Back in 1996 Microsoft founder Bill Gates gazed into the crystal ball of the then fledgling internet and penned an essay entitled “Content is king”. He kicked off with the bold words: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting”.
Twenty years down the track it’s evident how right he was. Content has become one of the major strategies employed by brands to engage with consumers, highlight their expertise and establish a voice for the brand.
So let’s explore the wide world of ever-increasing content, and investigate how you ensure your message holds court.
Content marketing explained
Much like a smiling networker who engages you in an interesting chat and then furnishes you with a business card, content marketing is all about piquing interest then offering a quick business plug on the side.
It works to establish a connection and conversation with consumers by using relevant information to draw them in. This content can be delivered by website blogs and Facebook posts, images, tweets, infographics, and video.
Its success lies in keeping a brand front of mind, creating familiarity, nurturing an association, and establishing authority.
And here’s how effective it can be…
According to PointVisible, 75% of marketers are increasing their investment into content marketing, with the content marketing industry expected to double to $300 billion by 2019.
Meanwhile Dragon Search Marketing notes 61% of consumers are influenced by custom content, and Aberdeen explains conversion rates are nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%).
And it’s effective for a whole host of reasons.
Everyone’s a publisher
Where once liaising with the public was all about paying for advertising or securing an article within traditional media, the internet allows almost everyone to become a publisher.
From websites to Facebook pages and podcasts, the power to create compelling content is in a brand’s very own hands.
It allows them to affordably and effectively release information that is useful, relevant, informative or funny to engage their audience long before they ask for a sale.
In the process it establishes a voice and association for a brand, allowing consumers to settle into the comfort zone that this brand “gets me”.
It’s about the audience
Where advertising is about the sale, content marketing is about establishing a connection. It’s also about being found. The best content marketing involves creating relevant content that will lure people to your brand and keep them coming back for more.
In the process it may:
- Go viral - being shared amongst your audience and beyond to build awareness of your brand
- Allow people to “stumble across” your brand during an internet search.
- Keep your brand front of mind by furnishing an audience with interesting articles they like to read.
- Improve brand search engine rankings using keywords that keep you at the top of the lengthy Google list.
Content marketing is one of the most accessible tools available to business today, but it’s not an idle art, nor does it work independently. Content marketing is part of a greater strategy to attract interest in your brand, and it involves carefully crafted items that suit your business tone, ethos and planned marketing outcomes.