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Is Content Marketing
Worth the Work?

26 may 2023 | by julie jones

I never wanted to work in marketing.

To me, marketing was a dirty word. It was arrogant, pushy, and in-your-face. And as an extreme people-pleaser, I couldn’t think of anything worse.

When I was studying Public Relations, I would immediately and harshly correct anyone who said, “Oh, that’s pretty much marketing, right?”

I thought PR was about maintaining reputation, whereas marketing was just sales, sales, sales.

Fast forward a few years, and here I am, working at a marketing agency… and loving it!

So what changed? Nothing, not really. Except for my idea of what marketing is. It turns out marketing isn’t just making sales; it’s actually all about storytelling and nurturing a community. Especially when it comes to my favourite marketing strategy, content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of content that doesn’t explicitly promote a brand but is intended to spur interest in its products or services.

It’s a marketing strategy that brings your audience right to you instead of jumping out in front of them; think blogs, webinars, podcasts, organic social media posts, etc.

Content marketing has been around forever, but some companies are still slow to buy into it fully.

Why is this? If I had to guess, it has to do with the perceived value it brings.

You want bang for your buck.

As a marketing professional, you have limited budget and resources. And it’s no secret that consistently creating valuable, attention-grabbing content is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, energy and effort.

Not to mention, you’re distributing this content to the masses for free, so you don’t necessarily see a return on that intensive investment.

Furthermore, you’re conditioned to seek our measurable marketing tools. We all like to present shiny stats and graphs that point upwards, proving to ourselves and our superiors that our efforts paid off.

And the truth of it is content marketing rarely leads directly or immediately to sales or conversion.

The value of content marketing

All that said, my professional opinion is that content marketing is very valuable. And when done right, it is worth every bit of the work.

No, you won’t see overnight results. It’s a slow burn. You need to give it time to do its thing because content marketing is about gaining your audience’s trust.

In today’s globalized world, the options for products or services are a dime a dozen. No matter what you sell or offer, others are likely competing for your market share.

Consumers have endless choices, and content marketing allows you to introduce your brand to them in a way that feels natural and non-threatening. (This is the opposite of my former views of marketing)

With content marketing, you can show people who you are as a company and nurture a relationship with them by giving them value!

    •   Make them think.
    •   Make them learn.
    •   Make them laugh.
    •   Make interacting with your brand enjoyable.

After all, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all.

Content marketing streams

Luckily, creating marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing can be fun and fulfilling. If you’re passionate about your brand and like helping people, it’s your chance to create a community around your product or services.

Content marketing can take many shapes, but just like all good storytelling, the main themes of content marketing are education, entertainment and inspiration. Depending on your brand, you should be creating content that falls into one of these categories (or all three if you can swing it!)

 group of creatives working as a team on their ideas at a table full of coluored paper cutouts with texts

1. Content to educate

Educational content brings value to your audience by explaining concepts, giving instructions, or teaching them something new.

It’s probably your go-to content! You’re an expert in your field, so why not take the opportunity to share your knowledge and help improve your audiences’ lives?

When creating educational content, you should solve a problem or fill a knowledge gap. You can do this through how-to guides, blog posts, tutorials, recipes, ebooks, product reviews, or more.

Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert through educational content is an excellent way to gain trust. It also can help make your brand more visible, as search engines favour content that provides expertise and solves questions its users ask.

2. Content to inspire

When it comes to marketing, the power of inspiration should not be taken lightly.

It’s human nature to want to improve, evolve, and make things just a little better. So it’s no wonder inspirational content is a great way to connect with your audience.

Inspirational content helps consumers imagine how a product or service will enhance their life by seeing it through the eyes of others.

And it’s contagious! Inspiring content, through quotes, founder stories, case studies and testimonials, are some of the most highly shared digital content.

When crafting inspirational content, appeal to your audience’s emotions, pain points and most profound aspirations.

3. Content to entertain

I’ll never forget the first time I tried to explain a meme to my boomer mother! She couldn’t wrap her head around the purpose of such an “unnecessary” piece of content.

“I don’t know. I like it. It’s funny,” I remember saying.

Sure, memes like the one I tried to explain to my mom might seem like silly or useless content, but it caught my attention, made me laugh, and want to share it with others. What more can you ask for when creating content?!

It’s easy to get caught up in “serious” content because we think it will provide more value to our audience. But for the most part, people on their laptops or phones just want to be entertained!

So, give the people what they want!

Whether funny, emotional or heart-felt, entertaining content fosters human connection.

It might not even be related to your products/services, but if it appeals to your audience, it starts a relationship nonetheless. And may make them think. “This is a cool company; I want to learn more, or work for them, hire them or buy from them.”

Why? Because you put in the work to make their day a little better.

In conclusion

Long story short: while content marketing isn’t easy, it’s definitely worth the effort and investment. It’s the beginning of the marketing funnel where you introduce your audience to your brand in an authentic way.

With the right content marketing strategy that emphasizes providing value to your audience through education, inspiration or entertainment, you can attract more clients/ customers and grow your business.

As a consumer, I never liked pushy, in-your-face ads, so I don’t like them as a marketer either.

That’s why providing value to my audience through storytelling content marketing is my personal favourite marketing strategy!

PS: I keep this post beside my desk to remind me that content marketing is one of the most essential marketing tools around:

The KPIs that REALLY matter:

    •   Keep People Interested
    •   Keep People Informed
    •   Keep People Inspired
    •   Keep People Involved

Julie Jones

copywriter and brand manager

A creative, big-picture thinker, Julie loves to tell stories that make audiences feel things.
As Insight’s Copywriter and Brand Manager, she aims to create compelling content that influences, empowers, or engages readers, and hits the mark for our clients, every time.

Julie Jones

copywriter and brand manager

A creative, big-picture thinker, Julie loves to tell stories that make audiences feel things.
As Insight’s Copywriter and Brand Manager, she aims to create compelling content that influences, empowers, or engages readers, and hits the mark for our clients, every time.

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