Content: The heart of your Digital Marketing Strategy
Have you ever heard the expression ‘content is king’? More to the point have you ever wondered what that actually means, or what content even is? I recently attended the Chief Digital Officer Forum where the topic of content came up continuously throughout the day, and it really got me thinking about how many people know the answer to this, especially those involved in marketing activities throughout business, and even how ‘to do’ content well. This blog is the first in a series, aimed to help clarify exactly what content marketing is, why it is so important to put at the heart of your Digital Marketing Strategy and the issues that businesses can come across when trying to create it.
A definition of content
Content has been described as the present and future of marketing. You will come across it many times throughout your day, probably without even realising it. Effectively it is the voice of a business, the means of its internal and external communications with shareholders and stakeholders.
So what exactly counts as content? Well this can be any information that the business creates and shares in order to build meaningful relationships with customers, nurture prospects or communicate with employees. This includes; newsletters, blogs, case-studies, infographics, how-to guides, podcasts, website pages and videos. The list goes on, but basically it counts as anything created and shared by the company.
Trends have shifted over the years and businesses are now finding that traditional advertisements are not working as effectively as they used to. People have been bombarded with traditional marketing efforts over the decades, resulting in an ever growing importance in the value of information offered to them. I mean, have you ever looked at an advert and seen through it for exactly what it is – a ploy to make you buy something that you probably don’t even need or want?!
Content in business
Digital marketing has seen a vast change in the way that businesses implement their content strategy. The Content Marketing Institute states that 91% of B2B businesses and 86% of B2C businesses are using content marketing, with the majority of this taking place online. You only have to think about how much time we actually spend sat in front of a computer, tablet or smart phone nowadays to realise that this is no surprise (over 8 hours a day according to last year’s Ofcom report!)
Good content stands out head and shoulders above the rest. It must be original, relevant and consistent, but most of all it must be valuable to the recipient. People must want to consume it and trust the message that is being sent across. As they said in the 1967 TV series The Prisoner: “We want information”. I don’t think that there was ever a truer quote to describe the consumers of today.
A key thing that I’ve come across over the last couple of years has been the amount of businesses that use their company website as information platform, yet fail to even explain what it is they even do. Whilst I’m not trying to suggest that companies should all treat us as idiots, it seems that some forget to include the most relevant of information and therefore end up completely missing the point.
The ability to create great content provides many benefits for a company such as enhancing SEO, showcasing expertise and promoting word of mouth and user generated content. Higher SEO rankings in particular are a massive advantage to creating content as the benefits can long outlive paid for advertisements and publishing. In addition traffic to your site via content is often of far greater relevance and quality than that from paid advertising, especially for B2C. You only have to look at the stats to see that last year content was one of the biggest drivers of organic search success online.
More than that, marketing content taps into the five stages of the buying decision process by enhancing problem awareness and need recognition and then providing information in order to educate the customer or prospect. Providing content that is more valuable than your competitors will put you in a better position to inspire your audience, win the purchase following the evaluation stage, and make it more likely to gain a positive post-purchase evaluation.
Stay posted for more blogs about content marketing, where we will further explore aspects such as how to involve internal sources in creating and sharing content, possible conflicts that may arise and the endless mileage that content can provide.
IT Hummingbird provide a range of digital consultancy services, including content marketing, social media management and SEO. Do you need help with your content or Digital Marketing Strategy? Call us or email Hello@it-hummingbird.co.uk.