The marketing landscape has changed. We’re more distracted than ever before and there are marketing messages everywhere we look. How can we pay attention in such a noisy world?
Billboards, TV commercials, radio ads and full page newspaper spreads still exist, but who is actually paying attention to them? Drivers are too focused on the road for billboards and their passengers are too busy scrolling through their phones to look up. We flick through radio channels when the ads start and we watch TV on demand so we don’t have to deal with commercials. In a busy world, time has become our greatest asset and we simply don’t have any to waste on companies screaming their marketing messages at us.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. It is marketing your product, service or business to your target audience without them realising that they’re being marketed to. Conventional marketing is built around interruption, content marketing is built around listening.
If you’re not engaging in content marketing yet, here are 10 reasons why you should be:
1. The millennials are coming.
Take into account everything we have just said about print, television and radio and then consider that in five years’ time, 50% of our workforce will be made up of millennials.
Millennials are the most distracted generation to date. They’re tech savvy and they use social media more than anyone else. Social media is their number one place to find information and news. So where do you think is the best place to market to them?
Millennials are too distracted for conventional marketing though, and distracted minds find comfort in visual content. This is why companies need to start delivering their marketing messages in creative and unconventional ways. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are not engaging this market anymore; millennials are opting for Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope.
As this generation matures, so must our marketing. Start producing content in the places where your audience is going to spend their time.
2. Content marketing delivers qualified leads.
If you can deliver quality content to your target market, then you are likely to generate 30% more organic leads than conventional marketing (source: MarketingSherpa).
Gone are the days of traditional marketing where you just buy an audience, yell a message at them and expect them to buy your product. You have to engage with them and show them value.
Every product and brand has a specific target market or niche which is determinable through demographics, geo data or interests, and content marketing delivers on this exact strategy. As marketers, if we’re not honing in on our audience and targeting them this way, we’re just throwing money down the drain.
3. Content marketing positions you as a leader in your industry.
They’re just someone smart enough to promote themselves through useful and authentic content.
Finding content to maintain a healthy social media presence can be tough and time consuming, which is why many of us default to finding and sharing content produced by thought leader. But by doing this, all you’re proving is that there is someone else in your industry who knows more than you AND you’re driving a potential customer away from your brand and to a competitor’s website.
Content marketing is not a short term strategy. It takes time, planning and research, but once you’ve established your presence and voice, people will want to listen.
4. Content marketing provides consumers with the information they seek.
As technology has evolved, so has consumer behavior. Customers now have research power and multiple streams to choose from when making a decision.
Think of your own behavior as a consumer. When you are considering a purchase, generally you’ll seek information on it before coming to a conclusion. Your prospects are no different. Provide them with the information they need through your content.
5. Content marketing improves SEO.
Google gets smarter every day and, to protect their brand, they want to ensure that their search results are not only high quality but also meet the needs of their users. Content, therefore, has never been more important.
Content marketing should be the centre point of every SEO strategy. The more people who read and share your content, the higher Google ranks your website. Content shared on social media or through links to other sites is weighed heavily by the Gods of Google.
Produce your content with keywords in mind and be sure to feature these where you can. Don’t be forceful with it, but, when the opportunity presents, take it.
6. Content marketing feeds your social media audience.
Your entire social media strategy should be based around the content you produce. Your goal should be to evoke conversation on your posts and drive people to share the content with their audience. Once you join in the conversations that are being had on your content, you’re able to develop relationships with customers and that is marketing gold.
So stop promoting someone else’s business with the content you share on social and produce your own.
7. Content marketing demands ROI.
When you pay for advertising – whether it’s a billboard, TV commercial, letterbox drop or web banner – the lifespan of your campaign is limited. That limitation is dictated by price or time, both of which need to be limited for every campaign for any organisation. Content marketing does not rely on either of those commodities.
You can build a content library and share individual pieces of content across a number of channels, multiple times. Not all content will be relevant in five or ten years, but some will be. Recycling content is a simple way to ensure return on investment.
Trust in traditional marketing has never been lower. Consumers will research companies and products, look at reviews and take advice from people they know before they buy into a paid banner ad or two-page spread in a newspaper. Reach your customers where they are seeking information and help them to find the answers they need to make a decision.
Content marketing should be viewed as similar to word-of-mouth. Consumers will engage, consume and share your content, elevating you to the status of a trusted source of information – not just a salesman.
9. Content marketing demonstrates a deeper understanding of your customers and their needs.
Content marketing demands knowledge and understanding and unless you’re delivering your customers content they need, they simply will not engage with it. Your content needs to aim to help, inform, inspire or entertain and always avoid any type of sleazy sales pitch.
Use this opportunity to show that you understand your customers and you’re there to help them get the information they need, not just sell them a product or service. Content is the perfect way to get people to engage with your brand in a meaningful and memorable way. Understand your customer’s needs and deliver them content to remember.
10. Content marketing supports all types of online advertising.
The potential reach of a quality piece of content is limitless. Whether it’s a blog, video, image or infographic, if you get it in front of the right people it will be shared.
Our social media newsfeeds are becoming clogged with sponsored posts, and businesses need to start getting smart with what they expect their audience to engage with.
A clever piece of content won’t be absorbed as ‘just another marketing message’, it will be absorbed because it added value to the audience. If you want your online efforts to reach as many prospects as possible, give them something interesting to look at.