The Basics of Content Marketing

A marketing buzzword we hear often is “content.” What is it? Basically, content marketing is providing something of interest or value without a hard-sell.

Bookstores do this intrinsically through author events, reviews, book clubs, musical performances. It’s nice if a book is purchased during the visit, but most often it’s not required for entry into the bookstore.

There are ways beyond event hosting to offer content marketing:

  • Blogs
  • Webcasts and Podcasts
  • Magazines
  • Websites, Microsites, and Online Communities
  • Social Media
  • Newsletters
  • Videos
  • Mobile Apps

In the coming weeks, we’re going to look at the different components of content marketing and how to approach them with little to no budget. It’s not necessary to adopt all of these approaches, but I do recommend that you expand into other content marketing ‘genres’–supplement to get a better return on your investment. First and foremost is blogging.

Blogging has received a bum rap because the low barrier to entry. Anyone can blog. Most people think they have nothing to say. But here’s the kicker: YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.

First of all, your team is the most well-read group on the planet. You know what titles are coming out, when, and for whom they would be of interest. Although this is enough information to fill a blog, I recommend that you only start with new releases. But that’s just scratching the surface.

  • Maybe an author told you the most incredible story while riding from the airport.
  • Maybe you think that BookDarts are the best thing invented in the book world since the printing press.
  • Maybe you just attempted (and failed) another go at Anna Karenina.

Write about it.

And if you don’t have something to say, chances are you know somebody with something to say who would be thrilled to write a guest post.

  • Do you have the world’s foremost living expert on Satchel Page working at your store?
  • Do you have a customer with an incredible collection of every edition of Moby Dick ever printed?
  • Do you have a grad student earning her comparative literature degree who has a beef with Victor Hugo?

Ask them to write about it.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to look at the different components of content marketing and how to approach them with little to no budget. Tomorrow we’ll look into the actual ‘how-to’ of blogging. But today, think about your assets. Think about your staff, friends, and customers who be willing to share their interests.

If it interests you, chances are it will interest most of your customers.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she’s a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type.

@BethGolay