With traditional marketing methods becoming less effective, content marketing is becoming increasingly popular with businesses across all scales and sizes.
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, social media posts etc.) that does not directly promote the business or product. Instead, the consumers’ needs are put first, creating an experience for your audience via educational or entertaining content.
Content marketing isn’t about what the business sells, but instead what the business stands for. Your brand image is more effectively communicated to your consumer outside of the benefits of your product, and if you build up a relationship with your audience with engaging and regular content, you’re building up your brand loyalty. Content marketing can give solutions to problems that customers didn’t even know they had, educating consumers about a product they didn’t know they needed.
Attract, acquire, and retain your audience with valuable, relevant, and consistent content – valuable being the key word. Whatever you’re putting out needs to be something people will enjoy reading, watching, or listening to. Good content is content that people would actively seek out and want to consume.
Some examples of companies doing content marketing well
Some of the most successful content marketing strategies leave all mention of the product out of the campaign entirely. One of the oldest examples of a successful content strategy is the one ran by John Deer - they created a magazine that catered to the agricultural demographic to provide accurate and unbiased information. To this day, The Furrow magazine has mentioned the John Deer brand in the content less than 20 times, yet remains one of the most popular magazines for both John Deer enthusiasts and agriculturalists alike.
A lot of the marketing from Random House, the publishing company, takes place through their Pinterest page, with boards such as ‘Literary Tattoos’, ‘Literary Weddings’, and ‘Best Book Covers’, engaging their current audience and appealing to fans of literature as an aesthetic. Virgin Atlantic has a wanderlust themed Instagram, and when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in Office, White House social media would appeal to a younger demographic and engage a wider audience with politics by showing the President and Vice President relaxing, having fun, and generally appearing more human and accessible.
Don't annoy your audience
Harassing your audience with generic promotional material is a common content marketing mistake that can lose both your customers and the respect of your brand. Customers need to be engaged from the start, therefore attention needs to be grabbed early, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through storytelling. Storytelling is not necessarily a method of generating more sales, its purpose is to create a relationship with your audience and a stir up a community of loyal followers. People are generally more perceptive to stories than they are to facts and figures, we’re curious creatures by nature, so if you can captivate your audience with content that inspires them to read more, you’re not only making your brand image more relatable, authentic, and genuine, you’re setting yourself apart from your competitors with emotional appeal as an advantage.
When was the last time you cried at an advert? You probably remember both the company and the message, and it’s strong, emotional content like this that sticks in consumers’ minds. Strong feelings can inspire the consumer to act, engage further, strengthen their brand loyalty, and keep them coming back again and again.
Clear and simple content is preferred
The amount of micro decisions that we make a day is astronomical, therefore we naturally prefer simple, easy to digest content that caters to our short attention spans. Simplistic writing can be tricky, especially if your content is of a complex nature, however, if your content is clear, concise, and communicates your message whilst mirroring the tone, language and style of your brand, simple content can be understatedly powerful.
Short and creative content is a great way to quickly captivate your readers and an effective way to get your post shared on social media. Listicles, a blog post or article that is laid out in a list format made up of points, quirky information, or facts, are a perfect example of short and creative content. Punchy, entertaining, and an opportunity to use memes or GIFs, listicle posts are ideal for appealing to our short attention spans. Our brains gravitate to reading lists as we have a natural aversion to chaos, plus, we know they take little time to read, so we’re more likely to take a break from our endless scrolling and click the link.
Knowing your audience is key to great content marketing, knowing what they like and what they’ll respond best to is crucial before beginning a campaign. Identifying what your consumers will be moved by and demonstrating passion and authenticity in your content will not only reflect a strong and trustworthy brand - it will reflect in your products without even having to mention them.