Conventional marketing alone just isn’t enough any more. Trust in advertisements is on the decline. Meanwhile, clutter – both offline and online – is on the rise. For the most part, unsolicited marketing emails only invite annoyance. So does telemarketing. Even Facebook now limits posts that seem excessively promotional from showing up on users’ News Feeds.
Most importantly, the relationships companies share with their customers have changed. It’s no more about them; it’s all about people. That’s the approach content marketers take: consumer centricity.
So…what is content marketing all about?
The idea central to content marketing is that brands must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story. The value returned is often that people associate good things with – and return to engage with – the brand.
Take note of the word ‘value’.
Blog posts, guides, how-to videos, ebooks, white papers, infographics, podcasts, short films, webinars and workshops are some examples of how you can offer value to your audience. Every time you start a conversation about an issue your audience cares about, you offer them value. When you share your expertise with them, you offer them value.
Rather than endorsing your products, your content should make people’s lives easier, richer, more comfortable and more enjoyable. Inform, help and guide them. Inspire, move, motivate, excite and entertain them.
When your audience perceives your brand as valuable, that’s the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship. In return for value, they reward your brand with their interest, attention, recall and trust. They’re much more likely to talk to and about your brand…and eventually buy it.
Why Content Marketing?
Take a closer look around, and you’ll see that social media is fuelled by content. Content lies at the core of efforts that involve reaching out to people, connecting with and engaging with them. It’s what you rely on to push your audience further up the purchase funnel. For brands today, building solid relationships with people is more crucial than ever. And the one thing that does the job like no other is…that’s right, content.
In an article on Copyblogger, Frank Strong discussed how content functions as brands’ currency. By sharing your content, people add further value to it. He suggested that you should learn about what kind of content is most share-worthy among your audience, and then create “the best content you possibly can”.
Here’s where it gets interesting – you don’t need to produce all the content you publish. User generated content (especially when visual) is one of the most effective forms of content in the digital world. It’s engaging, original, and it creates a sense of community.
Content marketing is all the rage, and it’s going to stay this way for a good while. It lets you go beyond the ordinary, explore new avenues and take charge of how people perceive your brand.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.
– Andrew Davis
Founder, Monumental Shift
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