Let’s not kid ourselves. Any marketer worth their weight in nickels know the importance of digital marketing and social media.
But the hard reality is, one piece of the digital marketing and social media puzzle that is still left out is the power of content. We talk about how important it is to increase engagement on Twitter or how to go viral on reddit but rarely do we talk about the importance of content in everything we do.
Creating content that an audience likes is hard, and it’s not something that can be done in the matter of minutes.
It requires commitment and it requires an ongoing effort to deliver unique and compelling content. Executives around the globe still don’t get it. Many are still just trying to get their feet wet in the digital space and are allowing their businesses to be average instead of remarkable. Studies have shown that content needs to be the backbone of every digital strategy. And here are five reasons why:
1. Customers Trust Content, not Ads
Blogging, video, social media, ebooks, and guides are just a few types of content that you will see around. But I’ve found that the type of content you use doesn’t really impact the level of trust you have with your audience by much. In fact, I find that the substance within the content is what really differentiates the trust-worthy brands from the rest.
In the early days of marketing, customers were developing their relationships and receiving information from brands through ads. Today, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. Additionally, 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. At the end of the day, the feelings a user has towards a brand will make or break when they actually use the product. The content you provide is more like a first date where it helps the user realize you’ve got potential and aren’t a creep. (tweet this idea).
When companies like Dove for Men sponsor blog posts on sites that carry a loyal and specific following like ArtofManliness.com, they are doing it because they understand the value associated with this placement. The readers (Doves target audience) will read Roadmap to Buying Your First Home and find great value in the content and associate that value with their brand and possibly click their link to learn more. This builds trust and provides a sense of closeness to their target audience that couldn’t be established by simply running an adwords campaign.
2. Blogging Can Drive Lots of Value
In another blog post about content marketing ideas for Enterprise startups, I talked about how blogs were starting to get their groove back. I stand by that statement and according to HubSpot, so do thousands of marketers who believe blogs are the most useful form of content for their clients.
When done right, a blog provides businesses with a chance to share value with their target audience while driving demand for their offering. As they develop content for their blog they are building a story and emotion to be associated with their brand. The content a brand develops must be aligned with the needs and wants of their target audience, and be filled with quality insights that supports their goals.
More than anything, the blog posts must drive value for both the brand and the readers. Brands want traffic and customers want content that provides answers or solutions to their needs and problems. With 37% of marketers saying that blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing, it’s slowly becoming clear that it’s an opportunity that brands cannot afford to avoid.
3. Content Drives Meaningful Business Results
Just like with any business, cash rules everything. Cashflow tends to be the most important factor for most of my clients. You should test your efforts on a regular basis to see how they are impacting your bottom line.
According to Hubspot, companies that spend more than 50% of their lead generation budget on inbound marketing report a significantly lower cost-per-lead. Meaning, the act of generating content for your brand can have a direct impact in the amount of money you’re spending to acquire customers. Seems like a no-brainer. Just take a look at the number of lead gen tactics happening on this unbounce page:
4. Most of Your Competitors Suck at it
Want a competitive advantage? Look no further than the power of content marketing.
Recent studies show that creating original content is seen as the biggest challenge for 69% of content marketers. Presenting brands an opportunity to use content to stand out in a variety of industries and verticals around the world. This opportunity is one that won’t last forever but is currently presenting brands with a chance to excel and drive revenue while others struggle to stay afloat.
Developing a competitive advantage through content marketing isn’t something new. The folks at Mint.com perfected the art and science of content marketing back when they launched their very first blog sharing tips on financial planning and everything to do with your wallet. Today, we look at brands like Kissmetrics, BufferApp and OkCupid as brands who standout for their commitment and dedication to generating quality content.
Quick Tip: 54% of brands don’t have an on-site, dedicated content creator. Make content someones role. (Tweet this)
5. Content Marketing is The Future (and Present)
With all the buzz about Google Glasses and Tesla Motors, people are more excited than ever for what the future will hold. One thing we know for certain is that nothing is actually certain. Yet, we can make good guesses and take calculated risks on what we predict the future will look like.
One thing I’m willing to bet on is content. According to eMarketer, spending on content marketing, video marketing, and social media will increase by 15.1% in 2013 to a total of $118.4 billion. And according to Hanley-Wood Business Media, 78% of CMOs agree with me in thinking that custom content is the future of marketing.
As society moves into the future, we must prepare for the future, today. We must work to develop organizations that value the importance of content from the top to the bottom. Whether it’s the importance of delivering a well crafted video from a CEO’s pitch to the development of an infographic to be shared across the web, understanding what types of content we should create is only half of the battle.
I’d love to be able to tell you that content marketing is an easy way for businesses to succeed. I wish I could say that the combination of the stats above and some of the approaches to content we’ve talked about before are all you need to know.
But creating content marketing initiatives that drive meaningful and measurable results require out of the box thinking. It’s not as simple as having the epiphany that an infographic is a great way to drive traffic and then building one.
You need to be willing to go an extra mile.
You need to be able to look at your audience and truly understand what makes them tick. You need to be able to gather insights from social intelligence and use those insights to guide the idea behind your initiatives. Create a compelling story and inject it into every piece of content you create. That’s how you win. That’s how you succeed.
I’m currently working on a content marketing eBook that will help people looking to find success in social media. If you wan’t to get on the mailing list and be the first to receive any updates on the progress and launch, sign up today.