Technology has changed our lives and influenced the way we make purchase decisions. Landlines have been cut and consumers are on the move, using their devices to consume an ever-expanding array of content and services.
Our environment has changed and, as marketers, we need to respond to this development and shift the way we interact with our audiences.
Where does content marketing fit into this shift? According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, the formal definition of content marketing is “A marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
While I don’t believe content marketing is the only marketing you need, you cannot successfully market and grow your business without it, and you should incorporate content marketing into the overall marketing mix.
It doesn’t matter if you are a consumer-driven brand or focused on business-to-business sales, content marketing will help you reach your goals. Here are a few reasons why you need to consider content marketing:
1. Media Overload
We live in an “always on” society with a constant barrage of information from email, social media feeds, Youtube sensations, and digital music, along with an avalanche of more than 1,200 marketing message each day.
Consumers have become much more savvy about marketing and are unwilling to be sold to. They are able to tune out marketing messages easily: 99.9 percent of banner ads arenever clicked, 81 percent of emails never opened, and, according to research by Tivo, only 38 percent of their users watch a television program in its original timeslot.
These shifts have made traditional advertising, while no less expensive, much less effective.
Marketers therefore need to create communication that is entertaining, informative, or useful to overcome consumer burnout and engage, educate, or entertain their audiences.
2. It All Starts with Search
78 percent of consumers research products online before making a purchase decision, typically using a search engine (most often Google, of course) as their jumping-off point. Your brand must show up in search engine results pages to stand a chance of being considered.
This, of course, brings us to the overwhelming world of search engine optimization, which I’m not going to go into here, except to reiterate what online marketers agree on: creating informative and useful content that consumers read, link to, and share will increase your ranking in search engine results.
Google Adwords might be an effective way for large marketers to show up in searches; however, it has become increasingly cost-prohibitive for small businesses. Therefore, leads need to be driven by more cost-effective organic search. Relevant, informative content and blog posts can drive leads to your website.
3. The Brand Experience
The brand experience encompasses all touchpoints between your target audience and the brand, including, of course, your website and social media channels. Visitors to your site who have found you either through search, a personal recommendation, or social media link need to be convinced that your product or service meets their needs.
Content marketing helps achieve this goal by demonstrating your authority and building trust. Well-written, insightful content can overcome objections to purchase and smooth the way to a sale. This includes all types of content: a blog post, video walkthrough, white paper with in-depth information, even a magazine article or eBook.