Before we delve into the minute details of how businesses are affected by content marketing, let’s take a moment to get one thing straight: what is content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Businesses that employ content marketing as a key marketing strategy stand to gain from sales growth, resource savings and customer loyalty.
Established organisations such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems are no stranger to this marketing strategy and many start-ups and small businesses are also wising up to the benefits of content marketing. The popularity of this marketing strategy stems from a very simple ingredient: relevant and educational content. The key to growing your customers’ brand awareness, trust and loyalty lies in the stories you weave into your marketing strategies, that appeal to their values and principles. Today’s consumers are a discerning lot and have no patience for advertising fluff. To capture – and retain – their attention, businesses must strive to put up consistent and quality content, taking great care not to insult the intelligence of customers. Marketing is all about outstanding content, a key ingredient that, if missing, will greatly affect your business negatively.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of CMI, stresses that a great content marketing strategy focus on who the customers are and their needs, instead of pushing for a sale. For example, if you run a restaurant, focus less on promoting your dishes. Instead, publish content on how your restaurant is a great venue for parties, weddings and fun occasions to boost interest and subsequently grow your customer base. Having captured the attention of your target audience, you will next need to engage them. A survey by CMI and MarketingProfs found that 69% of marketers ranked engagement as their priority. People are more inclined to be loyal to a brand if they feel a connection to it, hence the need to engage your customers.
It is worthy to note that the use of videos in content marketing is fast gaining ground as key marketing strategy. Video content production, if done well, has the potential to draw customers by the droves. Your content marketing efforts can greatly benefit from the use of videos because in today’s fast paced world, customers would be more inclined to watch a video rather than scroll through mind-numbing pages of text, no matter how concise it may be. It is a well-known fact that videos demand more consumer attention compared to any other medium, and that itself is a good reason for businesses to invest in video content production to bolster their content marketing efforts. The popularity of this digital marketing strategy can be attributed to its ability to deliver key messages in a fun and engaging manner, and in the shortest possible time as well. Visual content engages the viewer in a manner that no other medium can. Throw in a dose of well-curated, educational information and combine it with solid video content production skills and you can be sure that customers will come a calling.
Today’s well-connected world ensures that businesses will have no difficulty spreading the word about their products and services, and the internet is certainly the best friend a business can have today. Putting up interesting and thought-provoking content online ensures that it will be picked up and spread to all and sundry, generating massive amounts of good publicity for the originator. Another good content marketing move is to publish information that is helpful to your customers – this shows that you acknowledge your customers’ needs and will go the extra mile to provide. A good customer relationship is guaranteed to give your business further mileage!
In this day and age, a sure-fire way of getting your content across is through videos. The pervasiveness of mobile devices has triggered a rise in video consumption, consequently paving the way for video as a solid content marketing tool, riding on the popularity of digital marketing. Even social media platforms are getting in on the video act – Facebook’s addition of the auto-play function and Instagram’s video feature gives businesses a myriad of choices to spread the word through social media. The outreach of content marketing is greatly enhanced by the power of social media because of its sheer number of users every hour of the day. Also, social media users come from all age groups and social statuses, giving you maximum opportunity to reach out to all segments of society. To really make your investment in video content production worthwhile, try to keep your content relevant and educational, but also short and sweet. A skilful video content production team would be able to make the most of one minute to invoke a call-to-action in viewers through meaningful content and wonderful storytelling. To catalyse discussions on your videos, make sure to send a clear and concise message, taking into consideration the fact that most people have short attention spans!
Forward-thinking businesses have also been quick to capitalise on the ubiquity of YouTube to fuel their content marketing strategies. The traditional form of video in advertising is seen in the standard TV commercial, with which most TV viewers would be familiar. These advertisements take up vast resources in terms of time, money and the number of staff involved for video content production. These days, however, digital marketing has made it easier AND cheaper to produce these videos, with a wider reach almost guaranteed. The shift to online viewing has raised the profile of video as a key content marketing medium, leading to the growth of online video platforms, the most ubiquitous of those being YouTube. Video platform YouTube is arguably the second-largest search engine after Google, and its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2005. It would not be remiss to say that YouTube has changed the way information is consumed online. Consequently, content marketing strategies used by businesses are evolving with this trend. Video content production for content marketing purposes no longer require big budgets and vast resources – some companies have taken to producing their videos in-house using their own employees, consequently saving on costs, time and resources.
In short, take advantage of the creativity that current technology affords to grow your content marketing strategy in the most profound and engaging way. Don’t forget to prioritise your customers in each of your business decisions, and elevate the status of your company by circulating enjoyable, edifying and pertinent content.
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