People are skeptical. And who can blame them? They live in a world full of fake news and ads that make false promises.
Ads also get in the way. Who hasn’t been annoyed by pop-ups that make a web page load super slowly or that get in the way of whatever it is you’re trying to read or watch?
What can brands and marketers do to get around the diminished trust in advertising and people’s hesitancy to buy into something? Invest in content marketing.
Unlike traditional advertising and other forms of marketing, content marketing is all about putting the needs of the audience first. Yeah, you want to make your brand look good. But you need to do that without alienating your audience. With content marketing, you focus on what your audience is looking for, and then you find the most effective way to provide that information.
Understanding Content Marketing
One way to understand content marketing is that it’s about building relationships, as Neil Patel puts it. With content marketing, you can connect with people at various points in their journeys. You might find a few people who are just beginning to look for a solution to a problem or concern, and you might connect with some who thinks he’s got it solved but still needs a bit of guidance or advice.
Content marketing isn’t about waving your hands in the air and shouting at people, “Hey, over here!” Instead, it’s about taking people’s hands and guiding them to the information they need.
When you act as a partner rather than an attention-grabbing clown, you’re going to get a better response from people.
Although content marketing can help you establish feelings of goodwill and trust with customers, it needs to go deeper than that. The Content Marketing Institute notes that content that contains verifiable data is often content that’s more trustworthy and believable. Three-quarters of respondents to a survey said that they found content with data to be more trustworthy than content without.
So, in a nutshell, content marketing should involve the creation and distribution of content that’s not only useful to its intended audience but that also provides people with concrete, verifiable data.
Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy
If you’re going to invest in content marketing, one of the first things to do is create a content marketing strategy. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, as of 2018, one-third of all B2C businesses that use content marketing also have a documented strategy in place. Among companies that are the most committed to content marketing, nearly 40 percent have a documented strategy in place.
There are multiple benefits to having a documented content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s research. Among those benefits are:
- Aligning the team to mission and goals for content marketing
- Focusing on priorities
- Deciding what type of content to create/develop
- Establishing accountability
- Allowing for the allocation of resources in a way that optimizes results
Still on the fence of about content marketing? Here are a few reasons why it’s worth investing in.
Top 5 Reasons to Invest in Content Marketing
Admittedly, it can be a lot of work to get started with content marketing and to put together a winning strategy. If you’re still not sure if it’s worth the effort in the long run, here are five reasons, with stats and data, to help you see the value of investing in content marketing.
1. Content Marketing Increases Brand Awareness
Nearly 80 percent of the most successful brands who responded to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2C survey stated that using content marketing helped them increase brand awareness over the past 12 months.
Getting people to notice your brand is becoming increasingly difficult as people are exposed to more ads than in times past. (Case in point: In 1984, the average person saw 296 ads per day. By 2014, the number had increased to 362. Some estimates state that people used to see around 2,000 ads per day but now see more than 5,000.)
Bringing your content to the people, where they are, such as through social media or email, and providing them with the information they can use is going to make them more aware of your brand than producing a traditional TV or print ad.
2. Content Marketing Builds Trust
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s report, more than two-thirds of the most successful respondents stated that content marketing helped them build trust with audiences over the past year.
When you produce content that’s backed up by data, you’re on your way to establishing and building trust with an audience. As Heidi Cohen notes, building trust also means choosing credible sources for your content and using credible platforms. If your brand is perceived as a trustworthy company, posting content on your website can be seen as credible. If you’re new or relatively unknown, then getting your content published on existing credible sites can be what you need to do to establish a level of trust with an audience.
3. Content Marketing Provides Information to Audiences
Just under two-thirds of the most successful brands surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute said that content marketing helped them educate or provide information to audiences in the past year.
As Neil Patel states, people are usually actively seeking information. And most of them, about 70 percent, would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional advertisement.
4. Content Marketing Increases Loyalty
More than 60 percent of the B2C companies that saw the most success with content marketing in 2018 stated that using it helped them build loyalty with their audience or customer base.
Content marketing can help make people feel loyal to your brand by creating a sense of community between them and you. You’re sharing something with them and giving them an opportunity to react.
Additionally, content can build loyalty by entertaining people and making them feel good. It can also stir up their emotions, creating positive feelings about your brand.
5. Content Marketing Boosts Leads and Demand
One last reason to invest in content marketing: Doing so can help to create leads or demand for your business. Content marketing tends to generate more leads than outbound marketing or paid ads while costing considerably less.
The leads you’re likely to get as a result of content marketing often have a higher conversion rate than outbound marketing leads — more than 14 percent compared to around 1.7 percent for outbound marketing.
If getting more bang for your buck isn’t enough of a reason to invest in content marketing, we don’t know what is.