Content has come a long way since first debuting as an SEO tactic. Customers today consume 5 times more content than they did 5 years ago; reading, watching and engaging with an average of 11.5 pieces prior to making a purchase.1 Unlike other marketing channels with clearly defined deliverables, Content encourages us to use our imagination to invent new customer-centric multi-media experiences.
So far this year, well-respected marketing and advertising industry thought-leaders like Adobe, Google and Marketo put their money where their proverbial mouths are and invested in publishing detailed guides and ebooks aimed to educate and explain the value and importance of adopting this approach.
Still, despite the overwhelming consensus that “Content is King,” for most brands it still has a long way to go before it’s integrated and accepted into their marketing mix. Because let’s be honest, Content Marketing makes the C-Suite uncomfortable. It’s consumer-centric, resource intensive and not designed for direct response: the veritable antithesis of “standard operating procedure.”
On one hand, executives acknowledge that, in order to grow and maintain their business, they need to allocate budget towards creating content. But on the other hand, well, those tried and true marketing initiatives with proven and predictable ROI sure do seem like a smarter way to go. Therein lays the content marketing Catch 22.
The Golden Circle
A few years ago at a TED Talk, Simon Sinek explained how to inspire others using a framework called The Golden Circle. In his presentation he challenged business owners, marketers and advertisers to think about their company or brand and answer three (deceptively) simple questions in this order:
- Why does your company exist?
- How does it do what it does?
- What does it offer?
If you’ve seen this Ted Talk, you know that Sinek applies The Golden Circle to one of the world’s most recognized brands: Apple.
- Why does Apple exist? “In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.”
- How does Apple do what they do? “We make beautifully designed products that are user-friendly.”
- What does Apple offer? “We make beautifully designed computers…do you wanna buy one?”
Now consider how the kind of messaging Apple uses in their commercials and ads. Ever since their ground-breaking Super Bowl TV spot in 1984, they continuously inspire and innovate under their rally cry of “Think Different.” The central, ever-present value that drives their business and approach to product development. It’s a promise—a commitment—made to their customers that, over time, helped build unwavering brand loyalty and continues to convince people to abandon their PCs and pay way more for a Mac.
To Apple, this statement is much more than a catchy slogan; it’s their BRAND.
What does this have to do with Content Marketing?
- Smart Content Marketing breaks down your brand and products and finds interesting and engaging ways to highlight the components using infographics, videos, blog posts and more.
- Effective Content Marketing connects with your audience and adds value and affects their lives in real, meaningful ways.
- Successful Content Marketing is organically amplified and shared long after initially launched.
Smart + Effective + Successful = Customers & ROI
Customers today are sophisticated and digitally savvy. They rely on search engines to answer their questions and feel empowered to make buying decisions based on what they read, watch and see on sites they find on search results pages.
It’s as if you’re standing directly in front of your customers—and next to your competitors. As they click down the results list they’re judging and evaluating your brand, product and/or service based on what they find. But, since they don’t know you from Adam, they’re going to see what an unbiased 3rd party has to say about you and what you do.
And this is where having a comprehensive content strategy comes in handy. Knowing that, until a brand builds up a substantial amount of equity with a customer, they will always trust information they read from an “impartial expert” over branded content…Content Marketers put on their PR hats and start virtually shaking hands with important Influencers who’ll share your content with their audience.
At the end of the day…
- Lower Cost Per Lead: Brands with strong content strategy attract and capture more inbound leads and pay 40-68% less to acquire them compared to outbound-based methods. (Hubspot)
- Increased Site Traffic: Branded websites invested in content marketing see 7.8x more traffic than ones that don’t. (Kapost)
- Increased Conversion Rate: Branded websites that consistently produce and publish high quality content convert 6x better—2.9% vs 0.5%. (Kapost)
Commit to Creating Smart, Effective and Successful Content
In 2015 businesses will spend an average of $379,600 on content and plan on creating 65% more than they did in 2014. (Marketo) But on the flip side, 60-70% of content goes unseen because it wasn’t properly planned, researched or executed. (Sirius Decisions)
So before jumping in with both feet, take time to define a solid strategy that keeps your brand and customers in mind.
Now go forth and create awesome content!
(…or, call us and we can create it for you.)