It’s been a slo-mo train wreck, but savvy brands have seen it coming for years—while traditional marketing is not extinct, the rise of the digital age has certainly put some serious hurt on it. Today’s customers are online researching products, comparing prices, reading reviews and often purchasing items with no interaction from a salesperson. Statistics indicate that over 80% of consumers do research online before actually going into a store (if they even visit at store at all).
So in today’s marketplace, what’s a smart marketer to do?
Enter content marketing. It’s been around for well over a decade, but now even brands that have kicked and screamed against the inevitable ubiquity of digital everything are branching out into content marketing alongside traditional advertising.
As Content Marketing Institute defines it,
“content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, content marketing revolves around providing useful and valuable content to your audience, whether it’s in the form of a blog post, infographic or meme. Instead of hurling promotional messages at the audience, you’re offering value. How? You do so by shifting the focus towards consumers and their questions, wants or needs. You provide answers and solve issues. You educate and entertain. With time and consistency, you build your brand’s credibility and trust among readers.
You’re helping your potential customer get through their daily lives with information like how to get a better night’s sleep courtesy of VanWinkle.com, or knowing your cuts of meat (Weber Grill’s Prep School) and how to grill them (Weber’s Grill Skills). When, somewhere down the road your customer decides they need a product like yours, they’re going to check out all the useful content on your website or your social feeds and decide they want to buy from you. With content marketing, you’re not turning them off with a smarmy sales pitch--you’re just being helpful and showing them how your product might make their life easier.
Now, not every blog reader will turn into a customer. And not every post will lead to a sale. But that doesn’t mean that content marketing isn’t effective. Over time, you’re building relationships with readers, who may then share your content. You’re increasing brand awareness and exposure because Google ranks content, not promotions. Content is what spreads on social media, not advertisements. And although readers may not be seeking to buy now, they might in the future, and reach out to you.
Given that content marketing is cheaper and more effective over time than traditional marketing, you might want to get on board the content marketing train now.
And while you're here, check out the video below.