Marketing is a field of cut-throat competition, where everyone needs to grab the finite set of consumers. Due to the fixed pool of customers, a new technique has to continuously replace the old, obsolete ones. Once upon a time, wall posters were a great mode of the advertisement; but today, nobody looks twice at them. A series of new, refined techniques have emerged that aim to grab the customer’s attention in a more calculated manner. Content Marketing is yet another addition to it.
Like any other recent marketing strategy, content marketing is not yet understood by a lot of people. You could assume that it has something to do with using content to advertise the product. But what type of content is it? How is it provided to the customer? How will it improve the customer base? There must be dozens of such questions that might be buzzing in your head, which is why we are here.
What is Content Marketing
In simple terms, content marketing could be defined as:
“a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” -Wikipedia
Content Marketing involves creating content that would be relevant and valuable to the customer. It does not outright promote its own product, but rather give away useful information about it. The content does not instruct the customer to go with their product, but rather make the decision on his own. This, in effect, makes the whole difference.
Research have pointed out that today, the customers like to be in control. There are no more salespeople needed; the customers like to do all the hard work. Almost every customer likes to be informed about the product he is planning to buy, rather than depending on the information provided the salesperson. In fact, 81 % of the customers like to gain the information online about the product they are planning to buy, before even entering the shop. It is time-consuming, confusing and tedious- but this is exactly what the customers want today because it gives them control.
Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Better sales
Like we said earlier, customers today don’t like to be told what to do. If you go to a person and tell him to try your soft drink, he is most likely to refuse (until you give it for free). However, if you tell him how beneficial soft drinks are and then subtly hint at the new soft drink in the market (which happens to be your drink), he is more likely to go for it. This is how content marketing has been able to get better results than traditional marketing.
2. Cost Savings
Content writing is one of the most economical forms of marketing. While creative marketing methods usually involve high-budget advertisements with expensive stars, content marketing simply requires a bunch of writers. And as we said earlier, the results are usually equal or even better. This holds true for other methods as well, like creating SEO friendly content.
3. More loyal customer base
This is not an apparent result and usually requires special conditions to prove, but it has been observed that customers gained via content marketing are more loyal than customers gained via other modes of marketing. This is because, in content marketing, the customer is the one who made the choice all on his own, so he is more likely to stubbornly stick to his choice.
Now that you know what Content Marketing is and how it is useful, naturally you would want to know how it is done. There are a lot of ways to implement content marketing as your marketing strategy. Some of them are:
Visual aid is almost always more effective than plaintexts, which is why infographics are a popular choice. They are the charts, graphs and other visual diagrams that contain data and statistics regarding a particular category/product. With text, the problem is getting unknowingly biased towards your product. However, with infographics, there is minimum text involved while the graphs tell the story.
Who said that content marketing has to be textual? Videos are a very popular mode of marketing today, and it is applicable in content marketing too. The prudent method is to make the video as generic as possible, which eliminates the need to update the video time and again. Also, cater to the needs to your consumer base while creating the video.
- Case studies
In case you are into advertising a more serious line of products, case studies can really help you. Building case studies with pure data and numbers give you an authentic basis to promote your product without even seeming to promote it.
Books might be a product in itself, but they are also a great marketing tool. Books provide a chance to narrate and present a story. However, books (when used for content marketing) must focus on educating rather than entertaining. Alternatively, you can go for blog writing services to achieve the same results.
Steps for Content Marketing
In order to reap the benefits of content marketing, there are a series of steps that must be followed:
In this step, you will have to identify the customer base with a common problem, and suggest that you have a solution for it. This is done to generate the interest of the customer in you.
Now that the customer knows that there is a solution, you have to provide him with the solution. This must contain pure facts without any bias. The solution must be capable of solving the problem the customer had in the beginning.
Once you have provided the customer with the solution, you must be careful not to go overboard by prompting him to buy your product. Instead, you should provide him with links to comparisons between your product and others, and allow him to think about the choice.
At this stage, the customer finally makes his choice and goes ahead to buy the product.
Content Marketing and SEO
Search Engine Optimization is one of the most popular forms of marketing today. However, SEO would be not of much use without great content. Here is why:
- SEO aims at increasing the reach of the product by creating SEO friendly content. This is done by using keywords in the content so that the search engine ranks the site higher in the organic result.
- However, simply reaching the top page in the results is not enough. At this point, the person is still a “viewer”. As any marketing expert can tell you, converting a “viewer” into a “customer” is one of the hardest things to do.
- This is where content marketing comes into play. Great content ensures that once the viewer has reached your page, he decides to stay there and read further. Good content enables him to make a choice that is in your favor.
Content Marketing and SMM
Social Media Marketing is another wide method of marketing used today. Social Media has one of the greatest penetrations among customers; hence they are great platforms to promote a product. However, as was the case with SEO, merely being visible in the feed of the customers is not enough. You have to provide a great and gripping content which might compel the user to go with your product. This is how content marketing proves beneficial in social media marketing.Blog writing services have also found their place in getting more customers.
Offline Content Marketing
While content marketing is a great mode of online marketing, it is almost just as good in the offline world too. This is because content marketing thrives on the ability to “narrate”. In the real world too, there are plenty of opportunities to narrate in order to sell a product.
One great example is the G.I. Joe comics that were produced by Marvel. This series was launched with the aim of creating a market base and capturing the interests of the readers- which it did. The main move came up after some time when the action figures of G.I. Joe was launched and became an instant success. This was because the comics had already created a huge market base for the franchise, and the toys found it much easier to sell them based on that narrative.