Content Marketing

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content […]”

– Cited from Content Marketing Institute.

Clearly, based on the above definition, the goal of content marketing is to build a strong relationship with prospects and deliver highly valuable content that is relevant to potential customers. This is the polar opposite of interrupting people with annoying and irrelevant ads. Content marketers can instead create valuable works that audience enjoys and desires to know more about.

More precisely, content marketing helps prospects pay more attention to messages carried in the content and stimulate their curiosity to understand your products. Hence, by the time prospects finish transactions, they have been educated about products you sell, and are more likely to have an affinity or loyalty to your brand over other existing competitors.

Also Read: 20 free must-have tools for your zero-budget content marketing campaign 

When taking a close look below, undoubtedly, you will find that content marketing is one of today’s best marketing approaches.

Why do you need content marketing?

The current environment, especially in social media, is filled with interruptive and annoying banners. Something even worse is that people nowadays get used to these and act as if nothing has showed up. Moreover, direct mail, trade shows, and telemarketing are yielding less new business. In other words, the effectiveness of traditional push-in marketing approaches is declining.

On the other hand, it is reported that content marketing costs 62 per cent less than traditional marketing and generates more than three times as many leads. More and more companies — small and medium enterprises in particular — find that creating quality content on video platforms, blogs, and social media brings new business at higher rates.

Although some may claim that content marketing is expensive, the fact is that it’s much cheaper than traditional marketing approaches. For example, in terms of total spend for desired actions, content marketing is more effective, easier to start, and, more importantly, popular with consumers because of highly relevant and specifically designed content. Content marketing not only maximally makes use of marketing budgets, but also drastically reduce the money spent on traditional advertising.

How to increase content quality?

Compelling content always attracts customers to your brand. The content, without a doubt, must to be useful to customers and not just a promotional message. There is, however, no one-size-fits-all and universal copy formula, not to mention that there are several types of content, including live videos on Facebook and podcasts, for example. With that said, some fundamental principles discovered by professional marketers have been well-known and implemented thoroughly.

First of all, start with a story. Whether it is a funny plot or heart-stirring scenario, a story is a desirable hook. The story must be relevant to customers. It could be a customer’s personal experience or, more precisely, a customer’s pain points in their daily life. By doing so, the audience will be enticed to pay attention to your works.

Secondly, create a series of episodes (or events). These can feature similar propositions with the end of the content slightly overlapping the beginning of the next one and pulling all the threads together to form a complete big picture. These series of episodes stimulate audience’s curiosity and, at the same time, builds an affinity with the message you desire to deliver. Leaving the audience with the prospect of a ‘next’ episode will ensure they come back for more — that is, if the content is interesting enough in the first place.

The last but not the least, always make the audience feel that you stand on their side. Give the impression that you are their confidant. The content should, once again, be emotionally useful or even authentically professional to gain audience’s trust. After all, as a friend of your audience, is it ethically right to lie your friend?

Also Read: For content-driven startups, speed (or the lack of it) can kill

How to boost the value of content

With the quality content in your business, the next step is to distribute content and make it easily found by prospective customers using either search engines or social media. For the first, you need at least a basic understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO). Having a more sophisticated grasp of SEO helps.

One of the easiest ways to increase exposure opportunities is to have a presence on different channels. This includes Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter for instance. Some audiences may only be active on certain social media or communities.

Having said that, under no circumstance do I emphasise that you should create different content for different channels. Instead, you should make your content replicable and ensure consistency in every platform. This not only significantly reduces your effort managing accounts on different platforms but also creates a common topic even if the audience comes from different platforms.

Lastly, welcoming audience input can help nurture engagement and gain better credibility. This is particularly true if you can encourage experts or trusted users to pitch in with their thoughts, reviews or contributions.

An example

By inviting customers to share their reviews via unboxing videos and articles, S3 Beauty Store, a cosmetics shop based in Taiwan, takes advantage of user-generated content to enhance customer trust. On top of that, It also makes use of videos that feature useful and professional methods for applying cosmetics. The company has promoted these via social media marketing for maximum word-of-mouth and viral effect.

The takeaway

The underlying goal of content marketing is to turn visitors into customer, and subsequently to turn customers into evangelists for your brand or company. The power of content marketing, nevertheless, won’t take effect right after you just publish your first blog or finish editing video clips. By and large, it takes a certain amount of time, and you need to accumulate enough content.

More significantly, the question of outsourcing arises. Despite how some may claim that outsourcing content marketing is a good way to let you focus on your core business, the cost, on average, is usually not cheap. It  is another financial burden for startups just getting off the ground.

Running your own content marketing campaigns not only trains you to produce original and quality creations, but can also make yourself understand your audience better, figuring out prospective customers’ habits and preferences.

Looking ahead

By no means should a business invest all its resources into content marketing. Traditional outbound and paid marketing, such as Facebook ads, are still necessary. Content marketing is designed to pull in only those customers who already have some interest in the product. It is not an elixir. Only when leveraging both well can you lead your business to another milestone.

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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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