Why is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing is the creation of relevant and useful branded content in one or more formats distributed across owned media, third party media and/or social media, both online and offline, to increase brand awareness, attract and engage prospects, retain existing customers, and expand thought leadership, while encouraging further action towards a sale without being promotional. Forget the loud, pushy salesman shouting “Buy, buy, buy.” Content marketing is a low-keyed sell that enables marketers to tell stories about their products, brands and companies in a way that resonates with their audiences.
Content marketing feeds social media
What’s driving the growth in social media? The answer: content marketing. Branded content tops the list of content used for social media campaigns based on research by King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta42’s 2010 Social Media Usage, Attitudes and Measurability: What Do Marketers Think? Content marketing is food for social media. Branded content fulfills social media’s need for participants to have a personality and human voice. With branded content, a product or company is more easily identified by customers and the public. On social media platforms, branded content sheds sanitized corporate-speak and sounds more authentic. In addition, it’s embellished with recognizable visual branding cues such as images, colors and typography.
While social media platforms like blogs, videos, audio and photographs integrate branded content and provide message context, other forms of social media are geared towards message distribution and communication. These social media entities need content as the basis of their exchange. In return, they help disperse content to target audiences.
5 Ws of content marketing
As a marketer, here are the five questions to ask about content marketing.
- Who is content’s target market? Note, it may not be product’s target market, but rather an influencer or other decision maker.
- What information do prospects and/or customers need? What is the best format to create/deliver information?
- Why do customers need information? This is useful to know when creating content since it can help determine the topics needed and the format of the content. Think in terms of what it helps customers do.
- When is the information needed? Is it a regular on-going column or content for a specific date or event?
- Where is the content found? Which content distribution channels are needed for information? Are these channels limited to social media?
Content marketing provides a broad set of branded information options for your company and product offering. Integrating content marketing into your overall social media marketing strategy can be particularly useful as it helps ensure that your social media marketing remains true to your brand. Further, content marketing supports the purchase process and search optimization.
Have you used content marketing? If so, was it part of your social media strategy? What did you find useful about it and what challenges did pose?
Here are some related articles that might interest you.
- How to find social media content inspiration.
- Where’s the beef in your social media content?
- Marketing Meets Branding: Why Brands Need Stories
- How to Incorporate Stories Into Your Social Media
Photo credit: 46137 via Flickr