I was recently asked by a first time entrepreneur in the Health-tech space whether a good content marketing strategy can lead to growth. This got me thinking about the role content marketing plays in today’s digital world. Because like any other marketing tool, it is often misunderstood and ends up being maligned for the wrong reasons.
So to begin with let’s accept that most marketing activities are being done to achieve specific business objectives:
- Generate Awareness: Tell people about the brand’s promise (eg. TV adverts about a new product launch)
- Build Interest : Why the brand fits into their lives (eg. Customer Testimonials on a Fintech website)
- Create Credibility : Give a reason to believe the marketing claim (eg. Press mentions in leading media)
- Trigger sales : Provide a compelling reason why (eg. Full page Sale ! ads on the front page of the newspaper)
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing has arisen because people have taken to Google in a life changing way. As a result, we look for answers, entertainment, motivation, companionship and much more online. This has impacted the consumer’s decision journey . Take a look at the graphic shared in a recent report by KPMG on how consumer buying process has changed due to digital media.
Today’s consumers constantly seek information at the Awareness or Evaluation stage of decision making. As a result, this is a good place for a content marketer to operate in. She can provide answers to queries she is knowledgeable about. And craftily place her brand in the consumer’s context in a relevant manner. So in a nutshell – quality content marketing is the best possible way to introduce buyers to the brand’s personality and should be an integral part of a brand’s digital marketing calendar.
And remember, consumers also share information during and after the transaction stage. So user generated content often ends up impacting the brand’s image. Positive comments boost brand health but negative ones can start an unpleasant snowball effect. As a result, listening to content and replying to queries is also the job of the content manager. One that most people forget.
Can Content Marketing get Business?
Yes. Consumer are changing the way they consume digital media – as they move away from search and classifieds to content in multiple formats. And companies are being forced to follow. Take a look at this chart from the KPMG report about split in digital ad spends.
So content marketing can help business grow as follows:
- Ensure the brand enters the consideration set by creating awareness in a contextual manner . This is done through great content shared in the ‘Search for Information Stage’. Subtlety is key here as people are looking for knowledge – not a list of brand benefits. (eg. Take a look at the award winning blog of MoneyView – a good source of information for the young professional about personal finance.)
- Give the customer a reason to choose this brand over others by positioning it as a knowledge leader. When brands compete on multiple factors – the role of softer aspects like brand strengths, quality, trust are critical. A great content strategy ensures the digital consumer gets ample time to get familiar with a brand’s capability. This often gives a winning edge over other players. (eg. Our article on the 7 Steps to a Successful retail launch published in the Hindu Business Line is a great source of credibility with our Agro tech customers who specialized help to enter brick and mortar retail.)
How does one evaluate a Content Marketing strategy?
Decide in advance the specific metric we will evaluate content marketing against.
For example, will this post provide my firm business leads or will it generate credibility as a content marketing expert? Since the post does not have a call to action (sign up now for a free content marketing class) – I am not very hopeful about the former. But if you have read to the end of the post, chances are you think I have a fact based , experience driven understanding about content marketing. And that is sufficient.
I recommend the Content Marketing plan is designed to address one or two of the marketing objectives mentioned above. This could something as simple but effective as ‘Build Credibility as a Knowledge Provider’. A single minded agenda will help because content marketing is a difficult job. Specially for start ups or B2B companies who want to engage customers in a meaningful manner.
In summation :
Content marketing helps position the brand in the best possible light in the digital space. Because as people read content generated by a brand – they get to know more about the brand and why it will make their lives better. As a result, focused, high quality content is a great way to get into and stay in people’s consideration set.
Thank you for reading.
If you are looking for high quality content marketing- we would be happy to help. Centric Brand Advisors provides content – social and video, to help companies engage with customers. To know more connect with us through firstname.lastname@example.org