Content marketing is not advertising. Advertising is a paid medium, while content marketing reflects on earned or owned media. Mostly the channels are free. Not all the time though. Content marketing also does not aggressively push content like advertising, or interrupts you, it’s more opt in. Do advertisers love this platform? Yes, they do, and with each passing quarter they are upping their commitment and investment into content marketing platform. Consulting firm Brandpoint surveyed 389 senior marketers and marketing decision makers to find out that
- 80% of marketers are willing to pay for the value add of well crafted professional content
- 99% of respondents had used at least one form of content marketing
- Marketing communication, social content, e-newsletters, images & infographics, online articles, whitepapers, e-books, press releases, advertorials and blogging drive the best results
- 70% of marketers plan to outsource one form of content in the next 12 months
- It’s engaging and custom (tailor made) content and professional level writing that most appeal to the marketers
Turning ‘an image speaks a thousand words’ upside down, the survey also stated that ‘content’ or ‘words’ are considered more powerful than the images (given the massive popularity Pinterest (Adglitz in there) is getting, I think there lies a debate on the issue though). The marketers also rated video less important than social content, press release, newsletters, blogs and online articles.
Another report from market research firm Nielsen shows how content marketing can help built trust. According to the report 58% consumers said they trust editorial sites, emailers and branded content more than any other form of web content.
World wide web is an unending information source, a strategic CM plan can transform a website into an insightful resource thus enabling businesses contribute to the ongoing domain centric conversations and boost positive branding.
Goals of Content Marketing
With the help of socially evolved internet and more powerful consumer behavior, content curation is now part of mainstream. What with process of finding, organizing and sharing online content, more and more people are proactively trying to discover content that would matter most to them from the heap of mountainous content. Often, however, the restless users consider the almost readily content as their destination of search. They simply just don’t dig enough to escape cognitive dissonance.
3 broad goals of CM are to:
People want knowledge. That’s a universal truth. Yes, people were not aggressively looking for knowledge in the bygone era when knowledge was not so easily accessible. But not anymore, now whether you want or not, you are part of a universal proletariat group, for you its now a choice. Concept of so called promoting content possibly has existed since the time immemorial, but now that barrier to knowledge entry has been vanished and a new glasnost era has emerged. The proliferation never cease to surprise us with leads from corners, we otherwise would not have known.
This is an opportunity to prepare and promote content that answers the ‘how’ part of everything. How to write a resignation letter, how to market business, how to prepare an RFP, how to navigate through crowd, how to wear a tie, how to use chopstick, how to take bath and what not. The idea is not to sell, but to educate, to deliver information that users will take interest in rather than being shameless sales pitcher. Multimedia content helps.
Newspapers, trade magazines, televisions are no more the lone source of news and information. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and blogs now disseminate information like never before. Without gatekeepers they set agenda, create opinion, mould trend. Most powerful governments fear them, most elitist brands want to reach out to newer demographics, most populist brands want to be more ‘like’able, everyone is wanting to catch the social fish from the evolving water. Can anyone afford to undermine the power to inform?
A recent Comscore study found that customer service is critical for consumers looking to buy products or services online. CM can take a progressive step here in addressing common customer queries before they ask coupled with updated, periodical content. These ready information can make customers life easy and make marketers earn some loyalty points as well.
Education and information are ways to get your visitor lead to the water. How can you make them drink is the next step. Getting visitors perform an action is the most crucial aspect for any marketing initiative. Inspire does not per se mean we inspire them with motivational quotes. But, can we lead people to perform measurable actions? Can they dream of a success, can they consider our content to be their stairway to success? More than overpromising and bringing the moon down, can as a marketer, we honestly, truly, relevantly, passionately, originally can make it certain that we will bring value for our customers? Solutions are important but some basic human characteristics make a vendor stand out from others and inspire people to take action.
Inspiring content, whether marketing or not, are changing peoples’ life every day. It adds fresh perspective to our life, we run marathon, take paint and brush, watch movies which we would not have otherwise watched, travel to places we did not know exist, pick up new hobbies and so on.
If content can act as a catalyst for change and inspire people to take action, our content also should flip conventional wisdom on its head, can ignite emotion by pushing boundaries and can set examples by screening creative or overwhelming cases.
Evolution of Content Marketing
Content Marketing vis-a-vis Traditional Advertising