Content marketing is an umbrella term that includes all the different ways to communicate within a
marketing, lead generation and retention framework.
To take it a step further, content marketing refers to any piece of content—including tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, downloadable white papers, email newsletters, webinars and website articles— that is created with the purpose to build a direct relationship with prospects and customers.
So why are more and more businesses using content marketing?
In today’s marketplace, the rules of engagement have changed. For starters, consumers no longer look to traditional media for their information; they go searching for it themselves online.
Another significant change is the way content about products and services is created. Before, this was left to the media industry, in the form of reviews, exposés, ads and articles. If Toyota released a new car, we would see it on TV or in a magazine. Even with the onset of the internet, we would go to the motoring news online and read the reviews published by the industry media channels.
Now, companies are creating their own content: reviews, specs, comparisons with other products in the category, they are writing blogs, taking photos, uploading videos, making presentations, essentially taking over the role of the media. Why?
Because content has become the most efficient form of marketing available.
Main advantages of Content Marketing
- Content works at every phase of the customer lifecycle:
Phase One: When a potential customer searches on Google to find out what is available.Phase Two: When a potential customer has narrowed down their options and is comparing prices and other points of difference between the leading contenders.Phase Three: When an existing customer wants to stay engaged with the brand, to learn about other products or services.
- Content marketing doesn’t go stale:Smart content will not date. Unlike a feature spread in a magazine, it will remain up and readily accessible for as long as you want it to keep generating leads from searches, answering questions for consumers or reinforcing your key points of difference.
- The timing of content is always rightAdvertising is pushing information towards people whether they are interested in what is on
offer or not. Content is sought by people when they want to know about something.Your potential customers have questions about your company, your products, your services, your competitors. By creating and propagating smart, optimised content that succinctly answers those questions, you are providing the information exactly when they need it.
Content is the most direct line to sales and loyalty. However, content that is focused only on selling rather than helping is doomed to fail.
The key is in the purpose of content, outlined earlier in this blog: building a direct relationship with your customers. Content that lacks value for your potential and existing customers will not work.
If you want your business to succeed in the digital age, you can’t just produce your product or services – you have to produce high-quality content too.
Craig Cochrane is a web designer specialising in website performance. He works in partnership with professional copywriter Fiona Cole in producing tailored content marketing strategies for clients wanting to increase the effectiveness of their online marketing. Find out more about Web Tonic’s content marketing services.