Content marketing used to be comprised of only a small group of bloggers and YouTube enthusiasts. According to a 2012 study by AOL (a popular Internet service provider) and Nielsen (a leading global information and measurement company, provides market research, insights & data), 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day. Content has turned from something web people do, to an essential marketing tool for retailers.
Content marketing differs from advertising in two ways: First, content consists of owned or earned media. If you’re buying media (pay-per-click, re-targeting ads, etc.) it’s considered advertising, not content marketing. Second, content marketing is a pull type of advertising, rather than a push form of advertising. Content is built to attract and gain awareness from Ms. Jones rather than to disrupt her.
Why start content marketing?
Ms. Jones’ shopping journey and habits have shifted and continue to change every day. With the increase of social and digital platforms this has made information easy to obtain, and your customers are turning to these channels first even before stepping into your store or looking at your website.
According to the Corporate Executive Board’s Marketing Leadership Council (the world’s largest member-based advisory company), buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is already complete. Do you want to join in on that 57 percent and help shape Ms. Jones’ buying process? Or do you want to leave an empty space that your competitors will fill?
Will it replace advertising?
Of course not! For the greatest impact and maximum success, content and advertising should be integrated. Collectively, content and advertising can create a brand story that truly taps into the human emotion of a consumer. Marketing is the whole business in the eyes of the consumer. It’s your job to give your customers a story to tell.
Content marketing takes time!
Content marketing is not a miracle worker. More than likely you will not see a huge ROI in one week from it either. It works because it takes a considerable amount of information and effort, but it creates something of value for your audience. That information helps them make decisions whether to buy from you or go to the store down the street.