What is Content Marketing?

Today's Buzzword

Sometimes I wonder if I’m old or if I’m just so busy doing golf course stuff that I forget to notice the rest of the world.  I’ve been blogging on my golf course’s website for about three years.  Mostly, I have used it as a way to get to know my golfers better and to help them get to know me.  I give them background information of all the fun jobs we’re doing behind the scenes.

Last year, I kind of hit a brick wall when it came to my blogging.  I just felt like I was doing it all wrong, and I all but stopped blogging entirely.  Yes, we still had funny things happening at the golf course, but I just didn’t take the time to grab my camera and snap a few photos of my superintendent falling into the pond when he was trying to fix the water aerator like I once had.  That may have been because I was too busy laughing, now that I think about it.

I began searching for some ideas on what to blog about at my course to try and help me get my rhythm back.

Then, I fell down a giant rabbit hole known as the internet.

When I finally emerged, I had discovered a marketing concept that went by the term “content marketing.”  Up until the rabbit hole, I didn’t even know that it was a “thing.”

Forbes Magazine says that content marketing accounts for nearly 93% of all businesses’ marketing.  I was kind of scratching my head because I wasn’t using content marketing.  (I’m pretty sure a flyer for a golf outing doesn’t count). When I tried to find a golf course that was using content marketing, I came up with nada.  Zilch.  Zero.

That takes me to the saying: “If a tree falls in the woods when no one is around, does it make a sound?”  Only my thinking was more along the lines of: “If most businesses are using content marketing and I’m not, does that mean I’m not a business?”

The more I researched, the more I bought into the idea of why content marketing is so popular.  It’s basically free education for your customer while they’re somewhat unknowingly giving you their information, so you can turn around and market to them.

Brilliant, right?

Let’s Take a Closer Look

When you examine content marketing, it makes sense that golf courses would take advantage of this method in their marketing calendar.   The best way to introduce content marketing is in the form of a blog on your website.  You write a blog post with information that your golfer would find useful, then in order to get the additional bonus information that goes with the blog post, the golfer provides their email to you.  You then turn around and send an email to them that includes bonus information.  Let’s break it down a little for you.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you want to write a blog post on the Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Child to Play Golf. You go on to list those ten reasons and provide an explanation for each one.  At the end of the blog post, you might provide a downloadable PDF that has tips on how to select the right size club for a child golfer. The trick is that they can only get that downloadable PDF if they fill out a form which includes their email.

The customer has a child golfer, so they provide their email to you.

After they fill out the form for the PDF, you’re set up to automatically send them this worksheet you’ve created with tips on how to pick out children’s clubs.

Boom! That golfer is on your email list AND you know he has an interest in children’s golf programs.

Another example:

You go live on your Facebook Page with a 3 – 8 minute video providing tips to people on how to address the ball when on a downhill slope.  In the description section for the video, you provide a link to your website page that has a form on it with instruction on how to get a downloadable coupon.

On your website, that link (in your Facebook Live description) goes to a landing page where you’re giving away for a limited time a coupon good for 15% off a set of irons.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  It’s no wonder it’s such a popular method of advertising.

You’re giving away valuable information, and your golfer, in return, ultimately gives you money.  It’ s a win/win.

Marketing Isn’t Selling

I think we often fall into a trap where we feel dirty about the term “marketing.”  No one wants to be the used car salesman.  What many fail to realize is that marketing isn’t about selling.  It’s about educating.

The more you educate your golfers, the more they will want to use your facility to either play golf, eat at your restaurant, practice on your range, host a wedding or party in your event facility, etc.

It’s also the best way to bring new people to the game.  Golf is the only sport that has an entire television channel dedicated to it.  I’m often left scratching my head why so many courses are struggling.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we, as golf course operators, just aren’t doing a good enough job with banging out drums of enthusiasm about why golf is the best sport in the world.  Networking.  Check.  Not near a phone.  Check.  No likely concussion.  Check.  Play for a lifetime.  Check.  Spend time with family. Check.  Enjoy nature.  Check.

There are many ways that we can educate people about all of the great ways that golf can be a positive influence in life, the community, and so much more.

Is your golf course helping to raise money for its community?  Write about it!  Then, provide a link to a worksheet with the Top Five Mistakes Most Charities Make.

Does your golf course have a great junior program?  Explain why it’s wonderful for children to know how to play golf!

Want to get more women to stick with the game?  Show them videos on how to use golf as a networking tool, so they can rub elbows with the higher-ups and get that raise they’ve always wanted.

Looking to attract families?  Write about how golf is the only sport you can play as a family where you’re actually spending time together and talking with one another.

Your Lack of Time

I get it.  The short answer to why most golf courses don’t do a very good job of using content marketing comes down to an issue of time.  Managers and operators simply don’t have enough time to get things done let alone make arrangements to write blogs or do Facebook Live.

It really comes down to the simple fact that you always get done what you decide is important.  Make Content Marketing important. Give it a try!

Give this idea a whirl.  For the next month, commit to creating one Facebook Live golf instructional video each week.  That’s only five minutes of your time.  Even if we’re being generous, it’s no more than thirty minutes  because it will take some time to walk out to the driving range.  Surely you can find an additional thirty minutes in your WEEK.

Record that Facebook Live and download the video onto your phone before you finish posting on your Facebook Page.

Then, take that video you recorded and upload it to a website called rev.com.  Rev will translate your video into words without breaking the bank.  Bam!  Now, you have created four blog posts for your website.  Store them and wait for a rainy day or your off season to upload them to your website.

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me what you think!

Click here to subscribe