The digital age has seen everyone with an internet enabled device becoming publishers of content online. Brands too have had to move into the space where consumers are playing, consuming and engaging.
Hello – the rise of content marketing!
Content marketing involves creating and sharing entertaining online videos, blogs and social media posts that don’t explicitly promote a product or brand but with the intention to stimulate interest, engagement and conversation.
It is an effective, cost efficient way for businesses – including small businesses – to grow their brand presence, connect with their customers, increase engagement and drive sales.
Now remember… anyone and everyone can be a publisher of online content. So, there is some stiff competition for consumer attention. To cut through the clutter, get noticed by the desired target audience and inspire engagement, brands need to be relevant, engaging and entertaining. Consumers also expect good quality and consistent content from the brands they love. They are filtering what they want to see in an era when digital advertising spend has never been higher.
So how can brands ensure that they share content that adds enough value to make consumers want to see it?
Here are some things to consider:
• Consumers’ media consumption patterns are always changing and they are setting the bar higher for companies to deliver relevant, engaging and valuable content. Paid online advertising has a much lower click-through rate than organic search results and therefore it has never been more important for brands to analyze their potential customers’ behavior, where they are engaging online, and deliver relevant and targeted content on the right platforms to connect and engage with them.
• Brands should be engaging with their ‘ideal’ customers through a combination of paid, owned and earned media of which earned and owned media should be their ultimate focus. Earned media usually results when a brand produces targeted marketing content which attracts site reviews, third-party social media mentions and for instance references by journalists or social media authors. Owned media relates to a brands’ own content which is compiled and controlled by them including websites, videos, podcasts, blogs, social media pages and more.
• For most brands the challenge is to increase their earned media with key findings indicating that purchasing decisions of 93% consumers are influenced by online reviews. This is substantiated by a B2B survey indicating that consumers will most likely purchase a product or service if they are able to read a trusted review (McCabe,2018).
• The most effective way to drive the value of and engagement with earned media is to produce entertaining and relevant content that desired customers want to see, share and follow. Traditional advertising mostly focusses on the brand itself and not necessarily what potential customers care about. However, brands that successfully manages to create relevant content is reaping the rewards with increased brand advocacy and returning customers.
• Content creation is challenging for marketers. Most marketing or advertising agencies are phenomenal at producing concepts, creatives and identifying marketing channels, however they most likely don’t specialize in creating content that resonates with, rather than simply sells, to customers. Content should always put people first, focusing on what the customer wants or need. It should evoke emotion and always be authentic. This is where digital PR agencies and communications consultants play an integral role in the content marketing funnel. We believe that PR consultants should become brand journalists for their clients. Content-conscious PR consultants specialize in digital content planning and creation and know what will resonate with influencers and specific consumers.
• Content has to be objective, informative, newsworthy and relatable to your target audience and ultimately be of value to them.
• Another important challenge for brands when it comes to content marketing is being able to measure the results. Every agency focusses on different analysis but to create a successful content marketing strategy, brands must have good and measurable insights.
• Content creation is extremely time-consuming but if it is planned well, original content can be re-purposed for your customers’ other preferred channels. Social media content such as stories, tweets; blogs and short articles as well as e-newsletters are the most popular content types produced for B2B and B2C brands currently.
Brands that manage to hit the sweet spot with their content marketing have this in common: They create original and high quality content that is both entertaining and adds value to the customers with whom they want to connect. They also invest in analyzing their campaign results so that they can learn from it and evolve.
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