Success in the digital age requires agility and highly-relevant messaging. After all, a multitude of businesses competing for attention in the digital space means it can be a noisy place. But companies can control how they are perceived through content marketing. With consumer engagement so strongly centered around constant smartphone, laptop and tablet use, content marketing helps ensure businesses put only their best images forward.
What is Content Marketing?
Consumers rely on social media and search engines inform themselves and connect with others. For businesses to succeed, they need to drive website traffic through these means. Therefore, content marketing lets business owners do everything from create, publish, curate and promote customized communications to their audience.
That means recognizing the importance of content in digital marketing and creating a content strategy encompassing the different publishing platforms. This can include:
- The company website and landing pages
- Social media accounts
- Email newsletters
- Videos and infographics
- White papers and press releases
- Blog posts and SEO
A content calendar is a monthly content plan across all media channels that lays out content strategy. This gives the content manager a view of what content goes out within the month. Content can be planned around various events to make it timely and relevant. Each marketing element is carefully researched, written, and planned for release, achieving maximize engagement.
There are various moving parts in content marketing, but all are manageable with a streamlined brand guideline and focused messaging.
Realizing the Importance of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a necessary tool to improve business.
“The beauty of content marketing is that it gives your brand a way to be viewed in a positive, trustworthy light… when you produce content like blog posts, videos, social posts, whitepapers and beyond, you have a way to get in front of customers with information that doesn’t appear promotional.” –Forbes
Content managers create assets that reinforce the company brand. Here are a handful of reasons underlining the importance of content marketing, each one a strong case for why businesses should engage in content marketing to enhance their businesses.
1. Advertise Identity
Everything a business posts online paints a portrait of its identity. But social media posts, announcements, and other digital materials are also ways of engaging an audience. Through them, businesses establish identities. They also show how they can be of service to others. Content is their opportunity to create a positive impression, and connect with consumers.
Nike has recognized the importance of content marketing and is fearless in promoting its identity. In its most recent ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, Nike made the leap from simple product advertisement to a timely social commentary. They likely knew they would face boycotts and backlash, but moved forward with a positive and unapologetic attitude.
Thanks to its online content, Nike has become more than just a sports brand. It is an inclusive movement. Whether you agree or disagree with the message, it is impossible to deny that Nike has fully utilized content marketing to advertise identity.
2. Promote Thought Leadership
Businesses looking to grow their audience and customer base must always strive to create original content. This is often what sets competitors apart. Simply put, businesses that publish their own blog posts, white papers, infographics, and videos have more value because they add value. Content is easily shared, and when it is meaningfully crafted, its uniqueness resonates with countless people online. This is how businesses establish themselves as experts among experts, and as the authority in their own specific industries.
Innovator Elon Musk always shares articles written about him or his companies. This reinforces his authority in fields such as Hyperloop transportation, space exploration, and autonomous vehicles. People pay attention to what he says. He is the face of present-day innovation and knows how to use social media to interest in his inventions.
3. Connect with an Audience Through Content Strategy
Social media has bridged the gap between brands and consumers. It is a big reason why zeroing in on content marketing is important. Reaching potential customers can be done by simply pushing content through a Twitter feed. Online consumers can voice opinions, provide feedback, and give constructive criticism. With a simple exchange on Twitter or Facebook, businesses can communicate with customers without friction. This reinforces how their transparency and agility and builds trust.
Fast-food giant Wendy’s has taken advantage of social media in an entertaining way. They are active on Twitter, interacting with customers in a sassy manner. When those responses and retorts go viral, they give Wendy’s a very light-hearted, approachable identity. This kind of engagement attracts a lot of attention – and can promote sales.
4. Acquire Intelligence
As the gap between brands and consumers becomes closer, businesses can acquire more intelligence on their audience. They can monitor the engagement of their online activity to see which types of content got traction and elicited responses. They can then adjust their strategy to make it more relevant. Businesses can optimize their content to identify the right time to post. They can also narrow the audience to target for every post. Through analytics, they have a better grasp of how their audience behaves and how to better communicate and serve them.
Regardless of the platform and reporting function used, the intelligence acquired is a valuable insight into the interests of consumers. This can shape future content strategies and plans.
Content marketing may seem overwhelming to put into practice, but the importance of content marketing cannot be understated. Organizations should put content managers in place to spur marketing plans that will help improve business. With nearly everyone online nowadays, everyone is a target for content. To find success, businesses need to realize the importance of content marketing and produce a solid content strategy to make a difference in the industry and in the lives of consumers.