Of all the marketing terms searched for on Google, ‘content marketing’ comes out tops. Here are four reasons why marketers care so much about it.
We’re overwrought by marketing messages. They blast from the TV and radio and intrude on our friendships through social media channels. Outdoors we’re barked at by billboards and even the walls of buildings are branded. It’s impossible to get away. They bore into our most intimate moments when the likes of diet-pill posters entice us from the doors of public toilets to try the latest. We dare not sit still for a minute or we’ll get sold to.
Cutting through the clutter
Content marketing cuts through the clutter of messages by giving customers and potential customers what they want – useful information, entertaining anecdotes or inspirational ideas all wrapped up in the enticing parcel of a story. And everyone loves a good story.
Marketers around the world have realised this and are harnessing the power of content to connect with customers and potential customers. In the UK they’re allocating around 27% of spend to content marketing, 25% in Australia and 29% in the US, say the Content Marketing Institute’s latest benchmark reports. In fact, in the US 86% of business-to-customer companies market with content.
Why spend the money?
The top four reasons why marketers embark on a content marketing journey are to:
1. Drive engagement
When your customers are enjoying a piece of content brought to them with the compliments of your brand, they’re spending time with your brand.
2. Build brand awareness
Great content gets attention and builds brand awareness. This may be just a logo at the end of a video that’s not pushing or selling anything, such as the Nike Rise and Shine ‘show’ which is entertaining, inspiring and fun but also a showcase of Nike product so subtle you barely notice it.
On the other hand, it could be a little more serious, such as the series of Smart Money digital magazines for Sanlam Reality, which educate members on the importance of careful financial planning and how to go about it. There’s no obvious product push, but it’s clear the expert information is being delivered compliments of Sanlam, keeping this brand top of mind.
3. Engender customer loyalty
The secret here is consistently connecting with customers. If you deliver useful, inspiring or informative content to your customers and potential customers on an ongoing basis, they won’t forget you. And research has shown that educated customers who receive regular contact from a brand will reward it with their loyalty and repeat business.
4. Drive customer acquisition
Once your content is out there, the opportunities are endless to connect, expand your reach and to build on your customer base. Digitally, the Google brain gets to work, popping you into relevant searches. On social media, there’s the chance you’ll go viral, in print your brand sits on the coffee tables in your customer’s homes, out there for all to admire.
Consumers these days are too jaded by the onslaught of hard-sell, product-pushing messages flying at them from all angles to get excited by traditional marketing. They want a connection. They want a good story. Create great content and customers will connect with it – then you’ve struck gold.
Robin Daly is content director of Narrative. This post was first published in the Narrative newsletter and is republished with the author’s permission.
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