As with any popular trend, skeptics of content marketing have begun to rear their heads and discuss why they think content marketing is just another bubble that will burst. This satirical blog from the Huffington Post indicates that the population of content marketing experts is surging out of control. It may seem that content marketers are popping up everywhere, but that is because of the increasing need for content marketers. Here are five reasons why content marketing is here to stay and, most likely, will continue to expand.
1. Companies Need It
People wonder why notable companies spend money on advertising and marketing campaigns. One example of an organization that uses content marketing (despite their lack of inventory) is the Boston Bruins. Right now, the Bruins are in the playoffs and if you look at the Bruins’ website you will notice that the playoff games are all sold out. So why is the Bruins’ marketing team busy creating content for their website and for television spots, when there is no inventory left to sell? The purpose of this content is to engage fans throughout the playoffs and to create shareable content to excite them.
But what about during the summer months, when the team isn’t playing? Season tickets are sold out for years to come – fans have to join a waiting list to buy them. But, the Bruins marketing will continue to market and promote the team throughout the off season to keep the fans excited for the next 142 games.
The Bruins use content marketing year long to keep their fans engaged and informed about their team, and the fans love it, which leads to the next point:
2. Consumers Love Content
People love having an inside scoop on what’s going on within a company. They also love to see that the people behind the brand are actually people with dynamic personalities. Aside from the humor and entertaining forms of content marketing, however, there is a business-focused type of content, particularly for B2Bs, that consumers also look for. Reading whitepapers written by successful CEOs of large companies and attending webinars hosted by industry-leaders are an insightful method of connecting with customers.
All State Insurance Company executes content marketing with an incredible sense of humor. Their “Mayhem” campaign (click here to view the Mayhem Facebook page) takes a comical approach to storytelling that their audience loves. Fans of the Mayhem Facebook page are constantly engaging with the posts, videos and video content shared on the page, very little of which actually advertising the insurance solutions that All State offers.
3. Consumers Are Skeptical (and rightly so)
B2B consumers demonstrate skepticism when answering a sales call or hearing a sales pitch from a company they know very little about. If a consumer types a company’s name into a search engine and only finds a poorly designed website, the chances that they will continue with the buying process are slim. On the other hand, a prospective customer who search for a company and finds a plethora of information created, distributed and syndicated surrounding the company; they will have a considerably different buyer experience. Creating content increases credibility.
4. Your Customers Want to Be Heard
In the past, marketing and advertising was always a brand selling a product to consumers. Commercials and print ads spoke to their audiences directly promoting their product, and that was that. But now, the explosion of social media and technologies have provided not only multiple platforms for consumers to view a brand’s messages, but they have provided thousands of outlets for customers to share their experiences – and boy do they. Consumers take to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to share their most positive experiences and speak out against companies and products they view negatively.
The conversations sparked by customers involving customer service issues and complaints can be seen by just about anybody with an account, and some brands try to react by either deleting negative comments or banning members from the page. Taking a more proactive approach to content marketing on social media tends to be received in a much more optimistic way by the customers. The platforms are here for conversations, so talk to your customers.
5. Content Marketing is Truly Measurable
In the past, many marketers struggled to accurately prove their ROI. Placing a billboard at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel going into Manhattan from New Jersey may mean that your advertisement is seen by millions of people each day, but how do you verify the conversion rate from those views? You can’t click on a billboard. Print ads can be placed in magazines and distributed to millions, but can you prove how many people saw your advertisement and bought your product because of it? Once again, you can’t click on a print ad in a magazine.
New technologies and new methods for sharing marketing methods have eliminated this issue for content marketers who use online tactics. Links are trackable, “likes” and “follows” can be counted. Analytics tools can break down individual users and their web habits on your site and can prove the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
That might just be the best art about real-time analytics for content marketing: proving the effectiveness of your efforts. In doing so you can gauge your audiences’ response quickly and pivot when necessary.
Despite skepticism around the terminology, content marketing is here to stay. Companies now need to market through content in order to establish relationships with their customers and open up the conversations.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Check out CEO Jim Howard of Crownpeak spoke at IMS NY this past April, and delivered a great presentation about content marketing. Click here to see Jim’s presentation, “What the Hell is Content Marketing?”.