I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably too much.

I blame Steve Jobs. He’s the guy who created the iPhone. And for most of us, including me, the phone has become an essential ‘tool for everything.’ Mr Jobs’ creation and subsequent copies have changed the world.

The rise of content marketing

Content marketing isn’t new. It’s been around since as far back as John Deere’s consumer magazine Furrow, which was first published in 1895. However, thanks to the internet, content marketing has been thrust from the status of a marketing maybe to a marketing must-have — everyone’s talking about it.

The last three years have seen more content created than in the last 40,000! Consequently, a sizeable chunk of my work as a freelance writer involves creating content for my clients’ content marketing strategies.

Despite more businesses jumping aboard the ‘content marketing bus,’ many still don’t know what content marketing is or, at least, what all the fuss is about.

Couch surfing

To relax, I like to stretch out on my couch with my smart phone — usually with the TV or radio still on — and surf the net. During a recent ‘couch-surfing’ session, a Facebook post caught my eye. It was titled Coffee shop prank: Do you believe in telekinesis?

I love prank videos, so I clicked.

Little coffee shop of horrors

Here’s what happened.

The video is set in a coffee shop. There are technicians constructing a fake wall and actors rehearsing. Later, when the coffee shop is full of customers, the fun begins.

A guy spills coffee on a girl’s laptop causing a loud altercation to ensue.

What happens next is hilarious.

In her anger, the girl reaches towards the guy and, without touching, sends him flying up the fake wall (with the help of a hidden cable).

The looks on peoples’ faces are priceless.

Then, as if she’s having some kind of psychotic episode, the girl uses apparent supernatural power to move tables and chairs around her.

For the grand finale, the girl lets out a blood-curdling scream causing books and picture frames to fall to the floor.

I got reeled in

At the end I realised the video was part of a marketing campaign to promote the upcoming Carrie movie. Did I feel cheated? No. In fact, I enjoyed the video so much that I shared it with my friends.

Carrie

Coffee shop prank was created by New York-based viral video marketing company Thinkmodo. They previously made the news with a video showing a man hacking video screens in Times Square to promote the movie Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper.

Since Coffee shop prank was uploaded to YouTube, it has received over 36.5 million views — including mine.

Why I blame Steve Jobs

By creating the iPhone, Steve Jobs made the internet accessible to almost everyone. Of course, it was already accessible thanks to computer and software innovations by the likes of Apple and Microsoft. However, the iPhone has pushed internet accessibility to another dimension.

People can now educate and entertain themselves from anywhere, including, like me, the couch. This is fantastic for consumers but has caused headaches for marketers. Marketers could once rely on a captive audience for their advertising pitches. Now, when adverts interrupt a TV show, people zone out and reach for their mobile devices.

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A tougher time for salespeople

A big part of a sales person’s job is educating clients about products or services. Here’s the problem: information is now so accessible that consumers can often educate themselves. Consequently, it is becoming harder for salespeople to make appointments, particularly from cold calls.

The solution

Businesses must create content for their customers to find. It may seem odd for a freelance writer to write about a video, but it’s a perfect example of great content marketing. Thinkmodo created a highly entertaining video that people would watch and share. Viewers learned about the Carrie movie’s upcoming release by being entertained, not by having an advert forced on them.

The good news for businesses that invest in great content is that incoming prospects are more likely to become customers. This is because many will have already educated themselves on the businesses’ products or services online.

Content marketing is also estimated to be 60% cheaper than outbound marketing. This is because there is no cold calling to couldn’t-care-less prospects and no scatter-gun advertising campaigns reaching not only the target customer, but everyone in between.

Types of content

Content marketing isn’t just for video makers — far from it. There are all kinds of content you can create, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Case studies
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics.

What makes good content?

Content, whether it’s a video,  blog post or infographic, must have value. It should educate or entertain — or both. Don’t create content just because you think it’ll achieve a better Google ranking. If it doesn’t add value it won’t.

Imagine your clients researching products or services online. The idea is to create content that will assist them in their research and position your company as having the right answers.

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Related posts:

Why content writers are like gym junkies

How this guy uses content marketing to win more business

What is content marketing and why is it powerful?

  1. Great write up on content marketing Andrew, ironically I saw that video but not the promotion for Carrie, I wonder if I just missed the link or if the video has been reused?

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