Content marketing has moved on from being a buzzword to one of the most important inbound marketing practices. It's easy to be skeptical about content as there's a general belief that people–especially millennials and gen Z– don't read as much compared to the past. However, it has been proven to be on the contrary, as 68% would spend time reading more about the brands that interest them.
But do businesses actually benefit from content marketing? The answer is absolutely YES and in fact, it's becoming increasingly more important.
How so? We are constantly bombarded with advertisements across all media platforms from traditional to digital. This leads to the fact in-your-face approaches are rather interruptive and pushy than helpful.
Quality content, on the other hand, is what pulls the attention back from the consumers by providing them what they actually need while building a bridge of trust between a brand and its consumer, and in turn, generate profits.
Let's have a closer look and see if I can help you change your mind about your content marketing.
So, what is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating relevant, valuable, and useful storytelling that resonates with a target audience in order to solve an existing problem and ultimately generate leads and profitable actions.
What is content exactly? Well, content is everything your target audience can experience and interact with across all mediums – this includes content on your website, blog posts, e-mails, social media activities, podcasts, infographics, and so on.
Now, what does "relevant and valuable content" even mean? If your content is relevant, it answers the question that your audience is searching for; and valuable content helps them solve a problem or release a burden on their shoulders. In fact, 6 out of 10 consumers would likely make a purchase if they found the content of that product/service useful and relevant, according to Demand Metric.
But who cares about Content nowadays when visuals are everything, right? Not really.
A consumer would perceive your new brand as how they would with someone they've just met for the first time. The attractive outlook and the overall energy—whether youthful, sophisticated, or mysterious—that they exude would leave a strong first impression. Brands tend to try the same approach with the goal to attract prospects with strong brand elements like logos, color schemes, and a smooth website interface, but would that be enough to retain consumers' attention for your brand? I mean, there's a high chance that your competitors are also putting out the same efforts. So, to set yourself apart from competitors, you need to create values, provide solutions to their life problems, ease their pain (either literally or figuratively) – you need QUALITY CONTENT.
But don’t take my words for it, think of the last time you purchased a product or chose a service from a new company and what the deciding factor was that led to the ultimate decision. No matter the product/service, your experience somewhat went like this:
- Search on a search engine and found multiple products
- Filter the products by scanning for key information
- Shortlist the most relevant ones
- Research each product in more detail
- Decide on the best match and make the purchase.
We perform step 1, 2, and 3 on a daily basis sometimes without being aware of it. From searching for "best craft beer near me" to "compressing PDF online", we are constantly finding new products and services either casually or when we're intensely hunting for something to solve a problem that we've encountered. The latter is when step 4 and 5 come to play.
Let's say you are a prestigious international in Ho Chi Minh and one of your prospects is on her hunt for your service; the problem is that your competitors are also on her radar. After discovering a handful of candidates through search, she'd start narrowing down by highlighting the key information like location, school size, and tuition fee, then dive into the deeds of her top 3 schools by going through their web pages and reading for more information–that's step 4.
Now, why should your prospect choose your institution over your competitors, when all seem to provide more or less the same services? In other words, what would be the tie-breaker factor that sets you apart? You can guess it by now – quality content. The more questions are answered, the more problems are solved, the more burdens are shouldered, the more your potential customer would trust your school's credibility and likely to click that contact button. Any company can say their product/service is the best, but only a handful can create trust in their customers and that is why quality content plays a crucial role in establishing that value.
What are the exact benefits of content marketing, so to speak?
- It pulls your audience, rather than pushes.
In a world full of ad blockers and information overload, quality content–or content that matters to people–is what pulls your consumers to your brand.
A staggering 4,000 to 10,000 ads are exposed daily which lead to 527M people using ad blockers on mobile and 236M on desktop, according to the 2020 PageFair Adblock Report.
Digital ads are the billboards of the internet which, similarly to traditional media, is an in-your-face approach that people no longer care about–who would want the cat videos on Youtube to be interrupted anyway?
Creating content that is valuable and meaningful to your audience, or relieves a burden on their shoulders wins over any ad budgets and aggressive call to actions.
- It drives conversion while saving costs.
Hear me out: "Budget-friendly, yet effective marketing". It sounds unreal, I know, but in fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing while generates 3 times more leads.
Every year, companies spend billions of dollars on advertising to essentially tell consumers how great their product or service is. Content, on the other hand, is a powerful way to show them your brand's value without being pushy and intrusive.
- Engage, engage, engage!
Content, whether it's a blog post, infographic, or how-to video, creates engagement with your audience before a purchase decision is made. When your potential consumers are actively engaged through relevant content, it builds a meaningful relationship between your brand and the audience which essentially leads them to buying your product or using your service.
- It positions you as an expert in your industry and builds trust in your audience.
This is one of, if not the most important reason why content marketing matters. The more quality content created, the more your audience will rely on your business as a trusted source of information, which essentially drives more credibility and loyalty.
Your audience would like to get to know your business before deciding on a purchase. The content on your website or social media allows your audience to form an opinion about your company and whether or not your brand resonates with them
As a small or newly-established business, having a decent amount of valuable content would give you a boost in brand reputation and an advantage over your competitors. In fact, an Impact report shows that small businesses that blog generates 126% more lead compared to those that don't.
Let's sum up.
Content is the present – and future – of marketing, according to Content Marketing Institute,
- Relevant and valuable content is the key to a successful digital marketing campaign. While there's a general belief that content is overshadowed by designs and visuals, it's continuously proven otherwise.
- Content marketing paves the way for brands to speak their values and position themselves as an expert in their field.
- By engaging with the audience with quality content and solving their problem, content marketing pulls the audience closer to the brand and builds meaningful relationships with them.
- Content marketing is cost-effectiveness to which traditional marketing could never come close.