Content marketing, or inbound marketing as it's also frequently called, seems to be all the rage lately, but the concept is nothing new. In this blog post, we'll cover what exactly content marketing is, and why it can help you grow your brand or business. Especially if your target audience includes millennials, having a content marketing strategy is worth the consideration.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and and sharing content to attract, engage with, and retain an audience, ultimately driving sales or an end goal you want your audience to take. Content is often described as videos, photos, blog posts, e-books, captions, infographics, etc. shared online, whether it be through your owned platforms (e-mail, website, blog) or shared ones (social media, influencer networks, media outlets).
This may sound new, but it's not. For anyone who has studied or practiced any form of journalism or media, storytelling is a concept as old as time, but the times are changing. In the past, brands, businesses, institutions, and corporations had to rely on traditional media outlets to tell their story, but with the rise of social media came the decline of traditional media. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, about 40% of all Americans now get their news online.
If your target audience is in the age range of 18-49, roughly 50% of them are getting their information online. What does that mean for your brand or business? It means you cannot ignore the internet when reaching and retaining your current and potential consumers. In fact, brand-consumer engagement online has become increasingly expected. A recent NewsCred study found that 27% of consumers say low-quality/infrequently published content would lead them to believe that a brand is out of touch or not up to date with customer habits.
From that research, we can take away this generalization: nearly a third of consumers are expecting high-quality, frequently published content from brands.
Content builds loyalty
Another recent study by NewsCred found content marketing to be one of the most effective tactics for fostering trust and loyalty among millennial consumers. According to the study, 62% of the people surveyed felt that online content drives their loyalty to a brand. The only factors more important for fostering loyalty were product quality and brand recognition, and even so, content marketing can help with the latter!
What the study also found is it's not necessarily the quantity of content but the quality of content being created that most attracts and retains an audience. Quality content is related to a quality product, and quality content gets noticed and shared more -- both of which are of benefit to your brand in helping grow relationships with your consumers.
How to create quality content
I think the most important step to take in creating content of quality is finding your why. Your "why" is your beat. The good news is that if you are already running or part of a business, you already know your why, which is likely embedded into your vision or mission statement. (If you don't know your why, it's important to give it some thought.) Creating content really comes down to sharing the story of your why in ways that benefit or educates an audience so they see the value of that content and want more of it.
The medium of how you share that content should be up to you. While research shows that video is the increasingly becoming the most viewed content type online (YouTube is the second most visited website in the world!), not everyone has the time or the budget to produce quality video content. Different types of content is ideal, but start with one, like a blog, that feels most natural and easy to maintain. (The great thing about sharing different types of content is you or your marketer can analyze which types perform best.)
If you're reading this and thinking, "that sounds great, but I don't have time to commit to creating and sharing content," I completely understand. In fact, we often hear that even from companies with marketing teams. Even when content creation and sharing has been part of my full-time job descriptions, there still never feels like enough time to be able to do it all -- but you don't have to if you plan appropriately. What I've learned that has been a game changer for me along the way is developing an editorial content calendar. Just as you would plan your product launches, meetings, sales goals, and more, planning out your content in advance is another strategy for reaching your business objectives. Make time to plan for it, or hire someone you trust who can assist you with the planning process (you can learn about FACTEUR's content marketing services here). Planning can help you with brainstorming content ideas for your "why" and align you brand with bigger opportunities, as well as save you time in the long-run since you can often re-use and re-post that content.
But maybe you're excited to create the content and want to get started right away; you just need some ideas on content to create. We spent some time this spring developing four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & stage, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course).
If you don't see a content calendar specific to your industry, let us know in the comments if you'd like to see one for your industry as we're currently planning on developing our next set of calendars we'll be releasing. If you're looking for a content marketing strategy specific to your business or brand, we can help with that, too.
We truly believe and research indicates (as noted above) that content creation and marketing are definitely worthy of consideration when growing your brand or business online. We hope this information and our resources are helpful. Sign up for our monthly email below to get more tips and ideas delivered straight to your inbox. And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss how FACTEUR can help you and your business with content marketing, PR, social media, and digital creative services.