Content Marketing: The Definitive Guide
Content marketing in its simplest form is the creation and distribution of content across multiple channels. It can also be referred to as inbound marketing, which tends to denote that the content is hosted on a website. The opposite of content marketing is good old-fashioned advertising, in which the product is front and centre and the action required from the consumer is to buy, buy, buy. Content marketing takes a different approach as it looks to inform, educate, and subtly motivate a consumer towards a certain subject or product.
Focusing on the leisure industry, let’s take fitness memberships as a working example. For years leisure centres and fitness clubs have advertised fitness memberships with copy such as – you know the drill – “Gym, Swim, Classes, from £25 per month, join today”. This message is aimed directly at customers actively looking to purchase a membership and seeks the low hanging fruit. A content marketing approach avoids talking about purchasing a product, instead looking to add value to a customer’s decision-making process.
A simple example of this would be creating a blog on your website that talks about the benefits of exercise and how your staff and facilities help customers achieve their goals. This will appeal to a much greater audience as there’s always more people thinking about joining a gym than actually making the decision to join. This highlights a potential problem for a lot of leisure organisations looking at content marketing – buying lag. Content-based strategies often have a longer waiting period between a customer viewing your product or content and making a purchase. Nobody wakes up one morning and buys a fitness membership without having gone through a series of decision-making processes. If you want to read the psychology behind the ‘stages of change’ model, then take a moment to do so here.
Combining content marketing and advertising places your product at multiple stages that a customer moves through. The sales funnel below is an updated version of the “leads – tours – sales” funnel many sales and marketing professionals have stood by for the last 30 years.
A great example of a leisure business with a content-based strategy is Joe Wicks, otherwise known as The Body Coach, who pumps out huge amounts of free content to add value and build a fan base for his products. The Joe Wicks machines estimate that it takes 6-12 weeks to convert a follower into a paying customer. Think about for that for a second: Joe Wicks is prepared to provide up to 3 months of free content in order to get a new customer. How much time do you invest in nurturing potential customers?
So where do you start and what content do you need to create? If you start with blogs, then a good writer within your team can probably begin immediately and pump out a couple of quick articles. However, don’t produce content just for the sake of filling space on your website, and make sure you always write with your audience in mind: what’s important to you might not be important to your customers.
Here’s 8 blog ideas to get you started:
Blogs aren’t for everyone, though, and we’re not all good at writing lengthy articles. This is where you need to stop thinking about content as consisting solely of blogs and articles. There are lots of opportunities to create content without being an author!
So next time someone in your organisation starts asking for content ideas think outside the box and don’t just think about articles. If in doubt just do a little R+D, that’s Rip-off and Duplicate to you and me! There is tons of fitness-related content out there already. Why not explore what fits with your organisation and take inspiration from it, re-create it, and promote it on your channels.