Content marketing is one of the hottest things in SEO and digital marketing. All the experts talk about it. They write blogs, record videos, and hold seminars intended to teach commoners how to use content marketing to build their own online empires. Unfortunately, a lot of them miss the boat entirely.
The thing that makes content marketing work extremely well – its secret sauce, so to speak – isn’t as complicated as you might think. In fact, it is quite simple. Think of it like the secret sauce of your favorite hamburger joint.
Just Thousand Island Dressing
I remember visiting a nationally known hamburger chain for the first time back in the 1970s. I had just entered my teenage years, and I had every intention of using that first visit to enjoy the chain’s number one burger with all the fixings. I was most interested in their special sauce. Even back then I was a foodie, and I wanted to know what was so special about that sauce.
Imagine my distress when I discovered, years later, that the special sauce was little more than Thousand Island dressing. I had to ask myself why it worked so well on that particular burger. Once I got past the hype and started thinking about the actual construction of the product, I realized that the burger actually had a salad on top of it.
In addition to meat and cheese, the burger also had a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. And when you get right down to it, pickles are just cucumbers. Furthermore, Thousand Island dressing was created to make salads taste better. Combine it with the salad you are placing on top of a beef patty with cheese, and you have a winning combination.
Giving People What Already Tastes Good
Now, let us take this back to the concept of content marketing. Content marketing’s secret sauce is as simple as giving people what already tastes good to them. If you are consumer looking to take a Caribbean vacation this winter, how would you rather learn about your options? Would you rather sit through two hours of promotional videos produced by destination resorts and their slick marketing departments, or sit down and talk about your options with friends who have already visited the Caribbean?
People have a natural tendency of bristling when they know they are being marketed to. On the other hand, most people appreciate sitting down having good conversations. It is the difference between being talked at and conversing with people. Therein lies the secret sauce of successful content marketing.
Content Should Be Engaging
Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing explains the secret sauce as engaging consumers. Written content should be more conversational than technical in style. The obvious exception is when writing blog posts or informational articles intended for a more technical audience. To engage everyday consumers though, a conversational style that reflects how they think is the most effective way to reach them.
This post is an example of the conversational concept. Note that it isn’t filled with lots of empty facts and figures that don’t mean much beyond the reference materials from which they come. This post is conversational. And guess what? The fact that you have read this far proves that you have been engaged.
The secret sauce of content marketing is producing content that engages consumers wherever they are at. It informs without patronizing. It is competent without being complicated. Above all, it is both interesting and relevant enough to be useful by those who consume it. It is really that simple.