Just How Important Is Content?
To answer the question simply, content is vastly important to modern day marketers. Not just content, though, but great content. Great content creates a buzz and gets people talking. It will cause customers choose you over other brands. It is imperative for search engine optimization, so it should be written correctly, elegantly, and effectively with this in mind. The content you provide drives social media, your website, and other forms of online communications. Ultimately, it is the difference between your marketing materials and “spam”.
So why is good content so critical? Why is it so effective for your brand?
For starters, the content you provide represents you. It reflects your intentions as a brand (beyond sales), your opinions and values, as well as your targeted audience. Content is a way for your brand to further build an image, create a tone, and increase its credibility to potential customers. Good content also helps your business reach a wider audience and make a greater impression on consumers. On top of that, you can expect a better response from your audience and a higher rate of conversion, acquisition, and retention. The importance of good content is apparent when you look at the alternatives.
Compared to spam – unwanted, unsolicited, and uninteresting marketing materials – good content is the exact opposite. Good content is unique, relevant, useful, wanted, enlightening, consistent, nonintrusive, and interesting. Bad content is actually harmful to you, your brand, your website listing, your IP address and any possibility of SEO because it doesn’t provide anything of value – consumers don’t see anything relevant in spam. Spam is often sent to mobile phones and emails, then straight to the Trash folder. Even if it manages to reach the consumer, they can usually spot the direct sales tactics, the insignificance of the information, and the “hype” that usually constitutes the underlying tone.
This type of marketing – the intrusive directness and high-pressure approach – is working less and less on today’s consumers. People are growing used to passing over the ads that pop out at them, flash colors in their email, and arrive in their mobile messaging inbox unexpectedly with half-a-dozen exclamation marks. With consumers savvier than ever, traditional marketing methods need to evolve to meet the new audience.
Hence why you’ve probably come across the term content marketing. In summary, content marketing is the use of online venues to provide original material, such as blogs, status updates, website content, and video, to interested consumers. But, why do this? Why create and share content? Well, that is where the marketing aspect comes in. You wouldn’t share just any content, but relevant content that inevitably promotes your brand.
Instead of mere persuasion, good content adds value to your brand by providing something for the consumer, not just offering them a sale. Don’t just advertise and promote – provide. Provide content that in turn leaves an impression on your audience of who you are and what your brand stands for. Be interesting, be funny, be exciting, be smart. Tell a story and share an experience. Grab their interest by showing them something worth looking at, not just an advertisement but something they can enjoy. Ultimately, content marketing is a way to deepen your brand image, communicate with your customers on an integral level, lead people to your brand, and help them understand your company’s values and what you offer.
Take for example the Coca Cola Company’s blog, Coca Cola Unbottled. Their site features articles titled “Treat Sustainability like a Hidden Treasure” and “Coke's Brian Smith: 'Our Generation Has to Find Ways to Empower Youth'”. Other parts of their site feature vivid slideshows with captions such as “Working to Get Human Rights Right… And Reporting On It”.
Why does Coca Cola, the world’s largest beverage company, spend time and money to generate this type of content? They are by no means reporters, but they still provide news about the company, their activities, and the topics that concern them.
Some reasoning behind such articles might be obvious now – the content portrays the companies worldly and ethical values, pushes their agenda, and communicates company doings to curious patrons. Each bit of content adds something to the company’s image and enhances their credibility in a certain way. Additionally, the Coca Cola Company’s website is brimming with interesting information and visuals that draw customers in. The content is SEO-rich and has a better chance of being found by search engines, appearing for people who search for information related to Coca Cola’s articles. The more there is to see, the longer visitors will browse the site and the greater the impression left.
This marketing behavior is a response to the information age. Internet users have a modern day, Alexandrian Library of information at their fingerprints. They know what they are interested in and they can find the information quickly. People go looking for content among endless resources, creating web traffic and giving businesses another opportunity to show their brand colors. More than that, though, content marketing with proper optimization allows businesses to direct that traffic towards their brand, and that is where good content comes in.
Your content (assuming it is appropriately optimized for search engines) leads to your brand like a funnel. People might search for “human rights activism” or “Hurricane Irma disaster relief” and find the Coca Cola Company’s blog. Consumers come from all over looking for that interesting, relevant information, which in turn brings them to the company blog. If the content satisfies the consumers interests, your company just boosted its credibility! The visitor will likely peruse the site some more, learn about your company while fulfilling their desire for information, and leave with the impression that you so carefully crafted.
The bottom line is that if you promote information (textual, visual, and even interactive) that is of value to your customers, they will appreciate the content. That is the difference between good content and bad content – the consumer appreciates good content. They don’t want to see the traditional advertisement when they’re online. They’ve been bombarded by that kind of media since the days of dial-up internet. Consumers want to stay up to date on their own terms and learn more about what interests them, and through that a business can present their brand. If you provide useful or inspiring content, they will make the connection between your content and your brand.
Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking that consumers don’t want good content sent to them. Consumers everywhere are joining the Facebook groups and mobile clubs of their favorite brands to stay informed. Consumers are also taking advantage of content marketing. A business can reach their customer’s mobile phones and emails by promising and providing good content, and customers won’t unsubscribe if they know the content is good. Stun them with your content and they will ask for more! An enhanced brand image, a deeper message, a greater impression, increased traffic – good content is not just vastly important to contemporary marketers, it is indispensable. Consumers are hyper-aware of spam and unwanted, unneeded content. Consumers are letting businesses know that they won’t fall for the flashy, “buy now” messages in their inbox. Instead, they turn to companies who are willing to not just promote but to entertain and enlighten, because good content is simply not a trick.
Think of it like this: Good content is like having a cup of coffee while you spend valuable time with a favorite friend, relative or partner talking, reminding each other of stories and laughing. You never want it to end.
Bad content is the annoying employee in the department store that springs at you like an animal attacking and sprays you with some overwhelming fragrance that you didn’t ask for, didn’t give your permission for, irritating your allergies and leaving you to smell like it for the rest of the day. Yeah. Don’t be that person.
Good content is a brand’s way of relating to the customer by sharing their stories, knowledge, and experiences. Your company has interests, values, and a message they would like to embody; content marketing is a way to share that. It’s worth every extra measure to make sure your marketing materials aren’t ending up deleted or passed over. MaxGroup knows full well the importance of value-rich content, devoting an entire branch to the creation of compelling marketing materials. If you are still unsure of how to go about the process of creating and marketing content, drop us a line and let us share our expertise.