If you’ve had your finger on the pulse of the world of advertising in recent years, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the benefits of content marketing.
Maybe, for instance, you’ve heard that conversion rates for content marketing adopters is six times higher than non-adopters. Or perhaps that one advantage of content marketing is that on average it ends up costing 62% less than traditional marketing while generating around 3 times as many leads. Or maybe you’ve just noticed that some of the most popular and successful companies in world have begun investing significant resources into white papers, eBooks, infographics and corporate blogs, most of which are accessible for free.
Before we get into the pros and cons of content marketing and why exactly big name brands are sinking funds into products that are typically open to the public, let’s first talk about what content marketing really is.
Content Marketing Defined
According to Content Marketing Institute, one of the leading authorities on the technique:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
At first glance this definition seems to mirror any marketing strategy – to bring in customers and get them to spend money. Marketing 101 stuff right?
Well, content marketing diverges from typical strategies in that its aim is to position your business as a trusted authority on a topic for which your audience can go to for information. That means the content that you put out is firstly an educational resource, not just a sales pitch delivery device. The true advantage of content marketing is its ability to help you build a relationship with your potential customer instead of endlessly bragging about your product. At least not at first.
Broken down, that means you have to develop content that’s:
Valuable – the info you distribute has to clarify or solve a problem. Fluff pieces have no place in content marketing.
Relevant – content must be related to your business’s field. No one wants to read about your law office’s stance on the best brand of coffee.
Consistent – to build trust you must show reliability. Maintaining a blog for a month and then disappearing won’t do any good. While content marketing’s disadvantage may be the commitment it requires, the advantages of content marketing more than make up for the work.
If your content marketing strategy follows these three values, then you’re on your way to reaping the benefits of content marketing: establishing a loyal audience and eventually converting a hefty chunk of them into customers.
Every business can enjoy the perks of content marketing
While discussing the ups and downs of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi writes in his book, Content, Inc., that “today’s availability of technology means that any business in any industry can develop an audience through consistent storytelling.” And he’s right, businesses from all sectors are cashing in on this cheap and effective new way of marketing.
From John Deere’s The Furrow, a farming magazine founded in 1895, to Red Bull’s extreme sports YouTube channel and Mint.com’s personal finance blog (MintLife), it’s clear that any business, no matter the product, can capture the benefits of content marketing.
What’s more, the effectiveness of traditional advertising strategies like display advertising campaigns (banners, rich media, overlays, etc.) have reached an all-time low. Internet users of the past may have been swayed by the pervasiveness of this marketing strategy, but today it’s never been more critical to find a new way of reaching your potential customers.
If you want to earn the trust, loyalty and business of your audience, check out BlabberJax, a platform to help you publish valuable, relevant, and consistent content.
How do you plan to start using content marketing? Let me know in the comments. I read every one.