Content Marketing: How does it work and how can it help you build relationships?
Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you. Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.
It comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. You can publish content on your own site, develop relationships to publish content on third-party sites, or leverage social media platforms. You can work in various formats such as blog posts, newsletters, tutorials, video, interviews, etc. In this way, you can shape your content marketing to best fit your business’ needs and create a meaningful relationship with your audience.
In case you were wondering how vital content marketing is now, and will continue to be in the future, refer to these Zyxware statistics:
- Nearly 80% of small businesses use Content Marketing especially Social Media to draw new customers.
- By 2019, it is predicted that companies will spend up to 50% of their marketing budget on digital investment.
- The customer conversion rate of organizations that implement content marketing is about 6 times higher than those who do not.
The numbers clearly show that content marketing is no trend. It is here to stay as consumers and brands alike wish to create genuine relationships between one another that provide a win-win scenario. Consumers who engage with your business’ online content receive valuable information while your brand is able to benefit from the positive associations that come of that exchange. Those positive associations translate into brand trust.
A brand that has its customer’s trust and confidence is one that the consumer will most likely be attracted to. This built trust can be managed by developing content that your consumer will find useful and relevant. If used effectively, content marketing can push customers to visit your social media pages, website, and more. Consumers are especially drawn to engage when they are confident that you are supplying content that is informative and authentic. This creates a certain brand authority that allows your business to have a voice and play a role in consumers’ thinking.
In order to create an exceptional content experience, your brand has to stop thinking about promoting and start thinking in terms of providing a meaningful value exchange. Every brand has something to offer and if your brand presents its offer in a compelling way, consumers won’t mind that you’re promoting your brand at the same time.
A superior example of user-generated content is Straight Outta Compton ‘s viral "Straight Outta Somewhere" meme generator campaign. Those who visited the film’s website were able to use the meme generator to edit the infamous Straight Outta Compton logo. The site has had 7 million visitors and nearly 6 million downloads of the meme. It simultaneously trended No. 1 two days in a row across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Rebecca Ford,
The Hollywood Reporter). All of the people who used the meme generator may not have gone to see the movie, but their participation still greatly benefitted the film’s promotional efforts.
This example supports the idea of making the value exchange that exists between your brand and its target market a meaningful one. It is important to note that a brand should primarily be creating or sharing content that has some sort of tie with what they do/promote/sell. So, if you’re a consumer beauty brand that’s posted a new celebrity gossip blog, your content wouldn’t be communicating to your audience in the most effective way due to the content’s negligible ties to your brand.
The best route to take in developing a genuine value exchange is creating or selecting content that operates within your company’s brand. In this example you could feature beauty bloggers that utilize your products and show how well they work. By choosing relevant content, metrics can be used to show how your brand can eventually monetize user engagement and build your brand’s authority in the market.
So what makes for good content marketing? Here are some guidelines you should have in mind while creating content via Search Engine Land:
- Don’t promote your products or services.
- Create unique new value-added content.
- Invite dialog and ask questions.
- Respond to comments directly on your posts or in social media.
- Find ways to help people who reach out to you.
Content marketing targeted at building your brand’s reputation and visibility is not about promoting your products or services. It’s about adding value to the people who consume your content. If adopted, these 5 guidelines will allow for more genuine content marketing that adapts to your consumers tastes and that gives your brand credibility.
With strategic content marketing people will begin to feel that they have a relationship with your brand, even if they are not interacting directly with it. They start to see your brand as one with a voice. Content quality is pivotal to sustaining this voice so that consumers not only listen to what your brand has to say, but to seek it out.