WHAT IS CONTENT?
An absurd question to ask? Not quite. Come to think of it, your whole content marketing strategy and everything that you do related to it will rely on.
If you said content is any blog you write, any video you create, any podcast audio you record, any infographic you share, any meme, any opinion, any quote, any data, anything that disseminates information and educates or enlightens your reader, listener or viewer on a particular subject…
I would say yes and a resounding Noooooooo.
Content is a frigging “product” that you are trying to sell. Why? Not to get too abstract about it, let’s first talk about what a PRODUCT is.
A product or a service is “anything” that your prospect is actively looking for to solve a problem or achieve a particular outcome, and would even pay you money to own or have access to it.
Pay attention: I said ANYTHING.
Which means when a 15-year old lady Googles “what is melatonin hormone”, she is actively looking for a solution to her insomnia problem. When she searches for “what are the side effects for reduced sleep time?”, she is still bothered with her insomnia problem and is thinking about it. When she searches “how to sleep better”, she is looking for potential solutions.
The thing is, when someone has a problem and he or she is actively looking for a solution for the pain or wants to achieve an outcome, he does not simply search for “ABC brand eye mask, please!” (assuming that’s your product). They look for answers to a plethora of RELATED questions first.
And that’s when they come across your piece of content. It is either too bland, rehashed and boring, driving your potential customers forever, or exciting, informational and satisfactory, making them continue further into the next step―that is, entering your funnel.
For me, content is the first PRODUCT your potential customer chooses to go with over that of your competitors. When your target audience engages with your YouTube video instead of your competitor’s, you just sold them the piece of content. It is free but still a commodity with a utility.
The content product matches the stage of the buyer’s journey y0ur potential customer is at right now. If he is still focused on knowing more about the problem, your content explains multiple aspects of the problem. Okay, after discovering more about the problem, if he is studying and choosing between different solutions, focus on the kind of solution you offer. Now that he knows which kind of solution he needs, why not tell him that you are the best person to provide it to him. When the prospect reaches this stage, a simple promotional copy (like an email, a magazine ad or a sales letter) might work.
Marketing is a conversation, and your target audience is a woman. While your competitors are looking to start a conversation with her, the pickup line (your piece of content―TOFU, MOFU or BOFU) you just spouted out caught her attention since it matched her state of mind, and she chose to speak with you.
That line, that content, is a product, my friend.