Ever heard of the phrase “Content is King”? If yes, then surely you are familiar with buzzwords “content marketing” and “content selling”. While it might seem that many companies are jumping onto this bandwagon, it is best to evaluate if content marketing is indeed the right fit for you. This is especially true if you were an SME and do not have quite as much spending power as other established companies… or as you would wish to have!
We now live in an era where we are being constantly bombarded throughout our daily lives by ads of all types. We come across so many of them every single day that we’ve learned to ignore them, although selectively.
So, what is wrong with the traditional advertising above? Traditional advertising is interruptive. It tries to win our attention when we are focused on something else, usually something more important. And this is where digital marketing differs – digital marketing can be designed to be non-interruptive. In particular, digital marketing involves content marketing, where we provide content that customers want in exchange for permission to market our products or services to them. Instead of interrupting our customers to force value upon them, we provide value to them at their own convenience.
This key difference is what helps us to convince our customers and prospects that we understand them and want to provide value to them, instead of immediately fighting for their attention with clever wording, targeted placements and what not.
What is Content Marketing?
By definition, Content Marketing is a marketing technique that is used to create and distribute valuable content towards a well-defined audience, to achieve a defined marketing goal. The goal could be anything – Drive more leads, get more website visits, attract more customers or simply even to set you as an authority in your field. Content can be defined as anything from a simple blog post to an informative infographic to a tiny 20 page PDF booklet.
To put it simply, content marketing drives fruitful customer action. Sounds easy enough, except that it should not be just any old, mundane content. The key is that the content should be valuable – it should give your company a personality, it should create an engaging conversation; it should make your company the cup of tea for your targeted consumers. The right content should effectively inspire, educate, entertain and convince- just like a king!
Why Should Your Business Employ Content Marketing?
Businesses have been slowly realizing that their consumers are getting smarter with each day. Old school marketing techniques although effective, are slowly on the decline. When the average consumer is bombarded with an average of 2000-5000 marketing messages a day, what makes yours stand out? With more and more advertising each day fighting to win the consumer’s limited attention, the more difficult (and expensive) it becomes to get your message across to your target audience.
To put it simply, you might want to give content marketing a try if your business is experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Uncertain flow of new leads
- Problems attracting new customers
- Very little to non-existent referrals from existing clients
- Not enough traffic to your website
- Lack of engagement on social networks
- Minimal to non-existent access to insights to your marketing efforts
If you need more convincing, take a look at the success stories of Oreo and Blendtec. Oreo launched a web series called Oreo Snack Hacks, a fresh spin on marketing as compared to the advertisements of other cookie brands. Similarly, Blendtec has a famous marketing campaign of its own, Will It Blend, which has garnered a total of 294 million views on YouTube. Both campaigns have managed to create not only a stir, but also a sense of engagement and most importantly, value for its consumers. This is marketing done right.
Let us now share with you the ways in which content marketing is so powerful!
Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Build Brand Authority
To build trust and subsequently brand authority, brands must provide value to the consumer. Providing value creates trust amongst your customers because you are helping them understand something that they don’t understand very well, thus positioning yourself subtly as an expert in their minds. There is a clear difference between saying “Hey, We’re the expert, listen to us!” and saying “Hello! This is how it works, if you would like to learn more, we are always here to help”. Rather than saying you are the expert, you are showing your target audience exactly that by offering them rich and relevant content.
Good content endures; having valuable content gives it the ability to generate interest over a long period of time. Invest in good content because it will soon establish you as a brand authority, which makes you all the more visible as compared to others.
Chipotle, the darling of the Mexican fast food world nowadays, demonstrated its brand authority with its creation of a video named the “The Scarecrow”, part of a broader content marketing campaign which also involves a mobile game and website in addition to a short film.
Chipotle took into account the values of its customer base – they did not only want food that was served quickly, they also cared about where it was coming from and how it was prepared. Chipotle thus created both the film and game to raise awareness to the negative aspects of processed food, simultaneously naming Chipotle as a better option. The video has received more than 11 million views, and the game at least 400,000 downloads. Customers embrace and trust Chipotle’s promise of responsible and high quality food, signalling the effectiveness of its content marketing strategy.
2. Improves SEO
You should know by now that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to improve the traffic and visibility of your website. Search engines serve millions of users per day which makes it an essential marketing tool. However, with millions of returning results and the reluctance of users to look past the first few search results, your website is essentially dead if it is not on page one of the results.
By having your website contain relevant keywords and content (not just keyword stuffing) which could be detected and matched to what users are searching for, content marketing will help with your SEO rankings. Companies that implemented content marketing as a part of their marketing strategy were reported to have reduced their SEO spend by 57%, simply because their content was useful and appealing to their customers.
3. Develop a Relationship with your Leads/Subscribers
Imagine being out on a first date. At the end of it, your partner starts making plans of a married life… with you. You can envision how horrified and repulsed you would have felt as you tried your best to leave the scene ASAP.
The same goes for marketing. As Gary Vaynerchuk, a famous marketer, says, “If you’re in business, first and foremost, you have to be nice. Show your customers that you care.” You cannot simply try to sell your brand to potential customers- you have to first form a relationship with them. Content marketing is a powerful way to do so, by building your brand and developing trust. You become a thought leader – you are aware of the problems they are facing, you explore solutions to solve their problems, you evaluate the available options and basically you let them know that they are in safe hands. This forms a connection with your leads and with a budding relationship, they will be likely to want to engage with you again.
A company which shows dedication in forming relationships with its customers is AirBNB, the travel company which helps to connect travellers with homeowners for accommodation. AirBNB manages to do so because it understands that a relationship is two-way; it creates value for its customers and requests for its customers to create value as well. AirBNB invited customers to create short clips showing a traveling piece of paper and with them, AirBNB created a short film, approximately four minutes long of paper airplanes, paper boats, origami, and other paper creations exploring the world.
Through this, AirBNB engages their customer base in a unique and attractive way, at the same time inspiring people to travel. It also launched unique neighbourhood guides to serve as further encouragement.
4. Drives Quality Traffic to your Website
Before you can actually get leads and subscribers, you have to have traffic, and a quality one at that. With content marketing, you create valuable content which customers love to hear about. Provide a genuine reason for people to visit your website, such as solving a problem that many of them face, or sharing something interesting and relevant. With the right kind of content, you attract the right kind of traffic and people who are all the more likely to convert to leads. Companies with quality content have shown to produce 97% more leads than their peers.
Content marketing helps attract visitors to your website, but do you know that 96% of website visitors do not convert to a lead or a sale? Re-marketing helps you to reach these visitors by nurturing those who have already expressed an interest in you. You should not view re-marketing as another channel of marketing- instead, it is an essential supplement to content marketing. The process basically involves tagging a specific set of visitors and targeting ads at them on other websites for a period of time.
Consider this: what you can do is to create a blog article giving value to the customers first. After they have consumed your content, you retarget them on Facebook with your offer. Since the lead has consumed your content previously, it is likely that he is interested in your product. He is thus more familiar with your brand and has more trust in you. This gives you a higher chance of converting him. By being more targeted and advertising to only those whom you know are interested, you get to enjoy lower costs and improved conversion rates.
The marriage of remarketing and content marketing effectively brings about a form of reconnection and engagement (it has shown to produce increased engagement of up to 253%!) with people who are already familiar and interested in your brand, thus making it a powerful tool in lead generation.
As you should be able to tell by now, content marketing done right has the ability to bring you wonderful results. Keep in mind that content marketing is less intrusive than regular marketing – it is more connected and personal. The goal of content marketing is not to convert leads immediately, but to have a long-term, continuous engagement with the audience. Consistently create interesting and quality content, and soon your patience will yield benefits.
The benefits of Content Marketing are huge.
Content marketing is less intrusive than regular marketing – it is more connected and personal. The goal of content marketing is not to convert leads immediately, but to have a long-term, continuous engagement with the audience. Consistently create interesting and quality content, and soon your patience will yield benefits.
There is no excuse to not give content marketing a shot. If you are new to content marketing, you should start by profiling your target audience, creating personas and implementing a content calendar for your content marketing strategies. For your convenience, we introduce three simple excel sheets to help you get started:
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