Content marketing has slowly been taking over the traditional marketing methods for years. The old way was to approach audiences via ads and commercials, but the content marketing world uses media like long form blog posts, articles, and podcasts to reach a targeted audience.
What really sets content marketing apart from any other marketing method is that people go searching for what is being advertised.
But does content marketing actually work? In theory, it sounds foolproof, but do the results prove its worth?
Yes, it does. And I’m going to show you why…
How exactly does content marketing work?
Content marketing is strategically designed to give customers what they want by giving them useful information when they go looking for it. It caters to already interested audiences so that more profitable action is taken by them.
There are two ways that content marketing works.
The first way is to generate a brand for a company. This means to create a reputation, slogan, and/or symbol that is unique to a company and its services.
The brand would then be advertised to target audiences that would begin to associate the brand to the company and then bring in more revenue.
Branding focuses less on information from the company that lists their products and services; it is more about the experience the company can offer their audience through their products.
An example of excellent branding would be Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. The company now uses that to be recognised, and it makes people search for Cokes so they might find their names.
The second way that content marketing works is more along the route of information. Companies begin creating platforms that provide easily accessible information about what they do.
This is essentially companies giving the public a lot of helpful free stuff so they will use their company to get what they need.
A company that does this very well is the Acorns Investment company. They have created a blog called Grow for Acorns that publishes articles full of helpful financial information to provide advice on investments and budgets.
They have still created a branded reputation for themselves by providing a source on reliable information, but this way, it focuses more on the education of the customer.
After customers use this blog for research, the readers then feel they can trust that company and the way it works, so they proceed to use the services Acorns Investment offers—like their investment app—and become steady customers.
Some great examples of companies that have mastered high-quality content marketing can be found listed online. There you can get a feel for what it looks like in action (https://marketingland.com/content-marketing-done-right-8-examples-can-learn-149088).
The key of content marketing campaigns is that it is all about the satisfaction of the customer. Companies can gain new customers without losing the new ones if they do this. A content marketing strategy helps create a loyal customer base by building trust in and dependency on the company.
Content marketing focuses on the customer experience by manipulating the buying process. The four steps of this process stay the same –awareness, research, consideration, action–but their purpose shifts a little.
The process does not begin with the marketing, it starts with the customers needs and their desire to fix their own problems.
First, awareness stems from the customer recognising they have a need for a company’s help. This can sometimes be instigated by the presence of an article they had not necessarily gone looking for, but they are still the ones who decide to continue the buying process. These articles are meant to help those who might not be aware they have a need. Once they recognise it, they know there’s help when they need it.
After people are aware of their needs, they then proceed to do more research into the topic as it is applicable to them. Content marketing calls for them to do more research into their situations and wants than other marketing methods. Because the customer makes the decision to be aware and then research, the power of the market belongs to the customer.
Once someone has done all their research into whatever topic they need, they then enter the consideration stage. This is where they compare the different offerings of different companies.
So, if a company had been the one to provide this customer with most of their information through a convincing piece of content, who do you think they will be more inclined to buy from?
Once all the data, service promotions, and topic research has been done and compared, the customer will decide. And because one company has helped them throughout the entire process, they will choose them to assist their need and buy the service.
That is why customer satisfaction is key. When a customer has the power, they feel they are not being swindled into anything. Instead, they feel satisfied they have the correct information going into a transaction, and they feel grateful to the company that helped them through. That is content marketing.
Why does it work?
Content marketing creates a style for a company, both through branding labels and educational articles, and once the public gets a sense of this style, it is solidified by giving relevant, consistent, and promotional content to them.
However a company chooses to market themselves, their method has to be those three things to create a loyal customer base.
Relevance is really about how marketable your content is to the target audience. It relates back to your brand and reputation and how that relates to whom you are trying to cater. If what you are spreading is not relevant to the audience, your company won’t stand out enough to gain new customers. So, promoting relevant information and brands is just as important as the quality of your content and service.
If a customer is approached with a traditional marketing method that only advertised product information, that type of content might not be relevant to the customer’s needs.
But, if a customer were approached with an article that detailed a situation similar to theirs and spoke of how to fix it or who to seek out, that customer would find that company’s information relevant.
Customers are more apt to buy from more informative and transparent companies than they are from those who seem more likely to hide behind flamboyance, and audiences are also more likely to return to a company that constantly comes out with trustworthy information about relevant situation comparable to customers’ lives.
Also, relevancy is how companies start choosing their target markets as well. They pick people who would be most interested in their services and then create their content based on what is marketable to those people. Since Coca Cola is so great at branding, they chose to cater to people who have a strong sense of empathy for others, which is why the “Share A Coke” campaign has done so well.
Additionally, companies that have consistency in their content marketing promotions are bound to have more loyal and active customers because they seem more actively involved in the content they share.
When it comes to consistency in content marketing, it does not matter if the content production occurs once or twice a week, bi-weekly, or even monthly. The content that this time and effort is put into can be short and catchy or more long form, at the company’s discretion. Ultimately, they will need to pick one schedule and stick to it in order to remain consistent.
Consistency leads people to believe that the content is more reliable because there is more of it, and it helps push people towards connecting their reliable sources with a reliable brand name.
Companies have to have consistency in when and what they share. They have to regularly post their promotions and information to keep in the public eye, and once the audience has noticed them, they have to be consistent in the quality of content they send out. If they do not have consistency in these things, they will lose their reliability status.
Quality content promotion is not only a quality of content marketing, but it is also the last and most important step of this method. Relative and consistent content creates a plan to gain people’s attentions. They will go searching for information, but sometimes people may forget about the brand, so it is most important to keep the brand in sight and in mind.
Promotional content gets that relative and consistent material out into the world where people will constantly be reminded of what your company can do. Without content promotion, you are just creating content that no one will see.
A drawback of content marketing is the expense of both making quality content and also promoting it. But according to Search Engine Journal, content marketing is affordable for even small businesses if you focus on promoting content.
You can have smaller amounts of good content as long as you’re promoting it as much as possible. This would build the client base so your income would eventually pay for the creation of new content and promotion of it as well.
So, how do you promote the content? There are various ways to get your content into the public view. The most popular way is to use social media, and there are many ways to use this platform. Companies can create their own profiles on these sites where they could post articles and promotional ads, or they could buy ads like those seen on Facebook.
Companies could also make their websites more easily found by buying similar web address or utilising keywords in articles published about them. This is called Search Engine Optimisation. All SEOs do is make sure your content gets found by those who go searching for it. Places like the Google Keyword Planner help content makers plan what words to use to make sure their stuff gets found.
How is this different than traditional marketing?
First, traditional marketing is very different than content marketing in the marketing world because it focuses on much different aspects of the buying process. Instead of gaining awareness and letting the customer decide, they focus on consideration and trying to get people to buy as much as they can, which can seem pushy and abrasive.
Content marketing is posed more as an invitation to join a helpful community, whereas traditional marketing it the exploitation of a product to get money. In this area, there is content before there is even a market for it, so having a specific plan helps make traditional marketing more successful for any content marketing institute.(https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/05/content-strategy-before-social-strategy/).
It’s not like traditional marketing that says, “here is my company, and we want you to buy this product we make.” Instead, it says, “we are doing this cool thing, in case you want to take a look and join us!” Picture a little girl asking you to look at her drawing of a fairy. You won’t say no because she invited you (and you know it’s going to be quality content).
Why should I convert to content marketing?
Content marketing can help make your target audience more interested in your company. People become more invested in what you have to offer when they are educated and trusting about your topic, especially if you are the one informing them.
But most importantly, it WORKS. And it works just as well as traditional marketing, but for even less money and more quality customers. The material created and spread through content marketing stays constantly relevant to those searching for it, making it the most likely things to lead customers to the company they will choose to use.
Content marketing is not exclusive to bigger-named companies either. Anyone, including you, can use it, and have it work for you – as long as you are willing to put in the effort of creating good content to share.
And if you are not, then shame on you for not wanting the best for your company.
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