Content marketing has come a long way from when it was a novel concept for most, nearly a decade ago. Cut to today and you see B2C and B2B marketers fully embracing the power of content. But that’s not the only thing that’s changed in the past decade. Given the deafening din in advertising that makes it hard for marketers to catch the consumer’s attention, let alone convert them, the kind of content that marketers generate has undergone a sea change – from promotional sales messages to relevant informational content, the tables have turned completely. According to CMI’s 2019 B2B report, 90% of the most successful marketers now put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales/promotional message. They like to begin their relationship with prospects by offering guidance, help, information, or entertainment without a catch. And that’s really the catch here – to not ‘catch’ customers but ‘coach’ them instead. Why? Because providing valuable information to consumers helps brands create a bond with them. 96% of the most successful content marketers say their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource - and that comes with great benefits. According to a study by Capgemini, customers with strong attachments to a brand deliver a 23% premium over the average customer — both in profitability and revenue.
Creating content that breeds trust and delivers value
Most content marketers know (atleast in theory) that their content must be personal, easy to find and consume, and consistent – in the brand’s tone of voice. But how to actually generate that kind of content is where most fall short. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to customers: Yes, we have advanced analytics tools available at our disposal today, but real first-hand conversations with customers still rank above any other method of getting information – about their needs, preferences, feedback, etc. Why pour over reports and dashboards to create customer personas when you can, say, directly approach customers by accompanying the sales teams on client calls, attend in-person events, and look for other opportunities for direct access? Currently, only 42% of marketers say they have real conversations with customers as part of their audience research.
- Experiment with content formats: While video content and visual-based information such as images and infographics are making a big splash today, savvy brands know that it pays to have a mix of formats to cater to the needs of a wider range of audience. Depending on the nature of a business, content marketers must focus on digital text-based information delivery through e-books, blogs, articles as well as audio-based information such as through podcasts, in addition to other formats.
- Stay abreast with changing social and search algorithms: For 61% of content marketers, frequent changes to SEO algorithms is their biggest challenge, while for 45%, its social algorithm changes. To counter the spate of algorithm changes, experts suggest that brands take a slow and steady approach rather than altering their campaigns instantly and weigh all factors critically. Experimenting with small pilots to see what works and what doesn’t and keeping the focus on quality content should remain key focus areas.
The death of the traditional sales pitch is for real
Buyer fatigue with the kind of promotional content that screams ‘buy-me-now’ is at an all time high, given that advertisers can reach consumers anytime, anywhere. Modern buyers consider such pushy and interruptive ads as ‘intrusive’ and are typically put-off by the age old sales pitch. Quality content on the other hand, even if not directly relevant to a consumer at a particular point of time, helps educate and entertain them, besides creating a bond that lasts. And this is what makes the customer look for the brand when his moment of purchase arrives.
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