Content marketing is a different way of promoting your business than direct sales advertising – here’s how it works.

To put it simply, content marketing is all about expertise and authority. It is a way of promoting your business, where you create content like blogs, videos, and social media posts which show your expertise in your specific industry.

So how does this drive sales? Isn’t it more useful to just promote your products and services directly?

Well sales talk can be offputting – especially on social media sites. We’ve all had people connect with us on LinkedIn just so they can message to directly sell their products – and how many of those messages lead you to actually buy something from them?

With content marketing, it’s more of a soft and gentle approach. You’re establishing yourself as an industry expert, so that when people do want to make a purchase, it’s you that they come to. 

Essentially, it’s playing the long game. And it works.


Content marketing reaches an audience that is more likely to buy

Let me give you an example from my own personal life.

I’m addicted to my smartphone, and I absolutely hate that. My new year’s resolution was to spend more time off it, and more time learning languages and to play the piano. And I’ve absolutely failed.

So I’ve got this in my mind. I’m not actively searching for an answer, but I do think about it regularly.

Recently I was scrolling the BBC website (hello addiction), and I see an article called: ‘There really is more to life than posting on Instagram.’ And because of what is playing on my mind, I click on this article to see if there’s an answer.

As part of this content, they speak to a psychotherapist about this issue, and it mentions that she’s written a book called: ‘the phone addiction workbook’. There is no link to this book anywhere in the article. But Hilda Burke is presented in the content as an expert on the issue, so I trust her work, and I google the book myself and buy it immediately.

I have no previous knowledge of this psychotherapist. No-one has spoken to me and said how great the book is. I didn’t even see any online reviews. But a trusted organisation like the BBC presented her as an authority on the issue, so therefore I wanted to buy the solution she was offering.

Content marketing works because it establishes trust, and connects you to people like me, who already knew they had a problem that needed fixing. They just need to be presented with the solution. 


Video is great for content marketing

So that was an example of a written article. So how does video work as part of a content marketing strategy?

Essentially, it’s a very effective way of establishing your authority. You can convey your personality and expertise ‘almost’ face to face, and people are more likely to trust a person they can see or hear, compared to words on the screen. This is where explainer videos are fantastic. 

Say you’re a company which makes fantastic cast iron pans. To come up with good topics for explainer videos, (or blogs, it’s the same concept here) think about the common questions potential customers who want a good quality pan might ask:

‘How to maintain the non-stick coating on a pan’

‘Why are cast iron pans better?’

‘How long can a cast iron pan last if properly maintained?’

With these questions, the customer has indicated they might want to buy a cast iron pan, but hasn’t decided where from. By creating content which answers these questions, you’re showing your authority, and indicating that your pans are likely to be of excellent quality since you know so much about them. So they come to you to make the purchase.

Another example of this is ‘how-to’ videos, or training videos. For example, I created a series of training videos related to steering gear components for Direct Parts Ltd in Cheddleton, Staffordshire. The videos covered topics such as how to fit the steering gear to a car, and how to properly maintain it.


The people who search questions like this in Google are going to be part of the industry, people who buy parts like this on a regular basis. Therefore the training videos establish the company’s expertise, an increase the chance of those people buying from Direct Parts Ltd.


Content marketing doesn’t just work online

All of the examples from above are of online examples; web articles; video content on your website or social media.

But content marketing also works offline as well – for example with articles written in trade magazines or local leaflets.

One example that sticks with me is from when I worked at a radio station.

We were doing a topic on a phone in show, which was something like learning new skills as adults (forgive me for not remembering the actual question, it was years ago!)

As part of this, we spoke to someone who ran art workshops for adults in Telford.

They weren’t calling to directly promote their workshops. We didn’t mentioned sessions times, price information, or contact details.

All they spoke about was their experience of teaching art to adults, how rewarding it is, and how it is definitely possible to learn new skills as you get older.

Just after they’d finished the interview, a listener rang up requesting the details of the class as they’d been looking for something like that for a while.

Boom. At least one sale made from a five minute conversation on the phone. 


If you’re interested in finding out more about how content marketing could work for your business, then you can book a free 30 minute consultation to talk through the options.