Proud to be a New Zealander

One of the biggest recent trends in marketing is 'content marketing'. We should all produce useful 'content' to attract and engage customers. As a marketer I'm used to this term being volleyed around but to the non-marketer what does content actually mean?

con·tent noun \ˈkän-ˌtent\

the principal substance (as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a World Wide Web site
— merriam-webster.com

That's not altogether helpful. How about this: blog posts, YouTube videos, tweets, Instagram photos - these are all examples of content. Almost anything you can dream up to share with your customers and potential customers that raises awareness of what you're doing can be called content. All the better if it provides an opportunity for them to interact and engage with you. Even better if it's so cool that your customers want to share it with their friends.

Ultimately you want to create stuff that attracts customers to you, rather than you having to chase them. Is it valuable information to your customer? Great. Lots of marketers like to say that content marketing is storytelling. I like this definition best as it lessens the focus on the real purpose of creating content which is to sell more of your s**t. 

So you're just telling your story. What if mine is so boring that nobody would give a toss? Well that's the job of marketing baby, to make anything sound cool.

Of course it goes without saying that it has to be cool for the people you're trying to sell to. And that will be another post: identifying your best customers.

For now let's leave it at this. Your content needs to tell your story, what you stand for. It needs to be interesting, compelling even. The deeper the emotional connection the better - really funny, really cool, really gorgeous, little-known facts, extremely thought-provoking.

If you're in business you need to have a strong point of view that people are receptive to. People need to know why you exist and feel viscerally emotional about it. These are the words of Everlane founder Michael Preysman.

Everlane has a story, it's called radical transparency, which means they keep no secrets in their business. Nobody wants to think that their designer t shirt or Italian leather handbag was made by a nine year old child in a crowded factory in Southern China, right? Everlane has made it their mission to find factories that treat their staff well or employ centuries-old craftsman techniques or provide stable jobs for Americans. I find this story very compelling. My husband on the other hand is cynical about it, especially the smiling factory workers. That's OK, he's obviously not in their target market but maybe I am. So it's really important to understand what your peeps are into and care about. Check out the factory page on Everlane. I love it. What do you think? Just curious.

At the top of this post I linked to a video. It's from wool clothing company Ibex. I'm a New Zealander. I love wool. I could go to the store and buy an Italian merino wool cardigan for about $40. It would be lovely and I'd enjoy feeling warm. I have a whole wardrobe full of similarly purchased items. But when a friend asks me where I get all my sweaters I always say Ibex. It's got that cool factor. These videos featuring New Zealand farmers make my heart ache for home and burst with pride even though I am a city girl who has barely set foot on a sheep farm! What is it then that I like about these videos? The passion the farmers have for their work, the pride they feel knowing their wool is being used by a company that appreciates it, their commitment to sustainable farming and the rich history that they share. I know why Ibex exists. I feel deeply emotional about what they are doing. It's content marketing at its best!

So what's your story?

More Ibex Farmer profiles here.