Content marketing is a marketing technique that sees companies create and distribute quality, insightful content to consumers. The most common form of content marketing is through blogs but it can extend to video content and social media posts as well. We’ve all heard ‘content is king’ yadda yadda, but why and what does it mean. The idea is that valuable content created with the target consumer in mind should draw them in. An example of great content marketing is Showpo. They’re a women’s fashion brand and they create content (blogs, video content, and social media) based around lifestyle, fashion, makeup, and basically anything that relates to their target audience.
Content marketing can be really valuable to brands like this because it provides a reason for the brand to engage with their target demographic. It’s also one of those kiiinda sneaky tactics. Still using Showpo as an example, they regularly create video content and share it on Facebook. If the video is doing its job, it’ll be valuable to their audience, and if it’s valuable, there’s a likelihood that those consumers will share it with others who will also find it useful. In turn, they’ll then share the video or tag their friend on the post. Gaining Showpo more followers, more brand awareness, and more authority online.
New data from Clutch has given us some insight into how consumers feel about content marketing.
The new data from Clutch found that 67 per cent of consumers believe content marketing is useful and valuable. 55 per cent of respondents answered they’d be likely to research a company after consuming their content. A surprising 86 per cent said they’ve made a purchase after consuming a company’s content. So a strong majority of consumers are not only influenced by content marketing, but they actually enjoy it.
On the other hand there’s a third of consumers (33%) who believe content marketing is usually biased and unreliable. That sounds like a pretty dismal statistic but it’s not all bad. Almost half (49%) of those consumers say they’d revisit the company’s site or research their products. Most surprisingly, despite thinking content marketing has no value, 73 per cent (that’s nearly three out of four) have still purchased a product because of it.
Like a lot of different tactics in marketing, there’s none that’ll suit every single consumer. Those statistics certainly aren’t bad for content marketing… having 67 per cent who are in favour is a really positive thing. The 33 per cent who are sceptical about it make a really good point. Why would a company who’s looking to sell be completely transparent about their own flaws or why would they suggest another brand’s product over their own?
It means that content marketing needs to be a little bit more subtle. Consumers are more likely to find content biased or unreliable if it’s overly promotional or ‘salesy’. Creating blogs or videos with something insightful, or that somehow share knowledge or expertise are much more useful than videos that highlight the features of your own product.
An example of one way this could be executed is by sharing a ‘how-to’ video. A mechanic could put together a ‘how-to’ video for how to change a filter or make a simple repair. Business owners typically don’t feel really keen on this tactic. They can think, “why would I teach them to do it themselves when I want them to come to me for that service?”
The truth is, someone capable and willing to do it themselves would seek out the tutorial video regardless, whether from you or not. Those who come across it looking for the service, or because they’re interested, will view you and your brand as a reliable, helpful source.
The other approach here is creating content that’s not necessarily educational but entertaining to the audience. Coming back to Showpo, they post memes, makeup videos, and cute videos of puppies. Considering their target audience, they really hit the mark for it. The content they share on their socials is normally highly ‘shareable’ so they get a lot of shares, tags between friends, and interactions.
The first opportunity here is SEO, the most common drive in content marketing. Content marketing is an opportunity to integrate keywords on your website without having to go overboard on copy. Obviously the goal here isn’t to just stuff keywords throughout articles. Maybe you’re a mechanic trying to rank for brakes and suspension repairs specifically. Coming up with a keyword strategy and finding alternative keywords with medium to high competition in Google’s Keyword Planner is ideal. Once you’ve got them, think about content. Maybe you can write about how to know when it’s time to have your brakes and suspension checked up. Maybe you could write about simple brake and suspension repairs to do at home.
On top of SEO, content marketing can create and foster brand awareness. If someone has an interest in your industry or the products you provide, you can bet they’re reading or watching relevant content pretty often. If you’re sharing content on socials, the right people will be seeing it from you often. This means your brand’s name will be associated with your content and the right consumers remember who you are. Coming back to Showpo, I don’t know of their brand because I googled women’s fashion. I know about them because of social media. Their brand is ingrained in my mind because I see it all the time.
The other massive perk of content marketing? Promoting trust in your target audience. While the purpose of creating this content is to promote your business, you’re still offering value and insight to your audience. Sharing tips, news, and valuable information or content is something users appreciate and will respect your brand for.
I’ve painted a pretty rosy picture of content marketing but there are pitfalls and mistakes to avoid. The worst mistake is being way too salesy. Writing a blog post about how to fix a car but ending every paragraph with a Call to Action is cringey, clunky, obvious, and not in the ‘spirit’ of content marketing.
Then there’s content that’s obviously been copied or reads the same as every other generic article on the subject. Create something new! It doesn’t have to be a new topic, but you need to offer some kind of fresh take. Even worse here is when it’s an amalgamation of the first page articles and is just reworded and edited poorly. Quality content takes time, effort, and some thought. Unoriginal content can seem unreliable and dodgy.
The last pitfall is terrible execution. Flooding Facebook or LinkedIn with content is counter productive. It’s annoying and normally results in an unfollow. No one likes an Instagram story that’s turned to dots instead of dashes and no one likes seeing 10 consecutive posts from the same brand on their socials.