Marketers Respond to Why They Use Content Marketing
Why use content marketing?
In a world where content marketing is part of 90% of marketer’s plans and people spend an average of 10.7 hours a day with content, this would seem like a no-brainer question to answer.
7 Reasons to use content marketing
Here are 7 reasons that answer the question: why use content marketing. They hold for both businesses and solopreneurs.
- Build your brand. Content marketing enables you to show your 360° brand through the use of text, images, video and audio.
- Attract prospects and customers. Research shows that customers don’t trust advertising. Content marketing eliminates the sell, sell, sell that makes your promotions sound like a used car salesman.
- Provide information shoppers need before they’ll buy. Both B2C and B2B customers do their homework online before purchasing. Therefore, you must provide the information they seek to enter the consideration set. This means product content, answers to customer questions, how-to’s, styling (especially for clothes, makeup and home décor), and ratings and reviews. If you don’t supply this content, someone else will.
- Aid post-purchase product use. Many marketers underestimate the value of this type of information in supporting your sales efforts. While you’ve made the first sale, if your customer can’t use your product, they’ll either return it or not buy from you again.
- Support search optimization. Content is critical to a strong search optimization strategy (aka SEO).
- Feed social media engagement. Social media feeds on content marketing. Therefore, make sure that your content is easy-to-share and optimized to attract members active on different platforms.
- Establish your reputation. Content, especially in the form of a blog, is a great way to establish your brand by providing information that shows your knowledge of a particular niche.
Why use content marketing? 7 marketers respond
Here is why 7 real life content marketers use content marketing in their work. They were asked: Why do you use content marketing, how do you use it, and what got you started using content marketing?
1. While I’d written ad copy, white papers and advertorials for over 15 years, my first foray into a multi-channel content marketing strategy was to promote the energy-saving benefits of GE’s CFL line, we created “Project Plant-a-Bulb,” a content program to educate consumers, teachers and children about saving energy.
We placed videos, how-to articles, interactive tools and school curricula on the campaign’s landing page hub, which was promoted through paid and earned media. Also we also conducted school events where brand spokesmen shared energy-saving information and planted flower bulbs on school grounds.
“Project Plant-a-Bulb” yielded significant results. Thousands of teacher downloaded CFL-based lesson plans and hundreds of thousands of unique visitors to the website.
Now, I plan and execute content marketing strategies that build positive brand equity, bolster credibility, generate qualified, educated leads, and elevate value perception. Jackie Bebenroth – Principal, Muse Content Group
2. I use content marketing as a way to define my brand, build credibility with existing and prospective clients, and raise my profile among my target market. I started using content marketing years ago before I had heard of the term. I provided financial education workshops at local employers.
More recently, I launched a blog, The Bridge, where I discuss financial planning and lifestyle issues facing people 50 to 65. Stephanie Sammons of Wired Advisor got me started. She suggested using a blog to establish myself as a thought leader in my field. It was the push I needed to launch my blog. Mike Branch, CFP® – Focus Financial
3. Working at an integrated creative agency as a social media specialist, my role overlaps with several others due to the need for good quality content, a key element of inbound marketing. Since inbound marketing leads cost 61% less than outbound leads, content marketing is a no-brainer.
In broad terms we use the content to add value to our visitors and to educate them – not necessarily just about the specific product, but also about relevant subjects. For example, one client has a sports recovery device, a product that has no real equivalents on the market. We offer general tips to help our audience improve their sports performance. We offer specialist information that’s of interest and value to our target audience.
I’ve no idea when I started using content marketing because I started before I even knew what it was. I’m 24-years-old borderline digital native. Therefore, I’ve been using the Internet to share content for as long as I can remember. I got into the marketing field by promoting my writing and music online, often by providing unique content to other, relevant websites. Dane Cobain - fst the Group
4. Fortune and glory. In other words, there are two reasons to use content marketing:
- To drive leads that grow our business.
- To build our reputation as thought leaders in our industry, specifically website development.
We do the typical blogging and newsletter publishing. Our email frequency is bi-weekly. Since people only hire a web designer every few years, sending a newsletter a few times per month is fine. And the lower frequency lets us go deeper in the content. We recently published a 2500-word guide on how to generate leads. The goal is to go overboard on quality and create content that is memorable and ranks high. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media Studios and author of Content Chemistry.
5. I’ve practiced content marketing throughout my career; we just didn’t have a great label for it 15 years ago.
From small business to not-for-profit organizations to Fortune 500 companies, I’ve worked under the premise that providing your current and potential customers with useful information is the best way to start building the trust and the relationship with them that will influence them to do business with you.
My first content marketing project was supporting the San Francisco wholesale furniture biannual tradeshow. In addition to nuts and bolts information about the show, I created fun guides highlighting where to eat and what to see and do near the conference. Erika Heald – Content Marketing Consultant, EH Communications
6. Content marketing gives brands the power to design their image or re-shape current messaging. Your content is a reflection of your internal knowledge, responsibilities, innovation and potential.
At PR 20/20, we began using content marketing as the core of comprehensive campaigns from its inception in 2005, thanks to founder and CEO Paul Roetzer. We use content marketing to showcase industry expertise, provide answers to timely questions, and, in the long run, build a trustworthy brand reputation. By offering in-depth research, blog posts and e-books, we strive to provide valuable resources and to start intelligent conversations industry-wide.
Formally, I began using content marketing in 2012 when I assumed my role as associate consultant with the agency. However, I also utilized content marketing in my previous role as journalist. It may not have been deemed content marketing at the time, but certain promotional pieces certainly align with content marketing principles. Sandie Young - Associate Consultant, PR 20/20
7. I use content marketing because stories make connections through emotion since people are less likely to forget an emotion and, as a result, they’re less likely to forget you and your business.
As a consultant, it’s important to share a variety of information to establish my expertise and introduce me to my audience. In addition to blogging, I share relevant articles and information of interest to my audience via Facebook , Twitter and Google+. I try to create unique information streams on each social network so that people who follow me on multiple platforms aren’t seeing the same content during the day. Kim Yuhl, KimYuhl.com
As this diverse group of marketers shows, content marketing is important to support your overall business and marketing goals without the usual promotion, not only to build your brand and establish expertise but also, to help nurture sales. Another theme was that content marketing doesn’t exist by itself. It’s integrated with other forms of marketing.
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that most of the respondents had done some form of content marketing or journalism before the term was popular. Big hat tip to Joe Pulizzi, CEO of Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Marketing, for promoting the term.
How would you answer the questions: Why do you use content marketing, how do you use it, and what got you started using content marketing?
PS–I want to thank the contributors to this post for taking the time to share their thoughts and input.
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According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
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