them in a way that is not patronising and does not make them feel stupid. It makes they feel empowered and motivated to think “I understand this, and I can do it”. There is no hidden motive to content marketing, it is just simply teaching people and letting them do what they wish with what you tell them.

Your Turn

  1. Tell us about a relationship you have built as a result of content marketing
  2. Do you think your business and your audience could benefit from this approach?

Five – Many people say content marketing is too slow, what would you say to these people?

What Marcus says to them is that they are short sighted. He provides an example of how you can write an article one day, have it picked up by a search engine the next, read by a customer and converted into a sale the next. In contrast to this Marcus also shows how over the long term, content marketing can be used to funnel people through to customers, by providing them with content in the right way at the right time. If you think content marketing is too slow then you are not using it in the right way.

Your Turn

  1. Are you seeing results from your content marketing strategy?
  2. Is being ‘too short sighted’ holding you back from implementing your content strategy?

Six – Are there any circumstances where you cannot use content marketing?

As Marcus says there are certain industries that have regulations that may restrict how you use content marketing, but there are also ways around it. Sometimes you cannot use content alone, but also require social marketing, it depends on your industry. Marcus uses his swimming pool business as an example of an industry that is not very social and so relied on content alone to generate leads. This would not be as successful in a sales or service business which is socially driven and relies on shares and likes on social platforms to generate leads. There is no one best way, you have to find out what works for your industry.

Your Turn

  1. Have you found a situation where content marketing is not working for you or not working in your industry?
  2. What works well in your industry?
  3. Do you think there is a specific industry where content marketing just doesn’t work?

Six key points from Marcus Sheridan

  1. There are 3 key components of content marketing: Teach, provide and answer.
  2. Consumers do not shop traditionally, so traditional marketing is not enough.
  3. There are no secrets in content marketing and if there are, you should share them with others.
  4. It is difficult to explain why content marketing build relationships…it just does.
  5. Those who think content marketing is too slow, are approaching it incorrectly.
  6. There are some instances where content marketing may not be enough for your industry.

For more words of wisdom from Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, click here to read our summary and main content marketing lessons from a recent conference by Marcus Sheridan.

Listen to Chris’ marketing academy podcast with Marcus Sheridan

Please answer the questions and join the conversation in the comments section below.

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About Melissa Coombs

Melissa Coombs is a Business and Marketing Graduate from Edinburgh University. Showcasing the best examples of content marketing and educating business owners on the benefits of content marketing for their business