It’s often said (jubilantly, with much hand-waving and jumping up and down), that content “is the future of marketing!” And you know, I think it is.
But that proclamation doesn’t really address the here and now, does it? I mean, as a business owner, you probably want to know what content marketing can actionably achieve for your business (and your customers), within a less ambiguous timeframe.
That’s why I’ve scoured the web to find what the marketing experts are saying about content marketing. Specifically, the benefits that make it worthwhile to start engaging today.
Here’s the best from the best:
…For many small, B2B or less inherently interesting brands, the current level of social media chatter is essentially zero. It’s difficult to make listening and opportunistic engagement the nucleus of your approach when there’s nothing to listen or respond to in the first place.
That’s why content marketing becomes steadily more important for brands that don’t have existing social chatter. If they’re not talking, it’s up to YOU to create content that gets them talking.”
–Jay Baer, digital marketing strategist and author of Youtility
In other words: Content marketing gives your company something to talk about.
Think of a content piece like a pug-shaped statue in a stranger’s living room. It’s a conversation piece, an entry point. It gets things warmed up.
You say, “Hey, check out this excellent blog post we wrote about a question y’all have been asking us recently!” and enter the social sphere with confidence. Your first blog post is like that beautiful ceramic pug, just aching for commentary.
Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?).
That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day. Good content marketing makes a person stop…read… think… behave… differently.”
–Joe Pulizzi, content marketing speaker, strategist, and founder of the Content Marketing Institute
In other words: Content marketing works where traditional marketing doesn’t anymore.
The glory days of promotional advertising are over. Consumers are wise to tricks and ploys, and quite frankly, bored by it all. But you still need a way to connect with your audience, right?
That’s where content marketing comes in. You can engage prospects and ignite conversations with them without forcing annoying messages at their faces. By providing original, valuable information, you can stand out from the noise and give customers something to make their lives that little bit easier.
It’s about showing customers how awesome you are (not telling them).
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, founding partner of content marketing resource hub Copyblogger
In other (other) words: Content marketing shows people your company rocks.
We all love those moments in life where we are granted the opportunity to let our true (and perhaps otherwise hidden) talents shine. Those moments are rare and delicious, and almost always leave the people around us wanting more.
Content marketing gives companies a platform to create those moments and a loudspeaker to amplify them.
Without being promotional, content marketing effectively achieves business goals by building brand reputation, persuading prospects to buy, and retaining customers.”
–Heidi Cohen, marketing expert and founder of HeidiCohen.com
In other words: Content marketing helps businesses grow.
Choose your goals. Align your content marketing strategy to meet them. Now go.
Even on a sparse budget, content marketing can break ground on your business goals, because its formats accommodate a range of functions, from increasing customer loyalty to providing sales support online. From eBooks to video, infographics and blog posts, useful content takes form in a variety of ways that can be affordable to produce, which allows businesses to make the most of their advertising resources and budgets, however large or small.
Growing a business takes time, but content marketing makes it easier to hit the ground running.
We employ content marketing in order to deliver on the information needs of our audience. Our goal is to help our audience find the information they need to run their business, grow their revenues and beat their competition.
We know that if we put the needs of our customers ahead of our own, that we will earn their trust and ultimately, they will come to us when they are looking for technology, services and advice on how to be innovative.”
–Michael Brenner, Vice President of SAP Marketing & Content Strategy
In other words: Content marketing helps businesses earn customer trust.
No one is going to buy from a business they don’t trust. To show customers you’re the real deal, you need to prove it. In person, this can be pretty easy. Online is another story.
Publishing useful content is an effective way to build trust because it requires the business to take action. It goes back to the power of showing instead of telling.
Engaging, informative whitepapers, videos and blog posts take time to produce and promote. That’s why the activity of content marketing itself tells customers, “We value your business, and we’re prepared to work to gain your trust.”
Content Marketing For Today
Prepare for the “future of marketing” by building your content marketing strategy now. As Baer and the rest of the gang suggest, regardless of where the future may lead, you can’t go wrong with a solid foundation of thoughtful, customer-centric content.
Ready to get started, but not sure where to begin? We’ve been there. Comment below or email us your content marketing questions for advice and resources!
Feature Image: Flikr CC: Pranav Bhatt