Welcome to Make Marketing Tools
By Karen Mauk | 08 · 02 · 22
Not long ago, I pivoted from the old world of content development to the new world of content marketing. Others have written about the differences between content and content marketing. The key difference? Audience and purpose. Simply put, content marketing offers valuable and relevant content geared toward particular people who have a problem to solve or a task to get done. Oh, yeah—and it's free.
As people consume and apply your content to their immediate needs, your content contributes to an ecosystem—an experience—that helps solve real problems and establishes your brand as a thought leader in your industry. All this has ripple effects. As your brand builds credibility among an expanding fanbase, your business—and your audience's expectation for more, consistently valuable content—grows as well.
Meeting People Where They Are
Content marketing isn't effective just for those with an educational mission. In an era when a site's search visibility depends on its relevance to search intent, the first step to grow any company or organization—whether a textbook publisher, auto repair shop, or think tank—is to deeply understand your audience and what they need, right now. Get into the heads of your customers (or target customers, if you're just starting out) and get to know what their pain points are. How do you know? Ask them. Observe their behavior. Notice their reactions when their needs aren't met, or when they are.
Then, ask yourself: What do I offer that's valuable to the people I'm trying to reach? What perspectives, resources, and tools can I share that make people's lives easier, richer, more engaging, or more fulfilling? And when people start to notice what you're doing and you start building up a following, now you can ask them: What do THEY value about your brand? What do you do better than anyone else? What do you offer that no one else can?
Collaboration Is King
Content marketing takes time. A lot of time. User and market research are critical components of any effective marketing program. But these methods—observations, interviews, surveys, usability tests, and more—require time and training that are increasingly hard to come by. To offer something of real value, content marketers try to understand what people want and need as they walk down the winding path of the customer journey—from awareness to consideration and (fingers crossed) on to conversion—and what keeps them engaged along the way. But these wants and needs are often wildly diverse among target populations and can shape-shift over time, based on a range of behavioral and environmental factors.
Content marketers have diverse needs too. Our priorities differ depending on our audiences, what they value, and what we're trying to do for them—and what actions we want them to take. We need to learn from one another. What works in some contexts and not others? What helps some people and not others? What grows some businesses and not others? We need different perspectives.
Make Marketing Tools is an evolving project rooted in the idea of collaboration—between and among content marketers and our audiences. It emerged from a real need among marketing professionals to have a place to go and find resources and tools mapped to the customer journey. Many of these resources and tools center on content and experience marketing because of the increasing importance of high-quality content creation and experience design across industries.
We're only getting started. Make Marketing Tools is defined by the people who contribute to it and expand its reach to meet the diverse needs of marketers, researchers, and designers. Join us and let's explore what we can create together.