How important is Content Marketing in today’s Business Context?

 

How important is Content Marketing in today’s Business
Context?

 

Marketing has seen a dramatic change in the last few
decades.  After the advent of internet,
things started to change considerably for the marketers. Internet bought with
it a host of new marketing opportunities. As half of the World Population came
online, Digital media became the most preferred mode of marketing. Search
Engine marketing, Social Media Marketing, Banner Advertisements, Pop-up ads,
Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, etc. started to gain friction. And why would
it not be popular? It fits every budget. It increases the reach of your
marketing program. It makes targeting easy. And the most important thing is
that you can track its effectiveness in real time.

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But this digitalization of marketing came with its own
challenges too. Consumers these days are more in search of information than a
product. People these days take informed decisions. They will go through your
content before deciding whether to buy or not to buy your product.  Advertising that used to rule the roost a few
years ago has paved way for “Content Marketing”.

In the words of Marc Matheiu, Global SVP of Marketing,
Unilever,” Marketing used to be about making
a myth and telling it. Now it is about telling a truth and sharing it.”
 Now just a glossy advertisement
without any truth won’t work. Consumers are becoming increasing aware. They can
no longer be fooled with beautiful ads that lack any substance.

Content Marketing has increasingly becoming a Buzzword these
days. People associated with the business world always seem to be discussing
about content and content marketing strategies. Successful marketers all around
the world swear by the importance of content Marketing.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Inc. says, “Content is the king”. When the World’s richest man and a highly
successful business tycoon calls Content a King, you better pay heed.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as “a
strategic marketing approach focussed on creating and distributing valuable,
relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined
audience and, ultimately to drive profitable customer action.”

The first thing that might come to your mind is what is
content in this context? Content, here, is any text, video, audio, picture,
white paper or a combination that is created and distributed to add value to
the lives of your target audience.

Distributing content is as important as content creation.
Without content distribution, content creation yields no benefits.  Content can be distributed through channels
like Blog websites, Social Media, etc. A marketer should also bear in mind that
the content has to be valuable, relevant and consistent.

·        
By Valuable,
we mean that the content has to be unique and original that adds some value to
your target audience. If your target audience, for e.g. is working women,
Content like “Quick breakfast recipes” will definitely prove valuable to them.
Whereas something like “What is a Wire-mesh” would not prove to be of any
value.

·        
Relevant
means that it should be something that is related to your brand as well as to
your target audience’s needs.  If you are
an agricultural products company, your target audience is farmers. Content like
“the 10 best sports cars of the year” is not relevant to your audience at all.

·        
Consistent
means that the blog post, video, podcast, or any other content that you
create has to be in sync with each other. 
Your blog post cannot contain content that is contradicting your videos.
Content through all channels of distribution needs to be consistent. 

All the three terms, valuable, relevant and consistent are
interrelated. It all comes down to one thing- knowing your target
audience.  Before creating the content,
understand who you are creating the content for.

Now let’s understand what purpose Content Marketing serves
for businesses.

Importance of Content Marketing

 

The basic purpose of Content Marketing is creating
awareness, generating interest, inducing desire and finally prompting a desired
action.  Content Marketing when done
properly serves the following purposes.

Ø 
Gives you
a Voice

Your content is your voice. It is what helps your target
audience identify you. Your content becomes your identity. It defines who you
are? Content helps you inexpensively differentiate yourself from your
competitors. It costs far lesser than advertising and yet is far more impactful
than advertising.  Your content can
literally make you or break you. Bad content is more damaging than you can ever
imagine.

Ø 
Increases
Customer Interaction

Your content sets a platform for you to interact with your
target audience. Unlike advertisement, content marketing is an interactive form
of marketing. Your audience can tell you what they feel about your content
through their comments. It will give you a chance of understanding your
audience better.  And this will in turn
help you to create solutions for their problems.

Ø 
Increase
your Brand Authority

Your content has literally the power of increasing your
authority. Consistently produced superior quality content makes you a thought
leader.  Your audience always comes back
to you for advice and opinion.  They
respect your opinion and even listen to you. 
Content writers start using your content as reference which helps you
build authentic backlinks organically. This will again help you generate more
traffic.

Ø 
Better
Relationship Building

Your Content is your chance to connect with your target
audience. By creating and sharing valuable content, you are telling them that
you care. If your content is customer centric rather than product or brand
centric, you can earn your audience’s loyalty. It builds a relationship of
trust between you and them. They trust your opinion. This trust makes them more
likely to take the action you want them to take, i.e. subscribe or
purchase.  Building and nurturing
relationships is the key to increasing your ROI.

Ø 
Word Of
Mouth Marketing

A great piece of content has the ability of spreading like
fire. If you are able to strike the right chords with your target audience,
they would become your brand advocates that too for free. There is no denying
the effectiveness of Word of Mouth Marketing. It is indeed the most effective
form of marketing.

Ø 
Improved
SEO

You are obviously familiar with the term SEO. But for the
uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a technique that
optimizes your website to improve your Search Engine Rankings. In simple terms,
it is through SEO that one websites ranks higher than other on Search Engine
Result Page. And it is your content that seals the fate of your Search Engine
Ranking.

To bring it all in perspective higher raking ensures higher
website traffic. Since you appear on the top of the Search Result Page, people
are more likely to click-through.   And
to improve your SEO, you are required to frequently create and share
consistent, unique, valuable, relevant and superior quality content.

Content Marketing is no longer a choice. It is a
necessity.  As advertising is losing its
effectiveness, content marketing is gaining more importance. Whether you are
focussed on improving your website traffic or improving your conversion rates,
content marketing is required for both. 
A business that has not yet adopted content marketing needs to do so.
And if it doesn’t it will perish. As a prominent marketing though leader, Seth
Godin has rightly put, “Content
Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.”

How important is Content
Marketing?

The importance of Content Marketing can probably never be
overemphasised. It is the form of marketing that is here to stay.  But instead of me emphasising the importance
of content marketing, let data do the talking!! Following are some numbers that
speak volumes about the importance of content marketing.

·        
A study conducted in 2015 by PageFair says, “There
are now 198 million active adblock users around the World.”  This means that a significant portion of your
target audience doesn’t even see your advertisements.  This renders advertising quite ineffective
and as a result more and more marketers are focussing more on Content
Marketing. So, why won’t you?

 

·        
Content Marketing infographic published on
Demand Metric indicate that “Content
Marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing but generates approximately
3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.”  Content marketing yields better results than
traditional marketing.  Would you still
be stuck with Traditional marketing?

 

·        
The same infographic also indicates that “86%
of people skip TV ads, 44% ignore direct mail and 91% of email users
unsubscribe from company emails.  And at
the same time 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading
about it.” Do I need to say more?

 

·        
“70%
of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an
advert.”  Then why are you still so obsessed
with paid advertising?

 

·        
According to Points Visible, “89%
of B2B marketers use content Marketing and 86% of B2C marketers use Content
Marketing.”  If more and more people are moving towards
content marketing, it is bound to have a proven track record of being a
successful form of marketing.

 

·        
“Interesting
Content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on Social media.”  More social media followers mean more
people know your brand. This means more people are likely to purchase from you.

 

Given these statistics, it is not wrong to say that “Content
Marketing is not just the present but also the future of Marketing”. For a
business to grow, Content Marketing is extremely important.