- By Ryan Northover

content marketing strategy1. Trust in Advertising is Terrible

A recent report from market research giant Nielsen shows consumer trust in traditional media advertising has plummeted. Users don’t like, nor trust the sales messages 

The survey found whopping 90% of OECD consumers said they trusted brand recommendations from friends or users they trusted online, while only 10% said they trusted messages from display advertising.

Content Marketing represents a form of word-of-mouth marketing, whereby users consumer, engage and share your useful brand content. A strong content marketing strategy hits closer to the 90% trust level than any paid banner ad at the other end of the consumer trust scale.

2. Content Marketing Delivers Quality Lead Generation 

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” said John Wanamaker. This problem may be solved with content marketing.

In fact, Content marketing can convert 30% more organic traffic into high quality sales leads (source: MarketingSherpa). Great content marketing will attract potentially high value customers, and these customers will come back for more.

This compares to more traditional advertising methods, where media planners will buy an audience assuming that an ad message will be received by a target audience, and this also assumes the paid message will compel users to act.

Content Marketing delivers on the strategy of ‘narrowcasting’ where brands focus on a smaller, core group of potential, high quality consumers.

3. Content Marketing Fulfils a Desire for More Information

Back in 2010, when about 1/3 of consumers had Smartphones, users searched on average of 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. By the start of 2012, when over half of consumers owned a smartphone, that figure had doubled to 10.4 sources of information.

User behaviour and technology is changing, consumers will now search out for information about your industry, before asking a real person or consulting other media.

Marketers must rise to this challenge and build great content systems that engage, inspire, educate and inform users who seek.

4. Content Marketing Improves SEO

Content Marketing will help you kill it on the SEO front, as search engines get smarter at delivering the right information to users, content marketing needs to be at the centre of any SEO strategy.

Google for instance now heavily weights social sharing and link buzz, the more engaging and shareable your content is, the better your SEO rankings. Google will also heavily favour content it feels is relevant to its users, so your content has to be excellent.

5. Content Marketing Will Position Your Brand as a Leader

Producing great, useful, authentic content will position your brand as a leader in your category, pushing brand uplift and vital word-of-mouth recommendations 

The theory of content marketing is only just being realised by many brands, as CMOs move toward new ways of thinking, less advertising and sales based campaign spends, to more long term, cost effective and engaging content marketing focused strategy.

Act now and start building your content platforms, inventory and engagement streams. Content Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, it’s a long game and it will require many months of planning and strategic development.

6. Content Marketing Will Influence Consumer Decision Making 

Content marketing can influence purchase intent and decision-making. Consumers are on average 70% of the way through the sales funnel before engaging directly with a brand.

Content marketing allows you to influence decision makers well before they have made up their minds.

For example, a Roper Public Affairs study found 80% of business decision makers prefer to access company information via a series of articles over advertisements. 70% of decision makers said content marketing made them feel closer to the brand, and 60% said content marketing helped them make better purchasing decisions.

7. Content Marketing Will Feed Your Native Advertising

Great content has to find a way to its target audience. One way content can be distributed is to seed content using paid advertising products called native advertising.

This form of advertising is fast becoming the default replacement for untrustworthy banner advertising.

Native advertising is placed in a newsfeed on social media or relevant partner websites as a suggested post.

Good native advertising takes advantage of strong content marketing materials that are engaging, authentic, inspiring and educational and align with your audiences values and interests. These native ads drive your audience to your content marketing inventory and beyond.

8. Content Marketing Delivers Strong ROI

Because good content will last a long time, your investment in content marketing will remain relevant for potentially many years. This is compared to a very expensive paid advertising campaign that may only last a few weeks, days or even minutes. Moreover, great content marketing will also earn you significant ‘earned media’ whereby users and other media outlets may talk about and share your content to millions more users, potentially producing millions of dollars in free brand exposure.

Also, studies have shown that per dollar, content marketing produces 3 times more leads than SEM and costs 30% less. Source: Kapost & ELOQUA

9. Social Media Feeds On Your Content Marketing

Content forms the basis of your social media strategy, without great content, your social media platforms are worthless and people will not follow or engage with your brand on Twitter, Facebook or any other social network. Content marketing materials should always be produced with social sharing and engagement in mind and social media user behaviour should influence your content streams and strategy.

Content Marketing using social media will also deliver on user generated content, linked to positive word-of-mouth sentiment, earned media and fan/advocate community building. The rise of the hashtag as a tool to index and contextualise conversations around brands presents limitless opportunities for brands to hold engaging conversations and emotional moments with customers. 

10. Consumers Will Love You 

Great Content marketing is useful for the target audience, it aims to help, inform, inspire and entertain- Content marketing is never a sales pitch or highly disruptive.

The key is to produce great content to help your target audience achieve their goals and desires and to connect brand to individual in a meaningful, memorable way. 

Content Marketing thought leader Jay Baer calls this ‘Youtility’ – that is always placing the customer first, even if it means referring your customer to competitors or businesses that have nothing to do with your industry.

Helping your current and potential customers first, and not even thinking of selling, will build trust, word-of-mouth and deliver high quality, long term customers, advocates and super fans.

Beyond the customer first aspect, content marketing promises to turn brands into publishers, entertainers and informers.

Through Content Marketing brands like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble hope to “own a disproportionate share of popular culture” through big content ideas.

The man behind Coke’s '2020' content marketing strategy, Jonathan Mildenhall says, “we are successful when people are talking about our brands in the right way.”

This post first appeared on Hatchd's ChookFeed blog here

Ryan Northover on Twitter & Google+ 

Google