Content marketing is not a new thing. In fact it's been around for years, it's just that it's got a name now and with social media, it's kind of a big deal. For brands, it offers them a massive chance to get ahead of competition and engage with consumers by delivering them insightful, relevant information. This is something that no brand should ignore, because the benefits are massive...
- Creativity - Advertising has been around for years, in print, outdoors, online and more. The issue with this however is that it can be very limiting in terms of what you can deliver the consumer. Content marketing changes this, by allowing a brand to deliver almost anything they want to. Whether it be video, images, white-papers, or whatever the brand chooses, it's an opportunity that brand's haven't had with such accessibility before. Creativity is massively important, as it can be the difference between standing out from your competition, or being left behind. A quote from Howard Gossage sums this up perfectly - "Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it's an ad." This applied to ads years ago, and is event more relevant to content marketing today.
- 'Virality' - Years ago, brands would rely on word of mouth to spread a message, and in recent years many believe this has died out. In reality, it's completely the opposite, word of mouth marketing has grown at an incredible rate - it's just called social media now. The ability to share something with a certain number of people, and then be able to watch it go viral in real-time is fantastic. Brands are now able to reach audiences they never could before with traditional advertising. Not only this, but they are able to see who they are, what the are interacting with, and within reason, put a value on the amplification gained from a piece of content 'going viral'. For a marketer to be able to end a campaign with more 'earned' marketing dollars than 'paid' is invaluable - just look at the Red Bull Stratos campaign. Brands are now publishers, with their audiences the distributors.
- Timing - More so than ever before, timing is everything. Social media has meant that brands have to be switched on 24/7, which may seem like an issue to some marketers but in reality presents a big opportunity to brands who are quick off the mark. Take Oreo's Superbowl Tweet for example. Often touted as the biggest advertising opportunity in America, with brands taking months or even years to prepare ads for the show, Oreo managed to steal the limelight with some incredibly quick reactive marketing. Generating over 22,000 direct engagements on Twitter, as well as endless articles written about it, the 'Dunk in the dark' Tweet was the talk of the Superbowl. Ask anyone which ad they remember, and I guarantee it'll be that.
- Relevancy - Targeting on social media channels has allowed brands to deliver content to an audience that are actively seeking it, in an environment where they expect content and updates. The release of products such as LinkedIn's Sponsored Updates, now give brands the chance to reach consumers outside of their following on social platforms, extending their audience and ensuring that the members are relevant through some unique targeting capabilities. Delivering relevant content also helps to build relationships between brands and their target audiences. Through giving someone content that is both relevant and engaging, they will start to develop brand affinity and a trust, and the consumers start to become brand advocates.
- Experimentation - Traditional marketing, whilst being proved to be successful, offers limited opportunity for experimentation. If your audience responds badly to a piece of copy or creative, there's little room for change. Most of the time, once an ad is published, there's no going back. With content marketing however, brands have the chance to test the water. They have the opportunity to publish multiple pieces of content and monitor the performance of them. From here, they are able to optimise to give their audience the most engaging and well received bits of information. Making mistakes is part of life growing up, however when it comes to marketing and advertising, big mistakes can sometimes lead to a reputation being tarnished. This is the reason the chance to experiment with content marketing is something brands should not miss.
These are just a few reasons as to why brands would be mad to ignore content marketing, there's many more. If 2012 was the year of mobile, 2013 is most definitely the year of content marketing.