Technology, the internet, and social media have brought many great opportunities to marketers. Yet, marketers today face a difficult challenge. With so many forms of media, ads are lurking around every corner. Many people in marketing have heard that people today see around 5,000 ads per day. This research was from 2007, and if accurate, it means we see even more ads now.
The challenge facing many marketers is how to cut through all this noise and make brands stand out. This is a question we hear all the time when working with clients. Businesses need to find a way to be disruptive, or they will lose to their competitors.
One way to overcome this challenge is to be as helpful as possible. It involves a type of marketing called content marketing. If you are familiar with what content marketing is, feel free to skip ahead. Or keep reading because you may learn something new. If this is a new term for you, don’t panic! We’ll explain what it is.
Content marketing is a method of sharing information online in a way that educates and generates genuine interest in your products, services, or brand by providing useful content. This information can be in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, videos, or numerous other formats. The medium itself depends on the goal of the content.
“It provides a way for brands to tell their stories and for audiences to connect, but on their own terms.”
The main difference between content marketing and typical advertising is that it is less pushy. Ads usually can be annoying and intrusive and focus on selling. Content marketing is inviting and educational and focuses less on selling goods and services. It provides a way for brands to tell their stories and for audiences to connect, but on their own terms.
The ironic thing about content marketing is that it is years old. One of the earliest forms of content marketing was in 1732 by Benjamin Franklin. He started publishing the Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business. Today, it remains one of the best forms of marketing. Here are 3 main reasons you should be using content marketing in your business.
It’s Better & More Effective than Advertising
As mentioned above, content marketing is far more effective than traditional advertising. Another common example of early content marketing is John Deere. In the late 1800s, John Deere began publishing The Furrow, which was a magazine for farmers. The content in the magazine was educational and helped farmers improve their businesses.
This created interest and made farmers actually seek out more information. Today, John Deere is a very recognizable and trusted brand. Compare this to ads shouting, “BUY OUR PRODUCTS NOW!” Which one seems more appealing to you? Exactly.
As expert salesman Jeffrey Gitomer says, “people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Jeffrey Gitomer is a great example of modern content marketing. He doesn’t even make sales calls anymore. He has created his own amazing marketing strategy. He began writing a column years ago, which turned into blogs, then books. Now he has podcasts, videos, etc. all focused on teaching salesmen how to sell. Offering information and educating customers on why they should buy – that’s the key; and it works.
Helps Establish Trust & Expertise
Content marketing is a great way to establish trust and expertise. Imagine you are shopping for a new computer. How do you know which computer to get? If you aren’t the most tech-savvy person, making a selection can be hard.
Imagine that you find an article guiding you on how to buy a computer. You read the whole thing and feel like you learned a lot. Then you discover they have a link at the bottom of that article directing you to more great content. How likely are you to click that link? Further, how likely are you to search for more information from this source?
This scenario happens every day. You have likely found yourself in a similar situation on more than one occasion. Many of us have resources we return to time and time again for the information. It’s because we trust the source and see them as the expert. Getting your prospects to trust you as a source of information and seeing you as an expert is invaluable.
Evergreen Content Generates More Leads
Another great thing about content, specifically content online, is that it can be relevant for YEARS. This fact alone is great because it means a single piece of content can drive traffic to your site for years to come. So, a blog post, which can take several hours to write, can generate leads for half a decade. That’s a nice ROI.
Evergreen content can generate more leads and is more effective than ads online. Don’t believe us still? In 2015, 200 million people were using ad-blockers. That number has only gone up as ads likely increased. While exceptional content can be tricky to develop, it can generate 7.8 times more traffic for content marketing leaders.
Tip: be sure to incorporate/use SEO principles. You want people who are searching for answers to find your content. Also, make sure your content will be relevant in the future. If you are going to spend hours creating and promoting content, make sure it will be useful next year and in three years from now.