When it comes to content marketing in the UK, Chris Marr is one of the leading figures. He’s helped many organizations to grow their fortunes with a different marketing strategy.
Back when Chris left school in Fife, he went off to college to study hospitality after spending some of his teenage years working in a restaurant.
During the next 10 years of his life, he managed a restaurant at St. Andrews University, where he also studied part-time for a business degree. He learned a lot about leadership, team building, and communication.
But it wasn’t until he stopped work and started to study full-time that he realized something that would shape the rest of his life:
He never wanted to work for anyone else again.
And it was Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It, that helped him to realize his dream and acheive it.
As a result, he built a business which has since morphed into The Content Marketing Academy, a marketing company which helps small and medium businesses.
Through workshops, events, coaching, podcasts, courses and blog posts, Chris has become a respected expert in the world of content marketing. And he genuinely enjoys sharing his knowledge.
What Is Content Marketing?
It’s all about the differences between helping and selling.
We all know advertising is all about the product or service which you have to offer. Its sole purpose is to then sell it through the use of a call to action.
We’re used to getting interrupted by this type of marketing on TV or radio, or whilst surfing the internet. But through every medium, we have ways around consuming them, such as internet catch up services and ad blockers.
People no longer pay attention to it, and it’s found a lot more annoying than it ever has been before.
And content marketing is the better approach. Firstly, you have to completely forget that you have something to sell. Its purpose is to help as many people in the marketplace as possible.
You then enjoy the long-term benefits, such as loyalty and trust. They will come and find you when they need you, rather than the other way around.
Its main purpose is to educate.
The Big Picture
It’s a different approach, which can seem quite drastic if you’re used to producing interruption marketing in your business. But for it to work, you have to believe.
You need to see the big picture, and how taking a long-term approach is more beneficial. And in fact, Chris says you should avoid measuring its success in terms of sales for at least 12 months.
This is because you’re still at the stage of building. And besides, if you’re doing no form of marketing at the moment, then anything is better than nothing anyway.
But content marketing will help to differentiate yourself. It gives people a reason to buy from you instead of your competitors.
And just like anything in life, you cannot expect results overnight. When you go to the gym once a week, you can’t anticipate seeing the same sorts of gains you get from going three or four times.
Change With The Times
Over the past decade, we’ve all changed our purchasing habits. Just think about how you make any purchase now. Chris asks us to imagine that we had to buy a new TV.
Our first point of call is Google. And there, we’ll conduct research about different brands, prices, and retailers, as read the reviews.
We may ask friends for recommendations on social media, and get feedback. Perhaps you’ll become influenced, without knowing it, by what someone else has recently purchased. That could be a friend or your favourite celebrity.
And I bet your customers shop exactly the same way.
In fact, 70% of buying decisions get made before the customer has even contacted you. People start to look for you instead. But topping Google when it comes to your brand name. Or even your industry. They’re not good enough.
You need people haven’t even heard of you to find you.
Customers have control, and they have a lot more knowledge than they ever have before.
So the key is to be the one who is educating them in the first place. Then they’ll come back to you. And because many big businesses are overlooking the influence this has, it provides the perfect opportunity for your small business to step in.
Chris cites Marcus Sheridan, who became renowned for doing exactly this, as someone whose story you should find out more about if you haven’t already.
How To Get Started
Firstly, you should educate yourself on how other people are using content marketing.
Then you need to have an understanding of why you’re going to start doing it, and how you want your business known. As well as that, you should know who your audience are, what they want and the medium they want it in.
So if your audience like reading blogs, then that’s what you do. Or if they listen to podcasts, look at making one. You need to make sure you’re making it as easy as possible for them to become your customer.
The key is to be consistent. The more you do it, the better you get. We’ve all got cringe-worthy first attempts.
But the more you do, the more opportunities that exist for you to get found.
Just make sure you take the opportunity to make it happen, because if you don’t, someone else will. And it’s always better to be ahead than trying to catch up.
If you’re going to make a go of content marketing, it needs to be a priority; especially if you’re not doing any form of marketing already.
Figure out what you’re going to do, and when, then put it in your diary.
The most common excuse is not having enough time. But Chris has a solution for this.
You need to make three lists of:
- The things you shouldn’t be doing;
- The things that you do, but can’t;
- And those things you’re doing that you hate.
To make time, you can start delegating these parts of your job to others.
You must think of marketing as another one of your customers. You cannot afford to forget and take them for granted.
And you must believe that your products and services are the best. When you believe, other people will believe it.
Chris has taught this to many people. One’s of those is Cara Mackay, who has taken these lessons into her shed business, Gilles & Mackay. And her business is a fine example of how you should use content marketing: by answering every question your customers have.
Chris Marr is always learning new things about the ways of content marketing. He’s certainly someone you should keep your eye on. He already has much to teach you, and many ways of doing it.
Not only does he have a blog for reading, and a podcast for listening, but you should also sign up for his 10-day email course. He’ll help you to master the principles of content marketing he has discussed.
And also check out The Content Marketing Academy 2017 conference in Edinburgh on the 8th and 9th of June 2017. It promises to be the UK’s leading content marketing, social media, and business growth conference. It’s already has one of our old friends Chris Ducker signed up as a speaker.
Connect with Chris Marr