What is content marketing? A simple explainer

Hey, I’m Chris. I wrote this article and I’m also the founder and Editor of DailyTekk. Lets connect on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Check back daily!

Content marketing is simply the act of creating content (such as a blog post or video) that introduces potential customers to a product or company without seeming like an ad. That’s it!

But there are two major keys to running a successful content marketing campaign. The first is to embed a mention of your product or company, along with a link, within useful and relevant information that people are genuinely interested in (versus information you WANT them to be interested in). The second is to ensure your content gets seen by publishing it where your target audience is likely to consume it.

For example, if you’ve created a new app or gadget it would make sense to publish an article that mentions and links to your product on an influential tech blog. Of course you can’t just snap your fingers and have an article published on The Verge or in the tech sections of The New York Times or Buzzfeed. Still, there is an effective way to get your content in front of your desired audience.

Increasingly, many publishers are offering sponsored content opportunities — or paid article placements. Unfortunately large sites (and influencer marketing companies) often charge thousands of dollars for the privilege — which removes paid content marketing as a viable option for many startups. But affordable, lucrative deals can be found.

DailyTekk connects startups willing to invest a bit of time writing high-quality content themselves with a tech-centric audience. This saves startups money by eliminating the need to pay an influencer to create and promote content on their behalf. By submitting articles, startups can place their sponsored content on DailyTekk.com — a tech blog that reaches millions of technophiles annually — for an ultra-low startup-friendly price! This deal is available exclusively to tech startups; established companies have to pay full price (and they do: companies like Microsoft, eBay, Sony, Bose and HTC have all run sponsored content campaigns on DailyTekk).

But what does content marketing actually look like? In a word: “helpful.” In terms of written content marketing efforts, the types of articles that tend to perform the best are how-to’s, guides, explainers or curated lists. Additionally, it’s worth considering publishing research or case studies.

It might be helpful to think of content marketing as telling stories where your product or company is A main character (as opposed to THE main character). The best content marketing tells stories where the product or company is so intrinsically intertwined with the narrative that the story couldn’t possibly be told without mentioning them.

Think about it for a moment. What stories can’t be told without mentioning your startup? What questions do people have that you or your team are perfectly poised to answer? What recommendation(s) can you make to save a person from wasting an hour researching something? These types of questions will help you find a good starting point for your content marketing efforts.

Here’s an example. If your startup wanted to get the word out about a new weather app you created, your team could create an article titled, “Why are there so many weather apps?” to provide a thoughtful answer to the question based on your team’s experience which (not coincidentally) highlights the app you built in the process. Alternatively (or better yet additionally) you could write articles titled, “5 things your favorite weather app is missing,” or, “How to choose the best weather app.” The more relevant and useful articles you can get in front of your target audience, the more visibility, traffic and buzz your content can generate.

And content marketing works just as well for spreading the word about gadgets and hardware as it does for apps and services. I’m sticking with my technology example here, as this is a tech site, but it works across all product categories as well.

Like anything worth doing it does take some practice to learn what works and what doesn’t, but the payoff can be huge. For example, the top articles on DailyTekk are viewed about 50,000 times each month (on average) and send between 11,000 and 17,000 clicks offsite (each!). Plus, many rank #1 in Google search results. Now imagine if your startup got a few high-performing articles like that in front of an audience of tech lovers with links pointed at your site or app profile?

Now lets step back and look at the bigger picture. When you stop paying for an ad campaign through Google or Facebook, your ads immediately stop displaying and that extra exposure dries up. With sponsored content marketing, on the other hand, you pay once for a placement and that content continues to pay off as long as it remains relevant (which could be for years to come if an article is well-crafted around an “evergreen” subject).

On the flip side of the coin, content marketing campaigns sometimes take more time to reach peak performance than traditional ad campaigns due to factors like search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword competition.

There’s one more difference between ads and content marketing. Whereas an ad is often seen as an intrusion, proper content marketing is perceived as a valuable (and appreciated) resource.

By the way, this content marketing primer that you’ve just about finished reading is an example of what a content marketing article could look like. In the process of teaching you about content marketing, you were also introduced to the fact that DailyTekk is making sponsored content affordable for tech startups!

If you or someone on your team can write a blog post then you can get it in front of DailyTekk’s targeted audience of tech enthusiasts. Just contact us to get started.

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