Marketing has always been about persuading people as they go about their daily lives to give a product or service a try. This used to mean placing flashy advertisements in newspaper, on television or on the radio. But as competition for peoples’ attention rises and people increasingly spend more time online instead of focusing on more traditional media channels, different methods of marketing are becoming more effective.
Specifically, this new reality of people spending more time online is one of the major reasons behind the phenomenal rise of content marketing in recent years. If you haven’t embraced content marketing yet, you are likely missing out on a lot of online revenue.
What Does Content Marketing Actually Mean?
Put simply, it’s about creating and distributing various types of content (articles, blog posts, emails, white papers, videos, social media posts and more) to attract and engage an audience you want to market your products and services to. Because it’s more focused on offering useful information and less about “promotion,” content marketing can build a bridge between consumers and brands. Ultimately, the idea is that people will buy from you, because you’ve earned their respect.
Why Content Marketing is Essential in Today’s Digital Marketplace
Valuable content creates loyal fans.
- When you deliver content that truly resonates with your audience, it’s much easier to build a community around your brand and get people talking about your business. If someone has to choose between two companies, they’re more likely to do business with the one that provides them with a regular stream of relevant, entertaining and informative content
It’s fundamental to SEO.
- It’s no secret that Google and other search engines prefer to deliver results that best answer searchers’ queries. When you create high-quality, useful content, you’ll be rewarded by Google and other search engines with higher search engine rankings, resulting in more traffic to your website and more qualified leads for your business
It boosts your credibility and sets you apart from the competition.
- When people consume quality content, it doesn’t feel like advertising and people are more likely to remember – and trust – your brand
The Unstoppable Growth of Content Marketing
According to the PQ Media study Global Content Marketing Forecast 2015-2019, both content marketing spend and revenue are projected to more than double in the next five years. In 2014, the revenue was calculated at around $26 billion; by 2019, this is expected to hit $54 billion.
If you need more convincing about the growth and influence of content marketing, take a look at the following stats from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report:
. 77 percent of B2C businesses are using content marketing
. 69 percent of marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago
. 76 percent of B2B marketers will create more content in 2016 versus 2015
From articles, blog posts, how-to guides, white papers, ebooks and case studies to email newsletters, social media content, videos and infographics, there is no shortage of formats to choose from when building a content strategy. The trick is to deliver a mix of content that not only resonates with your target audience, but also suits your brand.
The Changing Face of Content Marketing
As more businesses are seeing the positive (and measurable) results from their content marketing efforts, spending on content creation is also growing as a proportion of overall marketing budgets. Alongside growing content marketing spend, businesses are having to adapt to new content strategies. Four trends are dominating the content marketing arena:
With more measurement tools and analytics data available from social media sites, businesses are delivering more effective, more personalized content
As more people consume content on mobile devices, delivering more localized content (relevant to specific locations) is key
The ubiquitous influence of social media means brands are focusing on delivering more quality content to the most appropriate social media channels
To keep up with consumer demand and industry competition, an increasing number of businesses are finding it necessary to hire external content writers and content strategy specialists
As the digital landscape evolves into a more complex marketplace with increasingly savvy consumers, finding new and creative ways to reach out to potential customers has become an essential strategy for businesses that want to stand out from the competition. If you don’t have the time or staff to get started, working with outside agencies and freelance writers can be a liberating experience that will not only fulfill your content marketing aspirations, but also bring a fresh perspective to your work.
Businesses that will find more success in the long term are those that are seen by consumers as credible. So, as a business owner or marketer, you should listen carefully to your existing and potential customers, get involved in the conversation and respond with meaningful content. This deeper relationship with your audience will put you in the best position to grow as a business for years to come.