Everyone from small businesses to major corporations use content marketing to attract new clients and keep the ones they have. But what is content marketing?
The Old Model: Interruption Marketing
In the old days, before digital marketing, brands primarily advertised through print ads, TV or radio commercials. This is referred to as interruption marketing. In this model, ads are sprinkled between the entertaining or informative content people want. Commercials are generally tolerated by viewers, though not particularly loved. And, in some cases, people downright hate ads.
Lucky for the haters, Hulu, Netflix, DVR and subscription music channels now make our lives mostly commercial free. The heyday of widespread interruption marketing is over.
What is Content Marketing?
Today, content is used as a veiled form of marketing. It helps to promote brands and form relationships with prospects and customers. Known as “inbound marketing”, content has surpassed interruption marketing as the strategy most likely to win business. Consumers are always on the lookout for reliable information to guide their purchasing decisions. So, instead of interrupting people with commercials, digital marketers provide useful or entertaining information (content) that people actually want.
Content refers to any one, or a mix of, the following:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Email newsletters
- White papers or reports
- and more
The best content attracts attention and adds value to people’s lives. It helps them to achieve goals, and educates or entertains, in relation to a product or service — without blatant selling. The better a brand is at providing value through content, the more likely people will come back for more in the future. Valuable content that’s published consistently helps a brand to establish authority in their industry. This leads to feelings of trust and loyalty among leads and customers.
71% of B2B buyers said they consumed blog content during their buyer’s journey. (Demand Gen Report 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report)
Content marketing is customer attractive
People often use the Internet to learn or become informed. Search terms are typically question based, such as — What is Content Marketing — and other similar question based phrases. While informative content marketing holds attention, “interruption marketing” — such as pitch-heavy TV and radio ads — tend to repel it.
71% of buyers/readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch. (Economist Group’s “Missing the Mark”)
Little to no marketing costs
Creating and publishing content strengthens your branding and is free if you do it yourself. And, even if you pay to have content written and designed, it will still typically cost you much less than purchasing other forms of advertising like print, TV and even online ads. Content can also be reused or refashioned for other company communications, giving your money, time and mileage.
A Content Marketing Institute survey revealed 72% of marketers say content marketing has increased their number of leads. (Opt In Monster)
Get found in search
Publishing regular, keyword-rich content on your website helps your business climb higher in Google’s search listings. Are your competitors using content marketing? If not, you stand to greatly benefit from it. If they are, it’s time to show up and get in the game.
With 86% of companies engaged in content marketing, you can bet your competitors are doing it. (Content Marketing Institute)
Useful, relevant and even entertaining content gets shared on social media, introducing your business to a wider audience. This — in essence — is word-of-mouth marketing, which is proven to be more alluring and effective than a company generated advertisement.
According to a recent study conducted by the McCarthy Group, 84% of millennials say they don’t like traditional marketing and don’t trust it. They don’t watch traditional TV, preferring instead livestreaming video-on-demand.
Content is an excellent resource to help customers get the most out of your products or services. In your content, share ways to enhance the benefits they’ll get from your offerings. Go this extra mile, and you’ll set your business apart from competitors.
The best content attracts attention and adds value to people’s lives. This value first approach is customer attractive and, when used strategically, can help you to develop a thriving leads and sales pipeline for your small business.