Content marketing is not just a great idea for your business, it is the only way you can stay relevant for your existing and future clients. If you still wonder why there is such a big talk about content marketing on so many online forums, blogs and professional white paper resources, this article attempts to clear up a lot of myths, doubts, and misunderstandings.
The Beginning of Online Advertising
So, let’s start by getting a clear understanding of what content marketing actually is. It all started with the beginning of the internet age. Just like any new thing, it was not regulated, not subject to rules and, thus, susceptible to abuse. Online advertising reached an aggressive level in a very short time: website banners, pop-up windows and ads disguised as articles.
As advertising became more invasive, people targeted by it became more and more suspicious and unwilling to become a captive audience and fodder to companies which had none of their interests at heart, but only the desire to sell them things.
The War on Aggressive Internet Ads
As more and more people complained of aggressive online ads, the internet world reacted. Developers of internet browsers included pop-up blockers as standard features. And companies started seeing their ROI decrease because their ads were simply no longer seen by people.
On the other hand, banner ads were still there and they continued to bring some revenues – but not enough. The worldwide economic crisis hit everyone – traditional and online business – without discrimination and finally companies stopped and asked themselves: what do people really want from us?
The Shift from Project-Centric to Customer-Centric Marketing
As people started paying closer attention to every cent they spend, companies started considering what could make their customer continue to buy their products. And marketing managers worldwide discovered one important thing: people want to buy from companies they trust, from companies that value them and try to help them solve their problems, companies that listen to them and satisfy their needs.
The focus of marketing and advertising efforts was no longer the product for sale, but the clients, their needs and problems. Companies shifted their viewpoint from promoting products for their own sake to promoting them as solutions to people’s problems and needs.
Enter the Content Marketing Concept, Stage Left
But how could companies win the trust of clients they would never see face to face, since all their interactions take place in the online environment? How can you make someone trust your expertise, your professionalism and your ability to solve their problems in the most efficient manner? The answer is content marketing. By sharing valuable, interesting, trustworthy and helpful content in the form of articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, newsletter and other forms, companies could show their clients that they are truly professional and are willing to offer solutions for their problems.
As social media became an ever-increasing presence in people’s lives, sharing content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube became a very simple and effective way to reach not only existing customers, but also their social media friends who could become your potential clients as well.
So, Why Is the Moment NOW?
Now, at the present, content marketing has become the norm for all online marketing activities of companies both large or small, operating in any niche or industry you can think of. Content marketing is at the heart of efficient SEO strategies and social media engagement with followers. Content marketing is a simple and effective way to grow a brand, raise awareness and establish your authority as expert on a specific topic. Content marketing is also the best way to get Google to find and index your website correctly and, thus, let you be found by means of organic searches.
Not convinced? Here’s what the statistics say:
- 94% of small B2B companies used content marketing at the beginning of 2015
- 69% of business owners believe that a good content strategy is effective
- 81% of B2B companies increased the quantity of content produced and shared compared to last year
- 90% of consumers believe that personalized content created by companies is useful to them
- 77% of consumers believe that companies who produce valuable content are interested in building long-term relationships with their clients.
The numbers above are overwhelming and show not only the business owners’ point of view but, more importantly, the consumers’ point of view. This is the ultimate proof that people are more likely to trust companies sharing valuable content and they believe in a long-term relationship with a business that cares for its clients by creating and sharing useful content.
People’s expectations are high in term of content sharing. They want to be informed, educated, entertained and supported by their companies in satisfying their needs. They are no longer interested in buying a product, but an entire experience of shopping. This experience starts with the belief that the company they buy from knows its clients and their needs, and offers them quality products and services which perfectly fit those needs.
This is what content marketing actually does for your company. It establishes your position not just as an expert, but as a business which cares for its customers, knows them and tries to solve their problem. It helps you build a relationship of trust with your clients and keeps them loyal to your business.
This is why the moment to invest in content marketing is now. Because you cannot afford to let your clients believe that you do not know them and do not care about them.