Every day, consumers are exposed to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of advertisements. These ads appear as vehicle-mounted bumper stickers, television commercials, billboards, radio ads, mobile ads, website ads, newspaper or magazine ads, personal demonstrations and text messages.
To handle their massive exposure to constant marketing, consumers have learned to tune out the advertising by focusing their attention elsewhere. Consequently, today’s marketers need to produce a higher quality of advertising content that not only captures the attention of their audience within a few seconds but also makes them actively want to interact with a company.
The practice of content marketing – advertising to consumers or businesses without overtly selling – has become a more popular than ever marketing strategy among marketers. With this type of marketing strategy, a company provides content that establishes its brand, tells its story, subtly emphasizes the experience and expertise of that company, and attracts more business as a result.
The results of good content marketing can lead to significantly increased revenue, especially for small businesses. In her blog post “Top 11 Most Powerful Content Marketing Examples By Small Businesses,” blogger Alexandra Skey notes that this type of marketing strategy helped personal finance website Mint to attract 10 million customers and assisted electronics store Magnolia in growing their business to a worth of $87 million.
But the content itself needs careful and thoughtful development. Today’s sophisticated consumers can easily tell the difference between informative, genuinely entertaining content and other types of content which are thinly disguised attempts to sell a product or service to them for a price.
Many traditional marketing pieces can be repurposed for content marketing, according to Copyblogger contributor Frank Strong. For example, content marketing can use PowerPoint presentations, white papers, press releases or images, distributed through a company’s website.
Content marketing can also include electronic content in the form of websites, podcasts, webinars, applications, blogs, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, LinkedIn articles, infographics and Facebook posts. This type of content is easily accessible to users through hyperlinks.
Ideally, the marketer should strive to have content marketing pieces entertain and inform the viewer. If the content marketing generates sufficient interest for the viewer, the viewer may choose to act as a brand advocate, sharing this content through e-mail hyperlinks to friends, colleagues or family members.
At the same time, content marketing should be clearly aligned with a well-developed marketing strategy to function effectively. The marketing strategy should have a specific target audience and realistic, attainable goals so that its success can be more easily determined.
But the biggest measure of success, apart from revenue, is that consumers share the content they see. Consequently, they’ll create more potential customers for a business and further increase ROI.