Consumers prefer brands to communicate with them rather than at them, they want to connect with brands, and effective use of digital platforms allows for this progression. Why? Because it encourages two-way communication and engagement.
 
Gone are the days where a brand can rely solely on traditional advertising to get their message across, consumers want more information, they want meaningful information, and they want to digest this information at a time and place that suits them.  Through content marketing, consumers can gain a greater understanding of what a company is about. It builds trust and credibility and puts a voice to the brand, helping consumers to better relate.
 
Content marketing is becoming increasingly popular amongst many brands for a number of reasons:
  • CONNECTIVITY: it allows brands to connect with their target markets through values and opinion, which ultimately builds a deeper two-way connection;
  • LONGEVITY: it has a long shelf life, which creates further opportunity to reach and connect with the target audience;
  • RELEVANCE: it creates relevance to topics of expertise, which search engines highly regard and acknowledge, and;
  • EFFECTIVENESS: it’s cost effective and has very low media wastage, creating a high return on investment.
The key to successful content marketing lies in the strategy and direction behind it. Many people think that if you produce content, you are a content marketer - and this is one of the most common misconceptions. It’s not just as simple as hiring a copywriter, or producer (for VC materials), giving them a tactical topic, and in a couple of days the job is done - there’s no point producing content that lacks long term direction.
 
Content marketing is a case of quality over quantity; you can produce as much content as you like but if it lacks strategic direction and a well thought out plan, it will sit in cyberspace until someone inadvertently clicks on it. For that reason, there are specific formulas required in order to develop and implement effective content marketing activities.
 
Content marketing can be used to proactively build brand equity in the market place, and if used cleverly, it can also be very useful for detracting business from your direct competitors. It’s like going fishing (although depending on your level of fishing expertise, it probably has a higher success rate!), you throw the hook - baited with the right words and well-constructed sentences, then you watch as you start to attract consumers right to where you want them… generating traffic to your website, and away from your competitors’.
 
As a communication tool, content marketing achieves the best results when integrated and amplified through supplementary channels, such as; social media, email marketing platforms and search engines. Consistency is the key to maintaining a strong online presence, which means strategic planning, with the 4C marketing mix in mind, is paramount to its success!