Like anything, there’s probably some gray area about what is and isn’t “content marketing” – though if you read Joe Pulizzi or attend the Content Marketing Institute via RSS (I do both), then the picture is a little more clear.
There are still a lot of business folks who think since “content is king” – it’s all about pushing their (the company’s) content to everybody, everywhere. This practice is closer to spam than content marketing.
You’ve heard it from me (and hopefully others) for years: Content is King, Community is the Kingdom it serves.
Home Depot gets this in a big way, and we’ll use some of their examples of content marketing (notice it’s not all online and not all of it is overt pitching of products):
Online Community: Home Depot Forums allow customers to ask questions about projects and repairs. By being accessible and by answering the questions in a helpful manner gains loyal customers (and sometimes, the customers are answering the question!)
YouTube Videos: These DIY helps and hints are valuable and seasonal. The content is produced and released in advance of when the customer may begin to think about it (this Hanging Your Lights came out mid-October).
Twitter: They share their own stuff, but also other valuable links on DIY too, and they talk a lot of football (catering to their intended audience).
Books: They have a line of books (like the one pictured above) on various repairs that come in handy at the right time. From wiring to plumbing – this is a must have for any DIYer.
Workshops: Free Home Improvement Workshops are offered on weekends. In my view, this (and the books) are one of the best examples of ”content marketing” – building the relationship with your customer and your products/services before, during, AND after the sale by helping them use the content (product, service, consumables).
I’m sure there are a lot of other things Home Depot does right with Content Marketing, but these should give you ideas about how you can helping your customers and prospects – from the ZMOT to the after-they-bought.