As the ways we consume content, media, and technology continue to evolve, so too do the ways companies market themselves and showcase their brands. Similarly, consumers are starting to look beyond simple advertising tactics and now crave more unique and engaging online content.
To match these trends, brands from across all industries have turned to the tactics of content marketing to beef up their digital presence. Content marketing has become one of the most popular methods of digital marketing, and it’s no surprise why; it’s a powerful tool that can help your brand increase web traffic and overall brand awareness, and boost sales.
According to modern business strategists and marketing experts, content marketing is the key to success in this increasingly digital age of Internet, e-commerce, and social media. But what exactly is content marketing and why is it such a valuable tool for your brand? This article will explore the definition of content marketing, its benefits, and show some examples of the various ways that brands are utilizing content marketing throughout different industries.
What is Content Marketing and Why Should You Care?
Before we dive into the ways that content marketing can benefit your brand’s marketing strategy, let’s take some time to get a deeper understanding of what content marketing actually is and what it can entail when it comes to your brand.
Content marketing can be defined as 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.”
To this point, content marketing helps marketers showcase the value of their brand while building a sense of trust with their audience. Ultimately, content marketing refers to creating, curating, and sharing valuable content for free to generate website traffic, build an audience, generate leads, and convert them into sales.
When considering the kind of content to include in your content marketing strategy, it’s important to keep in mind the long-term goals you’ve set for your brand. Your content should add value to your brand’s image and reputation in some way.
Content should be interesting, relevant, and fun to read. It should be relatable and identify with your target audiences’ problems and emotions, while inspiring them to take action. The content you provide can guide them in solving their problems and provide them with useful information.
Most importantly, quality content not only attracts prospective customers, but also converts them into loyal visitors to the website. In short, highly-targeted content in its various forms, including text, images, videos, presentation decks, infographics, podcasts, and emails, helps you increase your overall reach, improve your brand image, increase sales conversion, and retain your customers.
How Can Content Marketing Boost Your Brand?
No matter what industry your brand is a part of, content marketing is an effective way to bolster your marketing efforts. Every brand with a successful marketing strategy utilizes content marketing in some shape or form. Why?
With the growing number of internet users and the flourishing of e-commerce, digital marketing outperforms traditional marketing methods and curated content plays a crucial role in this. Search engines keep refining their algorithms in an ongoing effort to provide the best possible results to search queries. So, providing good content, in terms of both readability and effectiveness, is important when trying to grow a loyal audience.
Now, if you’re still not convinced of the importance of content marketing, let’s look at five specific ways that content marketing can benefit your brand.
Content marketing can help you:
Establish trust with your audience
Creating quality content helps you build a lasting relationship with your audience. Building this trust can help your business establish a positive brand reputation, which will keep your audience engaged and interested in what your brand has to offer both now and in the future. Through the content that you produce and provide, you are able to create a positive experience and association for your customers that will be bound to leave a good impression in the long-run.
Generate leads and increase your conversions.
Think of content as a map that guides your users to your brand’s true value. Content gives you the ability to share important information with your audience in a compelling way. Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate new leads for your brand. By creating content that features engaging call-to-actions (CTA), you’ll be able to generate leads efficiently and effectively.
Content marketing strategies can also have a great impact on your conversion rates. Content marketing can improve your brand’s conversions because it allows you to connect with and inform your leads and customers directly. Customers are more likely to invest in what your brand is offering if they have a strong idea of who you are and what you stand for. By providing consistent content, you can influence your audience to make informed decisions regarding your brand’s value proposition.
Improve the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
In addition to lead and conversion improvements, content marketing can also help you optimize your SEO strategy and efforts. Since SEO plays a direct role in how visible and accessible your brand is online, it is important to utilize content creation to highlight your brand’s value. The more content your brand creates and publishes, the greater your online presence will be. Content marketing allows you to create more opportunities for your brand to get noticed by your audience, ultimately increasing your chances of developing a lasting relationship.
Build your reputation through increased authority.
Creating a range of content for your brand will also help you build a worthy online reputation. The more high quality content you have online, the more respect you will gain from your audience, which consequently increases your authority and credibility within your respective industry. Content helps you stand out from your competition and allows you to showcase your expertise. As buyers continue to become wiser and, in turn, more critical, it becomes increasingly important to establish a sense of authority that features aspects of your brand’s authenticity.
Enhance your digital marketing and social media presence.
Content supports almost every aspect of your brand’s digital strategy. When marketing across different channels and platforms, you want to ensure that you are providing your audience with consistent, high quality content no matter where you are posting or publishing. A well thought out and executed content marketing strategy allows you to promote your brand through various digital tactics. By enhancing your online and digital presence and increasing your social media traction, you’ll be able to acquire a loyal following across various media platforms, which allows for better brand exposure.
What Does Effective Content Marketing Look Like?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of content marketing and its benefits, let’s look at examples of companies using effective content to build their brand’s reputation and online presence.
It’s important to keep in mind that content marketing strategies come in all shapes and sizes, and no strategy is “one size fits all.” Part of the value of an effective content marketing strategy lies in the fact that it’s customizable and created according to your brand’s specific needs and the goals you have set.
Here are some brands that were able to use content marketing as a way to boost their brand awareness and move towards reaching their various business goals:
Ben & Jerry’s: What’s New
Ben & Jerry’s “What’s New” content marketing blog allows audiences to enter the world of the popular ice cream brand and explore content that goes beyond the realm of sweet treats. Through its blog content, the company is able to showcase and promote its values and missions, shedding light on what the brand finds important including social issues that are relevant to today’s world. In doing so, Ben & Jerry’s is able to connect with its consumers on a different level, creating content that inspires real action and change, a foundational goal of the brand itself.
Birchbox: The Mag
Birchbox’s online magazine content blog, “The Mag,” features curated articles and stories that tap into their audience’s interests within the world of beauty and skincare. Through a collection of interviews, how-to pieces, product showcases, and other content types, Birchbox is able to build an engaged community while promoting some of its featured products. In this case, content marketing allows them to build a relationship with their customers, enhance their credibility and authority as a beauty brand in the industry, and increase their sales and product interest.
Boston University: F*ck it Won’t Cut it
One of the most unique content marketing strategies of 2020 has been Boston University’s student-led initiative for COVID-19 safety and awareness, “F*ck it Won’t Cut it.” The strategy is bold yet compelling, and ultimately aims to inform students during this incredibly overwhelming time.
This content marketing strategy features helpful videos and infographics and utilizes social media in a fresh, innovative way that appeals to their general audience. Students are immediately drawn in by the colloquial language and will end up staying for the informative, high quality content regarding the circumstances and consequences of the pandemic. With the support of the university’s leadership, the content has impacted the conversation surrounding COVID-19.
What Content Marketing Can Mean For You
At the end of the day, content marketing is a great way for your brand to succeed in the increasingly competitive digital world that we live in today. With the right strategy and quality content, you can help your brand enhance web traffic levels, increase your overall brand awareness, and boost sales. Taking your brand to the next level means exploring all forms of content that media platforms have to offer. With the wide variety of content types at your disposal, you are sure to find the one that best suits your brand!
Josmary Gonzalez & Christie Calahan contributed to this blog.