‘Content is King’ is a mantra as old as the internet. Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content - articles, videos, white papers, etc - that is relevant to your target audience. According to recent research by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 83% of marketers have a content marketing strategy. Meanwhile, 29.6% of respondents to a survey conducted by the Communication Advertising Marketing Foundation said that the most commercially important digital marketing trend for 2015 was content marketing. Big Data was voted the second most important with around 15%.
One of the central objectives of content marketing is to position the brand as a resource to prove that your expertise is credible, building trust in the product that you are putting out in order to attract and retain customers. It is also used to convey a certain image of your brand, to project a lifestyle that people will feel a part of if they were to own your product.
The type of content a company should be putting out varies depending on what its offering. Some can get away with putting out far edgier content than others. A business events company, for example, would be looking to put out content that is tailored to a corporate crowds and relevant to the events being put on. Whereas a skateboarding company would possibly look to build an element of respectability among young people around their brand, putting out content that’s relevant to them.
The truth is that no-one likes being sold things directly, whether it’s on the internet or not, as it makes them feel pressured. A door-to-door salesman or someone in a brick-and-mortar shop may see some success from haranguing customers, as it’s far harder to tell someone to go away in person. On the internet though, it doesn’t fly. Content provides you with a means of communicating with customers without directly selling to them.
This is especially true of social media. Bombarding followers with tweets and Facebook posts that exclusively promote a product will likely lead to a swift exodus of followers. Equally, for a content marketing strategy to be truly effective, it must work in tandem with an effective social media strategy. If the Da Vinci Code had been printed once and hidden down a storm drain, nobody would have read it. The same is true of web content. It needs promoting, for others to share it, in order to gain exposure.
There are a number of challenges around content marketing. Measuring the ROI is especially difficult, and it is important to establish some way of measuring how many views convert into leads, and how many of them convert into purchases. It is also necessary to have a call-to action on the page in order to drive people to purchase. However, it is a fine line to tread. Too many call-to-actions will make the page appear simply like a sales promotion, and will likely drive customers away.