Is Content Marketing the Key to Capturing New Customers?


Content marketing is a must for brands that want to create awareness and attract new customers. But what does it take to create a successful content strategy?

For many years, marketing aimed to pitch a product or service. Regardless of the medium, your marketing approach was to tell the audience your product was the best. Laundry soap, toothpaste, soda, cars, etc., were all marketed the same way.

But marketing has changed dramatically since the invention of the internet. It has allowed companies to reach out to potential customers on a more personal level. The goal is no longer to sell your product right off the bat but to help customers in meaningful ways so that they see your product or service as the best solution to their problem.

That’s where content marketing and its role in the age of the internet and social media comes in.

What Is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute defined content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

However, content marketing guru Neil Patel believes that definition requires clarification.

In a blog post, he said, “It means that content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.”

All About Storytelling

Content marketing is all about storytelling; it’s not about making the hard sell anymore. It’s about educating your customers, helping them with problems and even offering entertainment.

You can use storytelling —offering relevant, valuable content — to guide potential customers through the buyer’s journey, all the way to a purchase.

A Better Experience

Customer experience is becoming increasingly important to business success.

According to Forbes, approximately 60% of customers would pay more for better customer service. And almost 89% of customers will do repeat business with a company that offers excellent customer service, even if that company has made a mistake. (Salesforce)

On the other side of customer service, a bad experience is enough to drive customers away. In fact, after more than one bad experience, 80% of customers said they’d switch to a competitor. (Zendesk)

Related Article: 5 Areas to Factor Into Your 2022 Content Marketing Planning

History of Content Marketing

Content marketing has become a bit of a buzzword, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, you would think it’s a relatively new marketing strategy.

Did you know, however, that the first example of content marketing is 300 years old? Or that Benjamin Franklin, famed writer, inventor and politician, used it?

The Content Marketing Institute credits Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” as the first known example of content marketing. The Almanac, known for its entertaining idioms, was used by Franklin to advertise his new printing business in Philadelphia. And it must have worked because he became the Official Printer of Pennsylvania (and later New Jersey).

The Furrow and GI Joe

Another good example of content marketing occurred in 1895 when John Deere began to publish “The Furrow.”

Distributed for free across the country, the magazine featured subjects of interest to farmers. And farmers soon began to associate the publication’s helpful information with the John Deere brand.

Another example, in 1982, was Hasbro and Marvel’s partnership to launch the comic book series “G.I. Joe – A Real American Hero!”

Hasbro, the maker of G.I. Joe toys, realized that boys aged 5–12 love comics. And, of that same group of boys, two out of three owned G.I. Joes. The brand knew its audience and found a way to provide content that encouraged readers to buy.

Why Content Marketing Is Important

As companies have transitioned from traditional to digital marketing, let’s consider the advantages offered by content marketing:

  • It allows companies to educate potential customers about products and services using a non-salesy approach
  • Brands can direct content marketing to a more targeted audience, resulting in a better ROI and higher conversion rates
  • Companies can build relationships with customers that often last many years or even generations of the same family
  • Content marketing aims to understand and resolve customer problems or pain points
  • It allows companies to build a community around their products or services, frequently allowing customers to help each other resolve issues

Types of Content Marketing

The goal of content marketing is to offer value to prospects and customers. How marketers deliver this value, however, can vary greatly.

Let’s look at some common examples below.

Blog Posts

Blogs, aided by search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, are a popular way to make people aware of your company. When someone searches online for a particular topic — using Google, for example — they often discover links to various blog posts.

According to a 2022 report from HubSpot, blogs are the second most popular media format used by marketers — with the first being video. Individuals within your company can write blogs, or you can hire outside freelance writers to focus on topics of interest for your customers.

Infographics

Visual content is a great way to add value to any blog post or white paper. In a 2020 Content Marketing Institute survey of B2B marketers, 67% said they used infographics to engage their target audience.

Using charts, graphs and illustrations can help users find quick answers to complex questions and ease potential customers’ pain points.

White Papers

Longer and more thoughtful than most blog posts, white papers attempt to provide users with explanations of issues. When you offer white papers, you identify yourself as a source of a probable solution.

Similar to blog posts, you can use a team of in-house writers or hire freelance writers to develop white papers.

Email Newsletters

Many people thought the days of email as a valuable tool for business were over — but nothing could be further from the truth.

Email newsletters, produced using in-house software or a template format such as Substack, allow you to keep in touch with your existing and potential customers to provide relevant, up-to-date and valuable information. You can send email newsletters daily, weekly or monthly.

Video

Video is fast becoming content marketing’s tool of choice. Videos can be as short as three to five minutes or as long as an hour or more. Marketers can use this medium to educate their audience on a topic relevant to the brand — such as how to use a product correctly. They can also use video to entertain and amuse.

For example, look at Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” video series on YouTube. In each video, founder and then-host Tom Dickson blended unusual objects (an iPhone, Amazon Echo, lighters, golf club, batteries, etc.) in one of his blenders.

The original series started in 2006 and ended in 2020. As of June 2021,  “Will It Blend?” has been viewed more than 290 million times. People watched it because it was fun, but it helped them decide what blender to buy. What started as a one-person operation now employs more than 500 people.

Podcasts

A 2020 survey from The Infinite Dial found that 37% of Americans aged 12 and older listened to a podcast within the past month. Perhaps even more interesting was that listenership was divided almost evenly between men and women.

Podcasts can be about any topic, but they work the best when you find a niche not already covered. They provide users with a great gateway into other products you offer.

For instance, Harvard Business Review publishes a weekly podcast called HBR IdeaCast. It includes up-to-date information on significant trends in business and interviews with industry leaders and managers.

CMSWire also hosts a semi-monthly podcast called CX Decoded that features industry leaders speaking on customer experience, data management and other insightful marketing topics.

Books

Writing a book may seem to go against the idea of digital content marketing. Still, with the widespread availability of eBooks and audiobooks, it can be an excellent way for a brand to establish credibility as an expert in its chosen industry.

Once written, brands can use these books (in ebook form) as assets to encourage people to provide their contact information or sign up for a newsletter.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is an excellent way for brand leaders to build their credentials as experts. Look to forums such as TED talks, Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast, The Moth or Pecha Kucha. These talks should entertain, inform and build your brand.

Once the public speaking engagement is over, brands can also share a recording of these talks with their followers in emails and blog posts.

Related Article: The Case for Artificial Intelligence in Content Marketing Use Cases

Stages of the Buyer’s Journey

Content marketing requires content strategy. An essential part of that strategy is determining the buyer’s journey, or the steps every buyer takes to decide whether to buy a service or product.

Content marketers usually describe the stages as awareness, consideration and decision — alternatively known as the three Rs (recognition, reflection and resolution). Regardless of what you call them, these stages all describe the buyer’s various steps before purchasing a product or service.

Awareness

In this stage, prospective customers realize they need a particular service or product. They might use Google or another search engine to research this need, so blog posts are essential. You can also use white papers, eBooks and original research to engage with your target audience.

Your search engine optimization strategy is critical during this stage. With the right SEO techniques, you can ensure your content reaches the top search results.



Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Logo
Reset Password
Shopping cart