What is Content Marketing and Why is it Effective?
We have talked a bit about what marketing is and how we define it. Under this vast umbrella of marketing is content marketing; a particular type of marketing in which the content is designed for a clear and well-defined audience. Generally, content marketing is designed to create a devout following of people and to intrigue new customers. Content marketing is where companies can put their “brand” out into the world, where they can say what their company believes in (philanthropy, socialisation, activism, etc.).
First, let’s talk about what “content” is, exactly. Historically, “content” has been synonymous with traditional advertising methods, such as TV commercials, radio broadcasts, and the like. However, now that businesses have an opportunity to market themselves across a much wider array of mediums, content becomes a large category that encompasses all of the output that a company does via these media.
Content marketing is focused on customer retainment, as it does not use the broad scope of, say, a TV advertisement to try to draw new customers in. Rather, content marketing is built around the idea that the company is putting out content that is relevant and valuable to the consumer. Some examples of content marketing are: brand-specific magazines (Lego Club Magazine, G.I. Joe Comic Book), campaigns centered on individualism and customization such as Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign, and hashtag-related campaigns such as GE’s geinstawalk campaign. Furthermore, content marketing has some educational or informative aspect to it, which is why a company’s blog (like this one) is a great place to do content marketing.
All of these marketing strategies share something in common: they encourage the customer to interact with – and feel they have a rapport with – the company. This is a stark contrast from the generalized, mostly useless information hurled at consumers daily by pop-up ads, billboards, and radio advertisements. There are several reasons to focus on content marketing when considering your company’s marketing strategy.
People are bombarded daily with useless, inane advertisements. As a result of this, consumers have become increasingly deft at escaping these ads. Whether its ad-blockers, the ability to skip advertisements, or simply tuning them out, it is more difficult than ever to reach your audience with generalized advertising (counterintuitive, right?). Companies have begun to gravitate toward content marketing because it circumvents the issue of ad-blocking and the culture of indifference toward push marketing. Take Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign, for example. They have taken a very general marketing goal – “buy Coke” – and made it both a call to action and a way to personalize one’s experience with the brand. With this campaign, Coke has made it possible for their audience to feel a personal connection with the brand that similar brands do not offer.
Decreased Expenditures on Marketing
It is easy to surmise that traditional marketing tactics are pricey methods of gaining few customers. That is, buying space on television channels, websites, radio, billboards, and newspapers are expensive ways to do advertising, they reap very few new customers, and do not work to inform existing customers of relevant information. Conversely, content marketing is fairly inexpensive. Creating a blog for your company can be free if you do it through websites like Weebly, Wix, or Wordpress. If you want to buy a domain name for your company, it is still less expensive than traditional advertising. Furthermore, the blog platform is a great place for new customers to learn more about your company, as well as it is a good place to showcase valuable information for existing customers.
You will find that, through content marketing, you will garner more sales than you would through traditional marketing tactics. This is as a result of generating buzz around your company’s name by interacting with customers on a seemingly personal level. In a day and age where we are constantly talked to by companies, it is refreshing to feel that we are being reached out to by a company that values our time. Showing that you value your audience’s time is done by releasing content that gives them deep insight into your company, and is resonant beyond simply saying “this is our product, here’s what is does, please buy it”.
Another perk of content marketing is creating a dedicated clientele. While developing your brand through content marketing campaigns, you are encouraging people to identify – and engage – with your company. Let us return to the Coke “Share a Coke” campaign. With this campaign, they have developed a brand that is keen on individualism, something our society has championed increasingly in recent years. Because people identify personally with this brand, they become loyal to that brand although other brands like Pepsi sell a similar product. From the blog side of things, your customers will feel that they have a two-way interaction with your company, and are being talked to on a personal level, therein developing a connection between your clientele and you. This connection will soon become fanaticism, and you will find a substantial increase in customer retainment in comparison to traditional advertising.
It is clear that content marketing is, overall, a more effective form of advertising for both parties involved. It benefits the company through decreased expenditures, increased sales, and customer retainment. Further, content marketing benefits the client by allowing them to feel a connection with a company, rather than continually being talked at or advertised to by faceless company entities.
Steimle, J. (2019). What Is Content Marketing?. Forbes.com.
Content Marketing Institute. (2019). What is Content Marketing?.
Content Marketing Institute. (2019). Why is Content Marketing Today’s Marketing? 10 Stats That Prove It.