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What really is Digital Marketing? Part 1 - Content Marketing

Marketing in the Digital World

The term “Digital marketing” gets thrown around a lot as if it were some sort of magic cure. I can assure you that it certainly isn’t that at all.

Digital Marketing is simply Marketing, but online – And whilst the medium may have changed, we as marketers still face the same conundrum at times just like John Wannamaker (1838 – 1922) many moons ago, who stated that 50% of his marketing budget was wasted, the only problem was he never knew which 50%!

Times have changed and our tools have evolved with them. However, whilst we have the choice of numerous and fantastic bits of software, what is often apparent is that we still find ourselves asking which 50% is being wasted!

I’ve been dealing with this digital malarkey for quite a while, and having crafted enough of a knowledge base, I figured I’d share my experience and create a little series of articles to walk you through the various elements of Digital Marketing.

The basics

We all have to start somewhere and once we have covered the basics, we can talk about how to implement a programme – or rather how we implement a programme for various clients. Considering we work with businesses ranging from small businesses doing £200k per annum to multinational companies with £100 million turnover, there is a lot of scope for scalability.

I’d hope that since you are here you have an interest in making waves in digital marketing. Ideally you have some sort of goal in mind but if you are unsure, no sweat. You just need to be aware that before you can get anywhere you will need to know what you want to achieve.

I’d ask you to think of what your ideal result is, but this is generally unilateral. For most businesses their end goal is to gather more business - I mean we need to earn a living after all. As wonderful as a goal is, how do we get those results? Where are we meant to start? - Let’s face it, you will not get business from people who do not know you exist.

This is the beauty of digital marketing, with over 4.2 billion people using the internet across the globe, according to the most recent estimate by Internet World Stats, most will not know you exist, but with the right kind of marketing, they could.

Hang fire and let that sink in a little, 4.2 billion people, that is more than 63x the population of the UK and it is well known that hour by hour more people are being pulled out of the dark ages and into the digital age. That is some rapid expansion.

While this is an impressive number of potential costumers, this fact alone demonstrates the need to be marketing digitally regardless of your service or product. There is a very high possibility that your target audience is swanning around somewhere online, ready for you.

But a quick word to the wise before you are tempted to go at this task guns blazing, I suggest you give this series a read first.

Why? Well you wouldn’t go to battle without armour and weapons, so why would you go to market without the knowledge? Unless you are eager to throw away your money into the digital abyss? No… I didn’t think so.

Well the good news is that digital marketing is a bow with many strings which go far beyond just Facebook and Twitter, all of which this series will cover. Grab a pen and paper, and let’s get knowledgeable.

Content marketing

Everybody and anybody will tell you that the world nowadays runs at a rate of knots and is only getting faster and faster. Everyone is busy, but on top of the normal everyday stresses you have your own business and are busy dealing with all the strains that come along with such a responsibility.

The thing is, for all the things filling up your daily schedule, there is still an underlying frustration that you are not reaching the level you want to be at as a business.

The issue has been attributed as one of the main reasons that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business.

You can provide the best product or service on the planet, but without the right kind of marketing you will struggle to get customers and risk falling flat on your face. It’s unfortunate but if you cannot increase your presence you may face the same fate as the businesses in the statistic above.

Put bluntly, you need to investigate how you are marketing your business and ensuring that you are making the most out of being online.

Hold on...

Now you could quite easily throw money at this problem. I’ve seen it time and time again, you’re busy and it’s complicated, and to be perfectly honest you just want to avoid the headache. I mean why bother when you can just pay someone to manage your online presence for you right? I get it, I really do. Digital marketing is daunting on the surface, but I can assure you, that is one expensive gamble.

The internet is currently full of wise guys and self-proclaimed gurus preaching to be social media experts and promising they can perform the techy equivalent to witchcraft in order to get you results. But in all seriousness, to hire a decent social media manager, you are looking at an average salary of over £40,000.

Now that is not the kind of money anyone should spend lightly. We do not want you to end up in a position where you may as well have thrown 50% of your budget straight out of a window. Which is why regardless of your intention, be it to outsource or DIY digital marketing, you need to have a grasp on the different strands it is made up of. That’s why we’re here after all, so lets get a move on.

We’re going to start with a quirky one, a process known as content marketing.

Content marketing in real speak is sharing stuff online to raise a following. The posts may be content you’ve made or topics you found to be of interest from other people in your niche. Either way, you source and post regularly to get your name featured in the spaces where your target audience hangs out. But why is this a thing?


Well think about it for a second. Say you need a handyman and you have searched online only for it to bring you back a selection of different results that all have near identical reviews for the task you have in mind.

On the face of it you are left with a tricky decision with limited information. And yet, developments in psychology mean that even with no stand out option I can tell you which one you are most likely to pick. The one you had heard of before.

Why? Well because of human nature. It doesn’t take a genius to understand we come with a built-in fear of the unknown. We are all weary of things we have just encountered as part of our self-preservation instinct. It is this instinct that as a business, you are up against.

Fortunately, this instinct has a kryptonite, familiarity! You need to prioritise being active around your audience. This is the strength of content marketing, if done right, you will be providing your audience with the content they want to see and are interested in. Keeping them engaged with your brand at every stage of their Customer Value Journey (CVJ).

I know, I know, jargon alert but do not fret as for the purpose of this explanation you just need to know CVJ sums up the journey an audience member takes to become a customer. I will explain this journey in more depth within the next article.

The thing is, with content marketing you must be on top of the quality of your content. If you do not think carefully about what you are posting, choosing instead to just spout twaddle, your audience will have no reason to stop and linger on your posts. Failure to connect means your audience do not linger, so your branding has no chance to sink in. But beyond that, failure to post content of significant value will ensure you are nothing more than a spammy pain-in-the-behind!


You must consistently prove your value so that people consistently pick you, not make them groan every time your post appears in their space. As a Dad I have recently been caught by one of the biggest examples of content marketing to date, The Lego Movies. Those little multi-coloured bricks have spawned an example of a content marketing strategy so profitable that they have repeated it time and time again.

While the inundation of these movies has started to make me groan, as a marketer I can see the genius behind these Lego movies. It is no secret that while each has grossed more than enough to be self-sustainable, they were undoubtably made for more. These movies were created as clever forms of content marketing where you have been encouraged to buy admission to the feature-length advert. – Genius marketing that pays for itself!

There is no doubt that these movies were a cleverly constructed content marketing strategy which went on to push Lego in front of Mattel as the largest toy company in the world!

Amazing content really can make all the difference, but the trick is to ensure the content is relevant and valuable, let those traits slip and well… congratulations you are now posting spam.

So how do you avoid becoming spam?

Think in depth about your audience and provide variable content with genuine value.

The genius of this approach is that the focus is taken away from straight up pitching your product or service and is used to gather a following instead. A brand loyal, engaged following that holds a genuine interest in your niche.

It is important that the content, if shared, comes from a variety of sources and takes many different forms, staying varied enough to stop your marketing attempts becoming stagnant. Blogs, podcasts, infographics, videos and even books are all fair game when looking into suitable content to re-blog. Just make sure that your selection is both relevant and valuable.

By opting for this approach, you are subscribing to the belief that delivering reliable and consistent content to potential buyers will reward you with business and loyalty.

A word of warning though, this approach does require time to put into place successfully as genuine followings are not built overnight. There is a vast amount of content out there already. Focus on the type of content that will bring people back to your brand again. You just need to be selective and remember your social media goals and brand identity.

If content marketing appeals to you, you can talk to us today for more personalised information. Either call us on 0800 368 9523 or click for a personalised 15 min Q and A.

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