Ask Global Wire Associates: Content Marketing

We receive a lot of questions on a regular basis about some of the latest trends and issues in technology and social innovation.  We are starting a new feature here where we open up our brain trust and answer your questions.

I work for a small not-for-profit company in Johannesberg and I also own a part-time catering business. I hear that content is a hot word right now.  I am always reading about content marketing.  What does it mean exactly and how can entrepreneurs and NGOs start doing content?  I would like to implement online strategies for both of my organizations. – Muriel Kalenga, Johannesburg, South Africa

Content sure is a pretty hot word right now.  As a matter of fact, content is king.  Specifically, content marketing is the strategic technique of planning, developing and distributing informational content (written, oral, visual etc.) with a clearly defined brand to attract more customers or supporters.  Branded content can be presented in a variety of media, including websites, social media, e-books, newsletters, videos, pod-casts etc.  The Virgin Group and Red Bull have been making big waves in the content arena lately.  However, many small businesses and non-profits/NGOs are also taking advantage of the new opportunities the Internet presents.  Remember, content is content and the same rules apply across the board, whether you run a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop shop or a small charity.  Content that is high-quality, helpful and relevant to your audience is key to growing your operation.

The anatomy of content marketing - the heart of online success

When you begin your content strategy, think about your organization’s mission, what makes it unique, who is its audience, and how will it publish those ideas to the masses.  Once you solidify those ideas, you then want to play to your strengths and use vehicles you are most comfortable using for delivering your strategy.  Those vehicles could include writing articles or e-books, creating videos or pod-casts and interacting with customers/supporters through social media.  Along the way you want to track your success and make changes to your strategy when necessary.  The most successful content strategies are those that are consistent and make the most out of everyone’s time and resources to get the job done.

Small Business Examples:

Mari Luangrath started her cupcake online ordering business, Foiled Cupcakes, in 2009.  When she first started the business, she was not able to take orders on her website for the first six weeks.  Instead, Luangrath started tweeting and blogging.  In six weeks, Foiled Cupcakes grew from 0 customers to 2,200 targeted followers on social media in less than 6 weeks, attracted national media attention, and beat their sales targets by 600 percent.

Lauren Luke, former cab driver from London, started her make-up empire, Style By Lauren, by posting “how-to” videos on YouTube (and didn’t spend any money to make them).

Pat Flynn was laid off from his job as an architect in 2008.  Five years later, he runs a popular pod-cast and blog that helps other small businesses with online marketing and sales solutions.

Nonprofit examples:

The Make-A-Wish Foundation puts video wishes on its YouTube channel, publishes every granted wish on its website, and shares content on Facebook and Twitter.

charity: water launched an online video campaign to thank supporters who helped the organization raise the US$42 million dollars needed to launch 4,282 water projects to 2 million people in need during its fifth anniversary.

Got a question for us? Send us an email at info(at)globalwireonline(dot)org with “Ask Global Wire Associates” in the subject line.

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