But don’t let the hype dissuade you from understanding why this form of marketing is so powerful.
Content Marketing is a broad category that has come to include all manner of approaches. And while the value of paid, sponsored or promoted content marketing is debatable, that’s not today’s debate. Instead, let’s just cover why one certain approach to content marketing is so much more effective than advertising.
A Barrage of Advertisements
Did you know that the average American living in a city sees an estimated 5,000 advertisements, logos and marketing messages per day? I don’t know the stat for those living in the suburbs or more rural areas, but I’d imagine it’s less than 5,000 but likely more than 1,000. Even still, that’s a lot of paid placements.
How many of those do we actually remember? More importantly perhaps, how many of those are we influenced by? Simply seeing a logo or ad is often only enough to raise awareness. But with so many of these messages per day, and not a single one being sought out, how likely are we to welcome the influence of these advertisements?
More so, any time an ad blocking or skipping technology emerges, it is embraced. We don’t know what we’d do without our DVR, not because we’d miss our shows but because we’d have to watch them with commercials.
Content Marketing: A Welcomed Message
Content Marketing, in the context of this article, is narrowly defined. We’re not discussing advertorials, or sponsored posts, or any other pay-to-play scenario. What we mean by content marketing is this: the creation of content, that is made available for free, with the intention to provide valuable information, opinions, or entertainment to a targeted audience.
This content is often found via search engines or through social outposts that the company or individual uses.
As people browse their Home Streams and Newsfeeds, they see headlines, images or videos that catch their eye. They can then choose to click the link, which leads them to arrive on the company’s site, blog or other social outpost. This is distinctly different from seeing an advertisement above a urinal at a stadium.
On other occasions people will be actively searching for information:”How do I fix a clogged drain?” In those cases, all they want is the answer to their problem. Creating content that answers your customer’s questions, is a fantastic way to begin earning their trust.
The truth is, that with all of the paid placements, the constant barrage of advertisements, and the overwhelming amount of noise “out there,” content marketing–when done properly–is one of the most effective ways to capture the attention and interest of you target customer/audience. Few people on earth like to “be sold” but virtually everyone likes to find things that match their interests or that provides value at the point of need.
Long Term Value
Advertising stops once you stop paying, content lives on “forever…” or until it ceases to be relevant.
Let’s say you have an accounting firm.
You buy an ad for 3 months at Citizen’s Bank park. You’re hoping that someone that needs accounting will be at Citizen’s Bank Park, actually pay attention enough to see your ad, write down or remember the name, contact you and become a client. You have little idea how effective it is because ads like that are inherently untrackable. At the end of 3 months, the ad stops.
By contrast, your accounting firm could put out 5 different blog posts dealing with 5 very specific tax and accounting issues that Philadelphia small businesses are struggling to manage. In this scenario, you can track where people are coming from, and you know that if they arrive at the article that they have some interest in the topic. Based on the structure of the page and the calls to action, you can even potentially get them to call you right after reading the article. You’re providing a valuable solution for someone that needs it.
Which do you think is a better way to attract the right customer?
Think About It
Don’t take my word for it, but please try this on… What are YOU most influenced by?
What ad has caused you to buy, try or switch products or services?
Now try to think about a company that provided you with something valuable, and then think about how you felt about that company after they solved your problem?
Content Marketing builds trust, Advertisements typically do not. Refocus your budget around solving problems and earning attention, instead of buying visibility.