According to Wikipedia content marketing is, to paraphrase… the creation and sharing of content to a) find new customers to spend money and b) keep existing customers spending money.
So far, so simple.
However, why has content marketing suddenly become the hot topic at every marketing meeting across the globe? And what has caused its relatively sudden rise in popularity?
To answer these questions, we only need to understand one thing: consumers have evolved. Raised in a world where advertising appears around every corner and straight onto their mobile phones, they no longer ‘believe the hype’ so readily, and question and challenge brand messages at every turn.
In fact, Millennials and Generation X are generally so disillusioned with traditional marketing methods that they have the cheek to fast-forward through adverts on their TV and will even pay good money for premium services so they don’t have to see/hear the ads that come with the free version.
The growth of social media and better technology has had a huge part to play in this aversion to traditional sales methods. Why listen to what a brand says when you can listen to ‘real people’ who have tried the product / service? Why force yourself to sit through all the advertising noise when you can skip right past it?
What this has meant, for those who work in marketing, can be broken down into two things:
1. We had to get smarter
2. We had to get our heads round the fact that you only get back what you put in
Content marketing, when done properly, offers customers real value. It gives them information that is relevant to them; it allows for two-way conversation and it makes a brand or business less faceless and more human.
By giving a business/brand an interesting and unique voice, it allows the right customers to find them and communicate with them on a personal level not achievable before.
However (and here’s the point about getting back what you put in) it takes time, effort, patience and thought to create an effective voice for your business and then to produce regular, engaging content. It certainly isn’t something you can rush and hope for a quick return on.