Most marketers today understand the potential power of content to engage potential customers. However, many still underestimate the commitment required to deliver content that their target audience will discover and truly value.
Consumers today are exposed to more online content than ever before, so it’s even more challenging to rise above the noise. In order compete in this new digital environment, brands need a long-term content strategy.
Content Marketing is Not Advertising
Many companies still treat online content as an ad campaign, but the goals of content marketing are completely different. If you expect instant results from online content, you’re approaching it in the wrong way, and this will ultimately harm your brand. Content marketing takes commitment; marketers shouldn’t think about it like an ad campaign.
The Problem With Ads
The trouble with throwing money at online advertising is that there’s no long-term value for consumers. Ads may deliver short-term gains, but they don’t give consumers the same long-term benefits as quality content.
Consumers are no longer comfortable with being interrupted as they search for information online. Ads are a distraction; they remind us of traditional mass media advertising when brands try to convince us to buy things we don’t really want.
Unless you run a company with an unlimited ad budget, the most cost-effective way to engage consumers is through content marketing. It gives power to brands of any size to inspire and connect with consumers in a less intrusive way, but in a way that still drives potential leads along the sales funnel toward a sale.
In contrast to advertising, content marketing also has the power to develop brand advocates. A loyal following of people who enjoy your content are much more likely to trust your brand and talk about it to others. You may get a sales spike with an ad, but brand advocates can help your business grow for years to come.
To remain competitive, modern marketers are abandoning marketing campaigns in favour of constant communication, because consumers want to read or view content when it suits them. They’re searching for solutions to their problems at all hours of the day, from locations all over the world. They want to find answers when they’re ready, and they expect a mix of content, from social media content to more in-depth content like white papers and case studies. As a content marketer, you need to make sure you have a diverse mix of content online, ready and waiting for your next customer.
According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study, 88 percent of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources. So it’s important to start building a body of content that reaches your target audience on the right platforms.
The more time potential leads spend engaging with your content, the more knowledge they gain, and they begin to see your company as a credible resource. In time, leads will be ready to take further action, whether it’s downloading gated content or making a call to sales.
You have to become the go-to company for knowledge, expertise, and practical solutions. When you build these relationships, the hottest leads will come to you. This route to converting leads may take longer, but in the long run it significantly drives down conversion costs.
Committing yourself to a long-term content strategy is like setting up a savings account; the value may not look like much in the early days, but after a few years you begin to see the impact of your investment.
Instead of just looking at sales figures, look at how your older pieces of content are performing in terms of social engagement, search engine rankings, website traffic, and brand loyalty; over time, you should start to see an increasing return on your initial investment.
Commit to Content Marketing for Long-Term Success
If you want to see the best results from content marketing, you have to commit to it. Don’t worry if you don’t see great results immediately; just focus on delivering valuable content to your audience on a regular basis.
American Express’ Open Forum is a great example of a brand doing content marketing right. Its platform enables professionals to share their knowledge and ask for advice, with a team of employees managing conversations and providing information and guidance. It provides value to users without selling their product directly. But helping one user is enough; others will find the advice useful and the effect multiplies over time.
You have to be prepared to invest more time in planning your content strategy, but delivering content that really connects with your target audience will help your business over time by decreasing the cost per each conversion. As a marketer, your choice is simple: do you want to solve problems consumers have, or interrupt their online experience with ads?
Do you need quality content to support your content marketing? Constant Content connects you with thousands of professional writers able to create articles, ebooks, product descriptions and other assets to tell your brand story, drive SEO and win sales.