What Exactly is Content Marketing?
Updated: May 17
I know it sounds so businesslike and vague, but trust me it's not as scary as you think. But before I get into the definition of content marketing and why it can be your best friend when it comes to promoting your brand and business, let’s take a second to watch this Star Wars Trailer.
If you're a Star Wars fan like me, you totally lost your mind when this trailer came out! You knew from the second it was over you were going to buying tickets to go see this movie. Now that trailer dropped about two months before the release of the movie. It pushed every single Star Wars nerd button there was to push in that bite-size teaser.
That my friends, is an example of brilliant content marketing.
What is Content Marketing
The official definition of content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material that doesn't explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Let’s break down each part of that definition and see how it fits into what we do as fiction authors and as editors.
The creation and sharing of online material
Content includes social media posts like Instagram posts and tweets. Content includes videos whether their pre-recorded videos for YouTube or live videos for Instagram or Facebook. Emails like author newsletters, free short stories or book snippets you share online, and beautiful character art images are also considered content.
… that doesn't explicitly promote a brand
The key here is not to outright tell people “Buy my Book” every time you share something online. People today don’t want to be sold to and businesses have already caught on to this. You can see in the commercials you watch on TV every day. Instead of starting out by telling you to buy their product, they tell a story of how their product either solved a problem or did something wonderful for someone.
So what does that mean for us as fiction authors? That means telling a story about the inspiration behind a character, why you chose the genre you write in, or what writing this book has taught you in the content you create.
…but is intended to stimulate interest in his product or services.
In our case, that means stirring up interest in our novels or editing services. The key to doing this successfully is knowing what makes your ideal reader or client tick. Like the Star Wars trailer, we talked about, the Kingdom of Disney knows what nerdy people like me need to see in order to get excited. The lightsaber, the spaceship, Rey in the dessert – all those elements in that trailer stimulated interest in that movie.
So when it comes to this part of content marketing, it's super important to know who your ideal reader is. They are going to dictate the things missing in their reading lives that you're going to give them in a way that gains their attention.
Why Authors and Editors Need to Do Content Marketing
Okay, so now that we know what content marketing is, why is it something we need to do in order to promote our writer businesses and brands? Like I mentioned before, people don’t want to be sold to (and I’m pretty sure we all can relate to that!) Readers don’t want to see e 20 million “buy my books” posts. Writers don’t want to only hear about your editing services.
When it comes to marketing these days, it's all about the reader. What can you do for them? How can you solve their problem? How can you entertain them? How can you give them what they want so that way they can know and trust you? Content marketing is so effective because, by its mere definition, it's not about explicitly promoting your brand. It's about stimulating interest in your books and services. It's about giving people the information and entertainment that really speaks to them. Once readers know and trust you, your books sell themselves. You know when your content marketing is working when you don't have to be sales-y or feel bad promoting yourself. Instead, you’re supporting your community, giving them what you know they already wanted in the first place.
So what is something you can create that can connect with your ideal reader?