THE ONLINE MARKETING BLOG DEVOTED TO MANUFACTURERS

4x more effective than traditional advertising, content marketing is king. Jim Huebner

If you hadn't noticed, the buzz about content marketing and its importance in the mix only seems to be growing louder. And that might seem strange due to the fact that the strategy has been around for ages.

Take John Deere's magazine The Furrow as an example.

The Furrow has been entertaining, informing and engaging farmers since 1895. Is it useful to those working in the fields? Absolutely. Is it subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) promoting John Deere products in the process? Certainly. And does it build greater loyalty among its dealer network? Well, given the fact the publication is distributed BY their dealers, the answer is a resounding YES! And because it's linked to extremely relevant and useful information, consumers not only accept it...they embrace it.

That's the beauty of content marketing. Engagement with the brand lasts longer. Messaging is more trusted. And as a result, according to the Content Marketing Institute, it can be four times more effective than traditional advertising.

But if it's so effective...and always has been so effective... then why is the buzz about it now at record decibels? Because the Internet has introduced entirely new ways to build brands through content marketing.

Apps, websites, eNewsletters, blogs, social sites, webinars, podcasts, email, videos and the extremely effective distribution thereof have only come on to the scene within the last decade or so. Before that, content marketing was mostly print, with some sponsored television and radio programs sprinkled in for good measure.

Today, it truly seems to be only limited by the imagination. But before we look at a few of my favorite examples from this new age of content marketing, keep in mind the overarching purpose of marketing to build familiarity, then trust, then preference... with the ultimate goal of a premium brand commanding a higher price. See if these content marketing examples lend themselves to meeting that objective...

BLENDTEC

To promote his powerful blender, entrepreneur Tom Dickson took to YouTube to show off its capabilities. The "Will It Blend" series was launched, and one demonstration alone (blending an iPad) received over 16 million views.

CHARMIN

Charmin's free SitOrSquat smartphone app features crowdsourced feedback on where users can find clean public restrooms in their area. It's been downloaded more than 100,000 times, building lots of buzz, increased engagement with the brand, and a more sanitary America along the way.

WILLIAMS-SONOMA

This company's Taste blog covers such topics as recipes, drinks, cooking, entertaining...everything but their actual products. And that's what makes it so appealing to consumers. No selling. Just relevant, useful information resulting in consumers more endeared to the brand.

Convinced your brand could benefit from better content marketing?

Try building your plan this way:

Pinpoint your target audience.
Develop your story by deciding what unique thing you want to communicate about your brand.
Decide which channels will serve you best for telling your story and don't overlook your channel partners.
Select a method for measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategies.