Content Marketing: Give Customers What They Want

 In Content Creation, Front Page

Overcome banner blindness, pop-up blockers and brand fatigue.

The advertising strategies that emerged with the adoption of digital are showing their age. Younger consumers, in particular, who grew up bombarded by loud banner ads and flashy pop-ups have grown inured to and disenchanted with these conventional tactics.

Although new ads have adjusted to encourage viewers to engage—for instance, ads that fill your screen instead of a separate pop-up and/or video that requires you watch for a set time before you click away—consumers see them as something to be ignored or endured.

It’s safe to say that people today are looking for an authentic, genuine interaction with brands. A recent Economist Group survey on marketing found a wide disconnect between content creators and consumers. Ninety-three percent of marketers reported connecting content with products and services and a majority (75%) said content should frequently mention products.

A bulk of their audience, however, didn’t agree: 60 percent of survey respondents claimed they turn down content that sounds like a sales pitch. Instead, three-fourths of respondents said they look to content for insights or ideas.

“Marketers really miss the mark when they communicate to an audience,” said Elena Sukacheva, managing director of global content solutions group for The Economist Group. As consumers, we are growing immune to conventional pitches that sound “sales-y” or have an obvious agenda, so, as businesses, we must adapt our marketing strategy. Do we want a genuine connection with consumers? Do we want to build relationships with consumers?

Enter content marketing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the “art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling…The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

It’s an approach that, instead of asking for something from the customer, gives something to the customer—and it’s revolutionary because it cuts through the ad fatigue and constant bombardment and becomes an antidote to cynicism. People know when they are being given something relevant and valuable and they respond to that intention. Useless or promotional content will not help your brand, the goal of content marketing is to connect with your customer base and foster engagement.

Some of the most effective content marketing is the most simple. Who doesn’t know Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, Libby’s Pumpkin Pie, and Ro*Tel Queso Dip? These back-of-the-package recipes, and there are many of them, all give something to consumers: A really successful and tasty recipe (valuable) that would impress and satisfy family and friends (relevant), which, in turn, is repaid with customer loyalty.  We all need to eat, after all.

Some great content marketing happening today:

GoPro cameras market themselves on GoPro’s Youtube channel. GoPro simply delivers high-quality entertainment to over 3 millions subscribers, using their products. Whether it’s extreme sports, life through the eyes of a kid, or getting up close with dangerous animals, there’s something for everyone.

Anthropologie’s weekly drink series with styled pics and seasonal, hip ingredients checks all of the boxes for thoughtful content marketing. There isn’t any commitment for the customer, yet the useful, compelling content cements Anthropologie’s reputation as the place that the cool girl you want to be shops.

Airbnb’s city guides are another good example of a complementary content strategy. Travelers are served a curated, insider’s look at their city of choice (valuable and useful information), while simultaneously being pointed to Airbnb services and partners as practical ways to make their vacation dreams a reality.

More: The 12 Best Content Marketing Blogs of 2014.

Check back next week to read more about Sponsored Blog Posts, a hot marketing channel closely aligned with content marketing!

Have any content marketing tips to share?

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