The curse of the buzz around content is that some industry people are bemoaning the hype. And they are right- hype for hypes sake, just like content for content’s sake, is not great marketing at work. But if you can get into a groove and make your content something really special, it can be one of the best investments a business can make.
Here’s why you should look at content marketing.
Content marketing is two way instead of one way
Content invites connection and conversation. It puts you in a position where you can ask questions of your customers and create meaningful exchanges where you both grow and learn from each other.
Think about how much time you spend experimenting with your marketing, on research, focus groups, reading papers and trying to glue together the idea of what motivates your customers.
Now think about how nice it is to pose a question on social media or via a blog and get real, unpaid for, unfettered and real answers.
This flexibility and honest, measurable response means you can test ideas before you cough up a kidney for a massive campaign.
Also, a customer usually has to view your marketing or advertising anywhere from 3 to 6 times before they take action and engage with your product. With content, you’ll know straight off the bat how popular it is via social media sharing, bookmarking and comments. The action someone takes after reading your content is honest and usually immediate.
Why wouldn’t you want to gain such a vital insight to how well your message is performing?
Content marketing has a long shelf life
If you create content and it’s hosted on your website, blog, channels or feeds, it’s there for as long as you want it to be.
There isn’t any campaign deadline. No having to buy extra slots to broadcast it again. No scheduling conflict that you can’t solve. The internet won’t suddenly disappear in a merger. And if you put a step wrong, you can use the same medium to correct it, and correct it quickly.
Your content is your own to update, repurpose, recirculate, take down, reproduce, retract or do whatever you want to without having a third party prohibit you from doing so through cost.
You create it, it’s yours. And it stays in circulation for as long as you want it to.
Content marketing can craft layers to your brand- and humanise it
Do people fly Virgin because Virgin is a good airline or because they like Richard Branson? Is Seth Godin a mastermind or simply someone who manages to tap into the need for continual advice in marketing?
Depending on who you talk to, the answer to any of these questions could be yes for either side of the fence, and the truth is, that’s content at work. People are invested in Branson and Godin because they have given a lot of different kinds of content for people to enjoy.
But it’s more than that.
They’ve been willing to share their story. The human element of these activities has also helped shape their personal brand and in turn, raise the profile of the products they sell.
The same sort of exposure and connection would have been hard pressed to create if it was simply TVCs, radio interviews or leaflets.
Content marketing gives us something meatier to attach to than branding and budgeted marketing alone. We can attach to brands because we like the story. Or it gives rise to a strong expression of feeling. We emotionally connect because we get to look under the hood of a company and relate to it.
And this in turn…
Content Marketing helps build loyalty and stronger relationships
Once your customers start interacting with your company via content, some will grow so fond of the experience they will visit daily. Or they will fit for you and stand up in the face of negative feedback. They’ll share your company with their friends and family.
Above all, it will encourage them to keep talking to and about your company.
Isn’t that what you want?
Content let’s customers in
Through your content, customers can speak to your brand through social media, check out your ethos through your blog, meet your employees via video, peek behind the scenes with photos on Instagram and Pinterest, download your knowledge via an eBook or whitepaper, and really soak in your story when they want, how they want.
Giving your customers that ability to be up close and personal with you, especially at a time and in a way that suits their taste and lifestyle, with that much control over how the interaction is incredibly empowering.
Best of all…
If you use content, you are pretty much willing to say you trust your customers enough to share your intimate details, company ideas, recipes, work life and more.
It means you have nothing to hide and can be trusted in return.
And it’s that trust that makes content so worthwhile.