Content marketing is all about creating valuable content and giving it away for free, in the hopes of building trust with your audience of likely buyers.

And Hit Subscribe’s MO is content marketing. So what’s our complete take on the question “what is content marketing?” Our founders, Amanda and Erik, can give you some answers you might be looking for.

Much of Amanda and Erik’s learning about marketing has been experiential and self-taught.

And since they’ve learned their marketing skills in a boots-on-the-ground kind of fashion, their advice and response to “what is marketing” is going to be shaped around content marketing in a specific way, rather than in a broad or theoretical way like what you would hear in a class.

Not Everyone Is Going to be Your Customer

Before you can get anywhere in marketing, you have to narrow down your audience. You can’t just expect your content to be a smashing success for literally everyone in the world.

Think about it like this: if you were a barbecue joint, would you put all of your energy into trying to reach the vegan and vegetarian audiences out there, or would you rather focus on marketing your product for meat lovers?

So in the world of marketing, you have to think about dividing the world into two buckets: the people who aren’t interested in your product, and then your prospective buyers or your target audience.

Where Does the Content Marketing Part Come in Then?

OK, so you’ve honed in on your potential buyers or your audience. Now what? Now can we get to content marketing?

Yes, no worries. Let’s get into our definition now. Content marketing is a specific and narrow set of marketing that is focused on producing content, although unlike what you might be familiar with.

When you think of traditional marketing, you might think about mailers and events raising brand awareness, or promotional things, ect. Content marketing is something different—you’re actually producing content. And that content has value in and of itself. And that is a critical differentiator versus what you might be doing now.

Content marketing is when you’re producing something that hasvalue, and that you could theoretically sell, but you’re not going to right away. Instead, you’re going to write a white paper or produce a video or do a Facebook live that explains something to people that they’re interested in consuming.

What’s the Point in That? How Does Content Marketing Work?

The reason you want to do this kind of a long play is to get people to associate your brand with value and, essentially, start to trust you. When a consumer self selects a brand, they’re normally asking themselves, “Do I like this content? Do I like this brand, or not?” And so content marketing, in the broadest sense, is the delivery of that information, the delivery of that value, and operating under the assumption that the people who enjoy it will potentially become your customers.

So our job at Hit Subscribe is to help companies do this. We help companies that market things to software developers reach their audiencesoftware developers. So we produce a lot of content in and around software development topics.

We have a lot of clients that make products that are related to the Microsoft ecosystem development technologies. And we will at times write blog posts for clients that cover a tool they’re selling.

But we also just write general blog posts about how to do things in C sharp and other general tech topics. And the idea there is for those clients that we’re helping to become trusted. They want to be viewed as reputable sources of information about the specific thing they’re helping developers do, and they also want to be a source for all the topics around it. It’s about building trust. That’s true, whether it’s for a barbecue place or whether it’s for our clients.

A Bit More Context

So if that’s what we call content marketing, let’s touch a little bit on what we think isn’t content marketing as well. After all, our definition isn’t just that content marketing is making content…it’s a little more nuanced than that. 

Many technical founders who may not know what content marketing really is often tend to just beat readers over the head with all the reasons you should buy their product. This method doesn’t really build trust with your audience like what we’re talking about—it even sometimes does the opposite. 

There are a lot of people who believe content marketing is just lots of blog posts that are meant to sell their product, talk about how their product could be used, talk about how their product can fit this scenario or that scenario, and/or talk about all the different ways that their product can solve all these different problems.

And you’ve probably had an experience of seeing this, so you know that it’s a turn off if you’re the audience. So content marketing is not a bunch of blog posts trying to sell your product. It’s much more than that.

Start Playing the Long Game

Alright, so if you’ve made it this far and you’re following along, you’re probably wondering why you would I pay for that? And when does it pay off?

It is the kind of thing that’s usually happening over years more rather than months, and certainly not weeks or days. So you have to continually show up and create all this content. And if you do it right, you will gain an audience and a following. And those people will trust you and engage with your brand, and maybe even buy what you’re selling along the way.

So that’s kind of a 10,000-foot view of what Hit Subscribe does when it comes to content marketing. Of course, if you’d like even more details about it, you can get a more in-depth description in Amanda and Erik’s video, and you can also check out Hit Subscribe’s Youtube channel for more content.