Most companies get that producing valuable, relevant, and timely content is a smart growth strategy. Gary Vaynerchuk and a Harvard professor even went as far to say that every company should behave as a media company, by producing content on a consistent basis.

There's plenty of data to back up why content marketing should be a staple within your marketing mix, including one of my favorites: for every dollar spent on email marketing, it gives back $44. Statistics like these are why one report showed that marketing leaders will spend 75 percent of their total budget on digital marketing, rather than traditional marketing.

Even though the promise of content marketing is strong, there are plenty of companies that struggle to realize the benefits of it. Thus, when there are shining examples of businesses who use this strategy effectively, it is good practice to learn from their approach so you can apply relevant principles to your own efforts.

Goop, is a lifestyle brand founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008. What began as a weekly newsletter where she shared recipes, interviews with industry experts, and travel recommendations, has now grown into a 150-person company that tripled its year-on-year growth in 2017.

The Goop team attributes the content they produce as a major driver of that growth. Elise Loehnen, Goop's Chief Content Officer, told me that their success with content marketing boils down to a commitment to two key principles.

1. Talk to your customers like friends.

Grammy-award winning singer Rihanna has built a worldwide fanbase for both her music as well as for the various products that fall under her empire. Her secret to attracting raving fans globally, is to treat her customers like her friends.

Goop follows the same philosophy. Loehnen notes:

That's really what we focused on is talking to our readers the way that we would talk to our smartest friends and giving them all the context, all the information that they would need to feel like they're making a great decision or a great purchase.

Business is about belonging. And when you treat your customers like beloved friends who belong with you, then you're able to deliver the information they most want, need, and will respond to.

That's because friends have a degree of intimacy with each other that helps them know how to communicate, without you having to explicitly say it. You use the same words, slang, you know when they need tough love, a funny pick-me-up, a hug, or even when to leverage your resources to get them the answers they need to their most pressing problems.

I recommend clients get to know their customers as well as they know their friends, by spending time with them, the same way they do their friends. That means talking to your customers on a regular basis and immersing yourself into their world to develop empathy for their situation.

2. Invest in high-quality content creators.

Content in all mediums is easier to produce now than it has ever been. And there is also more content available now than there has ever been.

Thus if you want the media you produce to stand out with your ideal customer, you've got to create quality content they want to consume.

Lohnen explained that has been Goop's approach from the beginning.

Instead of just asking an intern to do it, if you want someone to spend the time to read it, make sure it's worth reading and invest in high-quality content teams. There is an art to it. Don't just slap stuff up on the web and hope that the SEO algorithm takes care of you. Create something that's worth reading...I think that's what I see is just people being like, 'content is content, we'll just make content.' It's like, 'no, make good content. 

Making good content doesn't have to cost a lot of money either. When you are thoughtful about how to tackle the problems your content solves, elaborate photo shoots, or highly produced videos or podcasts aren't always necessary.

I used to do writing projects for clients before I fully transitioned into strategy consulting. I was always floored by how little some companies were willing to invest in content creation, even though they wanted it to deliver big results. Thankfully, there are plenty of companies who value the craft and invest in it heavily as a means to win more customers.

That's why Netflix signed a $100-million deal with Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC powerhouses such as Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, to develop premium content for the streaming service.

You can grow your business with content. Follow the lead of Goop and others to make sure that what you produce produces dividends for you.

Published on: Apr 12, 2018