The true essence of content marketing

Raspberry Pi just bought two computer hobby magazines, and is reportedly gearing up to buy a third. This is terribly exciting news and it’s terribly clever of Raspberry Pi. Here’s why.

The true essence of content marketing is building an audience. Everything else automatically flows from this.

Think with me here.

We all agree that the purpose of marketing (in all its shapes and forms) is to market products and/or services. Marketers create markets (hence the word: market-er). And marketers create markets so they can sell to that market.

So, what makes people buy, then? (And with people I also mean organizations, because it’s people in organizations who buy). People buy from people they like and trust. So, if you want to sell something to someone, you have to make sure they like and trust you first.

Brands nowadays – the clever ones anyway – really understand this. They go to great lengths to build an audience that likes and trusts them. They do so through a variety of newly ‘owned’ channels, which they create … or buy. They understand it’s tricky to build on rented land.

Clever brands go to great lengths to build an audience that likes and trusts them. They do so through a variety of newly ‘owned’ channels, which they create … or buy.

Then, they are insanely relevant for their audience. They don’t (just) create product brochures, they create content that really moves the needle. Of course there’s a connection to what they eventually hope to sell, but it’s not always an obvious one. Because clever brands know that, when people like and trust you, they will pretty much buy anything you put in front of them.

That’s why Red Bull – yes, the content marketing poster child – publishes a printed monthly called Red, which is filled to the brim with stories about adventure, the outdoors, extreme sports, festivals and living life to the hilt. Because that’s what Red Bull is all about. And that’s what their audience cares about. And that’s what they sell.

It’s also why Red Bull is not only successful in selling energy drinks, but in selling pretty much everything that one can possibly need to ‘be part of the action’ (go and have a look at the Red Bull shop). And, bonus of all bonuses, their content marketing is reportedly a profits center, not a cost center. People love the content so much, they pay to consume it.

Bonus of all bonuses, content marketing at Red Bull is reportedly a profits center, not a cost center. People love the content so much, they pay to consume it.

This week, in Joe Pulizzi’s new ‘Random Newsletter’, I read that Raspberry Pi – the manufacturer of the famous low cost, credit-card sized computer – bought two computer magazines off Dennis Publishing and is planning to buy a third. These magazines will now join the Raspberry Pi Press family.

Yes, Raspberry Pi has a Press family. In October last year they launched their own magazine: Wireframe. Wireframe is a £3, twice-monthly magazine on video game development. It has a clear Content Marketing Mission Statement:

“Cutting through the hype, Wireframe will have a more indie-focused, left-field angle than traditional games magazines. As well as news, reviews, and previews, we’ll have in-depth features that uncover the stories behind your favourite games, showing you how video games are made, and who makes them. On top of all that, we’ll also help you discover how you can make games of your own. Our dedicated Toolbox section will be packed with detailed guides and tips to help you with your own game development projects.” (You can read more on Content Marketing Mission Statements and why they are necessary here).

Raspberry Pi will very cleverly and effectively use these newly acquired channels to feed insanely relevant content to its target audience. As Pulizzi points out: “We will continue to see more of this … media brands getting purchased by product companies … and product company marketing looking a lot like what a media company does.”

Did I mention these are exciting times for content marketers, and for companies that want to bring content marketing to the next level?

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Photo by yoav hornung on Unsplash