Business entities have relied on traditional marketing strategies for ages. Some may still wonder, what is content marketing? And do I need it?
Read on and you’ll find out more about content marketing. And to answer the second question, you most definitely do if you want your business to grow and stamp your brand as solid, reliable, and trustworthy.
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, drive profitable customer action.”
The process involves the creation of content and sharing them to attract prospects and to convert these prospects into customers. The end goal is to educate, entertain and inspire people so that you earn their trust, which helps in brand awareness.
Industry experts describe content marketing as:
- The creation of engaging pieces of advertising which includes but not limited to videos, blogs, social images and landing pages that people would want to see, will enjoy and interact with.
- The sharing content and starting real conversations that build connections.
- Combining data and creativity to make something that is amazing.
- Content marketing is ‘storytelling’
- An effective way to engage and educate your audience
- Content marketing is hard but worth it
Marketing vs. Content Marketing
The difference of content marketing from all traditional forms of marketing is its return on investment (ROI) and business value it delivers over time. What this means is, content marketing is a long-term strategy.
It works by focusing on building a strong relationship with your target market and providing them with high quality content that is of use to them consistently. Once established, and they decide to make a purchase or avail of your services, you’ve already secured their trust and loyalty to your brand long before they decided to engage with you over your competitors.
Content marketing is also dynamic and can shift gears in an instant to run abreast with ever-changing tastes, trends and ideas of their customers. As opposed to traditional advertising, content marketing shows you care about your audience. In today’s world of short attention spans, keeping your client’s attention is a most valuable resource.
Content marketing is akin to adding value. Admit it, we tend to skip any form of advertising when it provides us with little or no value. I most certainly do.
Content Marketing as a Strategy
As a marketing strategy, content marketing as mentioned above is a valuable tool to educate your target audience and make them take notice and relate about your business. It is also a way to re-engage your existing client base.
To work as a strategy, let’s focus on the stages of a buyer’s journey. There maybe other steps or stages to this journey, but it may be similar to this:
1. Search and Discovery stage: at this beginning stage, a potential customer is searching for information on a specific topic. They are probably searching for a solution to a problem they are experiencing, simply looking for information for a service or a product they are researching.
2. Considering it stage: the potential customer is learning more about solutions that can solve their problem and the various options they can take. This also includes what products or services your business can offer.
3. Deciding stage: at this stage, you already captured their attention and are more than likely ready to commit and avail of your services or buy your products.
4. The Buying stage: this is the stage where your potential customer is already sold and seeking for information on how to avail of services or purchase your product.
Content marketing is a scalable method to reel in regular customers and potentially new ones to your site going through these stages. You then create content that caters to customers who are in any of these stages. Making sure that your content is optimised and provides what your target market is looking for, it can potentially rake in more customers long after its creation.
Why is content marketing effective?
Stated earlier, we said that content marketing is dynamic, the reason for this is consumer behaviour. It has to run abreast with consumer tastes, trends and ideas to remain of value. Studies show that there have been major shifts in consumer behaviour, including their spending habits, over the past decade.
Add to this, with the advancement of technology, information can now be had at a click of a mouse or with a swipe and tap on smart devices. Consumers are now veering away from traditional marketing thanks to these modern conveniences.
Smart marketers worth their salt began shifting to this non-traditional marketing approach in response to these modern changes. Content marketing allows businesses to showcase their expertise and/or their products, without coming across as too promotional.
Employing content marketing, businesses are able to attract new leads by creating content about topics that stimulates the interest of their target audience. Once potential individuals engage with their content, there are several ways the business can now employ to convert these individuals into customers.
In simple terms, pushing traditional promotional content which is nearing its obsolescence is no longer an effective conversion strategy. The proof is that more and more businesses have evolved into some sort of media company. They now create original content that cater to their audience’s queries, solve their pain-points, increase their website traffic, and ultimately, sharp increases in sales.
Content marketing is now being used by major and leading brands, and many prominent organisations all over the globe. It is now also being used by small businesses and savvy one-person shops the world over.
The simple reason why businesses employ content marketing is that it works.
Who is Content Marketing good for?
Simply put, content marketing is good for most businesses and their customers.
Any business entity that uses content marketing enjoys a myriad of benefits. They can be condensed to three main ones:
- Increase in sales
- Cost savings
- Gaining more customers who become loyal to your brand
Content is Key
Content is the main key element of any marketing strategy. This holds more weight when it comes to digital continent marketing. The process in creating great content involves continuous research, reading and understanding the concept. Additionally, it may involve keeping abreast with current market movement and trends, including consumer behaviour.
With content marketing, you add value to your customer’s lives with the content you create and put out. You help spread valuable information and educate your target market with the aid of your high-relevant content.
You also help solve their problems as you build trust and stamp your business as an industry authority. So when the time comes when they are ready to convert into customers, yours is the brand they’ll think of first.
Take note that content marketing is not the same thing as a simple content, even a magazine or TV ad is content. Content marketing is customer-focused, answering important customer questions and meeting their needs and challenges.
Content marketing represents the bridge between what you produce as a brand and what your target market is searching for that leads to quantifiable business value.