In many circles, content marketing is all the rage. Big brands like Red Bull, Whole Foods and the New York Stock Exchange have embraced it, as have locally headquartered firms such as Monetate and SAP.
What is content marketing? Be a publisher, create content online that attracts a target audience.
Think of it as a higher level of thought leadership – a way to drive your industry’s conversation. Importantly, content marketing is audience-focused, unlike traditional marketing efforts that trumpet the excellence of an organization or product.
If you still think that is what advertising is supposed to do, think again. Advertising still has a place in marketing plans, but it is less and less effective in an online world. The average click through rate is 0.1 percent. Far too often, traditional outbound marketing results in outbound dollars. This is why the era of ‘interruptive marketing’ is fading.
Think about your own buying experience: Google reports that 97 percent of purchases are researched online before they are made. When you’re searching, you’re looking for an organization that you want to do business with. We can buy goods and services from anywhere in the world – down the street, London, Hong Kong, wherever. So the battle to win the customer is fiercer than ever before. A content strategy feeds consumer desire to seek information and form opinions. By delivering “news you can use” to the audience, a brand can garner attention, engage the audience and build trust.
However, most would-be content marketers fall down when it comes to executing the strategy. It’s hard to produce a steady flow of high quality audience-focused content; it requires a “newsroom mentality” – being audience-centric, agile and prolific. Most businesses struggle. That’s why we launched Scribewise last year — we’re an outsourced newsroom of former journalists that understands how to research, conduct interviews and efficiently create great content.
Content marketing acknowledges that the seller-buyer relationship has changed, and that consumers now have the power. While the journalism industry struggles, the information age is booming; there has never been a better time to be a news consumer, and consumers are voraciously devouring information from all corners of the Internet. They’re educating themselves about your industry and your company while they’re out there.
That’s a conversation you have to participate in.