As always, content remains the key element of a marketing communication strategy. Nowadays the role of content grows, and it is time for marketers to reconsider the type of content they create and the way it interacts with an audience. In this post, I will outline key principles which lie as the foundation of content marketing today (I may re-write this in a couple of years after a new digital phase :) ).
Consumers are no longer passive recipients; they are active participants of the content creation and its further distribution
Traditionally, marketers have utilized content marketing to compete for audience attention by strategically placing messages on traditional media with the highest potential reach. We used to have full control over the message and its distribution. Our message explained the benefits of a product and reasons to buy it and we measured the placement efficiency by the number of people who saw it.
However, the emergence of technologies has diminished the level of this control. Consumers are no longer passive listeners or readers; they are active participants of the content creation and its further distribution. They can easily boost and harm the image of a product based on their own experience. Moreover, consumers decide on their own what they want to listen/read/watch and when, and they have all tools to manage their preferences.
We as marketers still pursue the same goal – we want to attract customers’ attention. However, the way the audience interacts with the message has become more important than purely the amount of consumers reached. What really matters today is how an audience engages with your message.
Here’s three key principles which will make your content efficient:
1. Content should touch the theme your target audience cares about. You do not need to sell a product through the message or describe benefits of your services/goods. All you need to do is provide your clients with valuable and reliable information that will demonstrate your proficiency. Once your clients trust you and find value in the information you provide, they will start sharing the content you create for them and attract more potential leads. A study by Marketo, shows:
- 71% of customers trust solutions that provide useful information – without trying to sell them something;
- 85% of customers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through various paths toward decisions – rather than just providing an answer outright.”
2. If your company is involved in social activism or philanthropy, make sure you talk about this in a transparent and honest way. Empowered by digital technologies, consumers often challenge organizations by revealing the authentic quality of products and sharing their consumption experience with a vast amount of people. Nowadays, consumers will tend to support businesses that commit to social responsible values. They encourage organizations to act in an accountable manner. Thus, data provided by Mintel proves that corporate altruism significantly influences the purchase decisions of a contemporary consumer. Marketing to Millennials reports 36% of all adults in the USA state that they will “make an effort to buy from ‘good’ companies” (O’Donnell, February 2014).
3. Last but not least, make your message visible and accessible so the audience can spread it easily.
Those are all of my thoughts for today. I’d be happy to read your comments and answer your questions.