Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Key is Content!

Since the beginning of advertising different groups have struggles with whose part of the ad is the most important. The art directors swear by the image, the sales people say it’s all in the pitch; account managers say you need good client relationships and the marketing team thinks it’s all about where the ad is placed. The funny thing is they are all right. Their part is equally as important as the others because if one of these sections is lacking then the whole ad suffers.

But I am compelled to pose this question. Without the proper content what is the point of having an ad in the first place? The content is what drives the consumer to learn about the product, calls them to action and even closes the sale. It is also undeniably the only piece of the marketing puzzle that has not changed in all these years. Customer service techniques, graphics, sales pitches and ad space has all changed over time with the market but good, creative content has been valuable all along. 

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant andvaluable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined andunderstood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The Content Marketing Institute (created in 2007) has determined that there are seven steps that will turn a visitor into a brand evangelist all using content marketing.

The best part about these steps is we know that they work! Think about an experience you have had with a brand. No one can say they magically fell in love with a product over night. Your loyalty took a lot of work from the brand. Not only did they have to create a good product but they also had to earn your trust - and that trust building comes from a clear content strategy.

Joe Pulizzi is one of the great content marketing developers of our time. He focuses on the value of telling a story rather then just simply writing content. Pulizzi knows that consumers want to feel like they are apart of something bigger than themselves, and what better way to do that then let them into your brand story. With his new book (Epic Content Marketing) he quotes,

“As a business, your content marketing goal is to become part of the fabric of your customers’ lives. Once you can do that, selling to them becomes relatively easy... The good news is that we can all be epic”

Pulizzi also has the facts to back up his statements. For example in his blog he quotes “only 11 percent of marketers who don’t have a defined content marketing strategy for their enterprise describe their efforts as being effective.” Yikes! With facts like that it is hard to deny the clear value that good content or a good story can brings to your brand.

Story telling itself is not all that new of a concept. It has been going on for years, centuries even! Check out this video to see how far back story telling for the purpose of content marketing really goes.

Gila de Vries from Mashable takes a slightly different approach when looking at content as a marketing tool. He believes that with content must come with design, multiple platforms, balance between professional vs. user generated content and share ability. He thinks that even with great content must come a fair amount of engagement. By making your online content available on multiple platforms, shareable and interesting (both written and graphically) you are bound to have success. Gila also notes the power of on offline content strategy. He sates,

“A solid offline strategy can be one of the keys to bringing your online content to life, engaging your audience, and attracting new eyeballs. Red Bull has become an inimitable force in the field of content marketing and has blended online and offline marketing to become synonymous with extreme sports. In addition to a hugely popular website and magazine, Red Bull organizes sporting events from freestyle motocross, to extreme downhill sledding, to chariot racing. These offline events allow it to own the agenda, while engaging with their community in a very natural way.”

If I have not convinced you yet about the value in content marketing I have one more "Guru's" insight to share with you. Content Marketing Spot's creator Kevin Yeaman is passionate about his field. He specializes in a number of different content fields such as press releases, webinar hosting, social media content, business blogging and more. Yeaman shows us how content has a clear path to increasing sales. 
He posted this quote to his website, 

Content marketing as a whole is an amazing promotion tool – don’t you think? The power to build a relationship with your customers through words and stories is simply amazing. But we cannot forget about the value in its overall design, placement and share ability as stated by de Vries. If we as marketers can develop a brand story and stick to being "epic" like Pulizzi then we should have no problem with this concept. The content evangelists have paved a road for up and coming advertising/ marketing people to be successful - all of the information is right at our finger tips if we are willing to listen. I for one am convinced that this works and I know I will be using these techniques in the future. 

What brand do you know of that does a great job with their content? Personally I believe brands like Coca-Cola, Apple and Gatorade do fantastic job of connecting to their customers through content both on and off line. Let me know what you think. 

1 comment:

  1. Wowsers! Hollie this is a fantastic post about Content Marketing. It ranks right up with Mitch Joel and Seth Godin. See your email for your mark.