Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. 69% of marketers say quality content is superior to direct mail and PR, and a further 86% state that content marketing is now an important part of their organisation’s overall marketing and communication strategy. Combine this knowledge with the fact that 72% of marketers are producing significantly more content than they did a year ago, you now must admit – we have your attention .
But Why Is Content Marketing So Effective?
Today’s consumer has more of a choice than ever before. Instead of just having a coffee, you have a plethora of choices; from lattes, soya cappuccinos, decaf mocha, skinny vanilla flat white, americano with frothed milk, espresso, dare we say it.. the festive-spiced latte… But really, the list still goes on. It’s naïve to assume you can simply sell your ‘one product’. And as choice increases, brand loyalty decreases. So what can you do about it?
Businesses instead need to target their consumers in a much more thought-provoking way, creating a personality which evokes an emotional response. With this emotion, the consumer establishes a real connection and relationship with your brand, and this builds an extra layer on top of a utilitarian appeal. So they are attracted to you not just because you are cheaper than the next most convenient option – but because they are invested in your brand.
As marketers, we all want our audience to believe, trust and invest in our brand. But here’s the hurdle – how do we achieve it?
Door opener: Effective Content Marketing.
I'm Sold - How Do I Do It?
Content is powerful for a brand because a value is exchanged: you are not just promoting your product, you are offering something in return. It is more than just an ad. Your marketing activity may provide entertainment and a bit of humour, or may educate your audience on a relevant topic.
You may create content based on various source types, with differing objectives and promote your collateral across various channels, but there are key common denominators to keep at the forefront of your mind:
Quality – Poor content can do more harm than good
Content has little value if it lacks quality. You cannot simply churn out content with little care or attention and expect to enhance your brand. Poor content can do more harm than good; damaging your brand and reputation.
Keep Calm – Don’t Spam!
Distributing content too often – for example, posting too many blog or Facebook posts, or sending out too many emails, can be considered ‘spammy’ to consumers, and this is the top reason to unfollow a brand amongst the ‘baby boomer’ generation.
Focus More on ‘Enjoy’ than ‘Annoy’
Every generation agreed that ‘Annoying Content’ is a key reason for unfollowing a brand. This may be a result of irrelevance, for example when the wrong consumer is targeted and the content means little to them, or perhaps it is full of errors and poorly written.
Pete Markey, Brand Communications and Marketing Director at Aviva, reiterates the need for relevance:
“Content marketing is as much about relevance as it is about reach. The aim is to create something genuinely helpful or with a purpose, that considers the individual person at a specific moment in their life”.
Source: Marketing Week
So, remember - annoying content is unanimously viewed as a catalyst to losing followers.
Be Consistent - and consistency good!
Your messaging must be consistent across all communication channels – it is your brand and its’ personality so it must be united. What you say, and how you say it, builds a customer perception and this must be strategically delivered.
27,000 consumers in a research project by McKinsey & Company of found that a consistent customer experience across the entire customer journey increases customer satisfaction, builds trust, and boosts loyalty. It may not be sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy.
So being consistent – and consistently good – really pays off.
So when it comes to marketing strategy going into 2017, marketers appear to agree on one thing: that using visuals in your content is absolutely necessary. This is backed up by survey from Venngage which found the following:
But which visuals work the best?
There is no right answer.
While 35% of the above survey participants reported choosing stock images most frequently, fewer than 8% reported high engagement with this tactic. Over 40% instead reported infographics as being the most engaging and 25% said the same of data visualizations and charts. 20.2% conversely found the most engagement with videos and presentations.
It appears that a mixture of visuals works best – combining a platitude of tactics to target all your customers and monitoring this engagement and acting accordingly.
There's no time like the present...
You'll know yourself if you aren't utilising content marketing to it's full potential for your business - and if you aren't, we strongly recommend you take your content marketing under control like a bull by the horns.
Content marketing is growing in importance to brands as we enter the age of the capricious consumer. Once you realise it's potential, a whole new door can be opened and you can take a new step towards digital transformation and reap the benefits of increased brand presence, strengthened SEO and great ROI for your marketing activities.
Du Plessis, Charmaine. 2017. Towards a more universal understanding of content marketing: the contribution of academic research. Proceedings of the 6th Business & Management Conference, Geneva, pp. 41 - 54. Click here to view article.
Zhanna S. Petersen. 2017. Startups: Building a Brand through Content Marketing Strategies.
University of Minnesota - School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Click here to view article.