Content marketing takes many different forms: Blog posts, podcasts, videos, SlideShare presentations, infographics, etc. But the strategy is simple: Businesses can attract potential customers, and retain repeat customers, by creating something valuable and sharing it for free. For example, some brands do this by writing blog posts or e-books with useful information that customers want, while others create interesting videos or interactive content to entertain. Smart brands also share great content from other brands, because they’re more interested in keeping their customers engaged than fruitlessly promoting themselves over and over.
In each scenario, content marketing helps brands build positive connections and trust with their customers, who are generally sick of being bombarded with hard-sell tactics. Content marketing doesn’t tell customers to buy something – it shows them how they would benefit from that purchase and explains why that product or service is a good fit for them.
Simply put, customers hate ads. The difference is in the delivery, and the future of advertising lies in ads that don’t overtly appear to be selling anything. No one wants to be shown an ad, but they might be interested in content that addresses their interests or answers their questions. Affiliate marketers on blogs and influencers on Instagram are all pushing something, but their customers are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Customers crave content that entertains, interests or helps them, and good content builds faith in your brand. Content marketing creates less of a sales funnel and more of a sales ecosystem, where the buyer’s journey doesn’t necessarily follow a linear path, and every interaction could potentially lead to a conversion. In today’s world, prospective customers aren’t bombarded with sales pitches the whole way. Instead they can access non-sales content and engage at their own pace, so that they’ve already made their decision by the time they pick up the phone.
Companies that take a human-centered approach to their advertising are communicating that they care about more than simply duping their customers into spending money. Content marketing opens up countless creative opportunities for brands to shine a spotlight on their company values and show their customers some love. Being authentic and accountable is always in style.
Great content helps you establish yourself as a thought-leader. If you’re an expert in your field, prove it by sharing valuable knowledge with your customers and answering their questions. If your customers find you helpful and believe you’re the best authority on your topic, product or service, they won’t hesitate to do business with you.
Content marketing supports and strengthens other digital marketing tactics. Blog posts and videos shared on social media can bring traffic back to your website, where those individuals might subscribe to your email newsletter or other forms of ongoing communication.
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