Content marketing is driving the shift of marketing budgets into digital because it is the only marketing practise that has grown up with and is entirely harmonised with, the ways in which digitally empowered consumers now seeks, share, use and consume information.
Many companies and brands use Twitter and Facebook as mass media, broadcast platforms, to disseminate brand information rather than using the traditional conversational channel such as brochures, catalogues, TV commercials – you name it. This is because the digital landscape has been changing fast and quick and yielding the desired result marketers needed.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Simply, the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.
Content marketing, as it has emerged, matured, and expanded in the digital era (for example, exhibiting 44% growth between 2011 and 2012), has adapted precisely to the profoundly different ways in which information is now produced, exchanged, and used in marketing.
There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content–far too many to cover. Examples like:
Why Content Marketing Matters?
Do brands or companies really understand why content marketing is important to their business? First we need to understand the four stages of the buying cycle (process):
- Awareness – Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution. Therefore identify business needs.
- Research – Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a photographer buying the latest digital camera will try to find out what different types of cameras exist, and which one will perfectly fit their need.
- Consideration /Evaluation – From this point, the customer starts comparing different products from different retailers to make sure they are getting a high quality product and at value for money.
- Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction. At this stage they have made a commitment to the product.
Traditional advertising and marketing is great when it comes to stage 2. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before. As a brand with a solid content marketing strategy, potential clients will find your content, find value in it, and by the time they contact your brand they are already convinced they want to work with you. As this stage, there is no need for aggressive sales high pressure tactics, your content did majority of the work and it’s merely a matter of working out details, signing an agreement, and getting started with your client on-board. The return on investment for content marketing can be phenomenal if executed correctly.
Another additional benefit content marketing provides is supporting and enhancing other digital marketing channels. Content for social media marketing and contributes to search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In reality, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
The secret of great content is to add value to the reader and engage with the audience. Remember good content should not be promotional, all about your brand or company but informative, helpful, interactive and educational. Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of contemporary marketing.