Content marketing is a controversial, new and expanding field of marketing, which more and more businesses are becoming interested in. Companies like HomeServe have created entire online community sites, which don’t directly sell anything. These sites, operating like online magazines, have articles and posts about topics that may not be obviously related to the products the company sells. So what is the benefit?
Traditional advertising channels and ways of finding new customers are losing their value. Magazine and newspaper sales have dropped, directories like Yellow Pages and Thompson have become slimmer and slimmer, and TV habits have changed beyond recognition in many households. Potential customers may simply not see your product or service any more.
Companies are looking for new ways to create relationships with customers that will encourage them to associate their name with a wide range of positive attributes. The concept of thought leadership is becoming more central to marketing strategies as a link to brand awareness. Depending on the nature of your business, create a landing page or site which draws potential customers in and brings them back, may be the new way to generate leads.
But there is wide disagreement about the measurable value of content marketing like this with some traditional marketeers writing it off entirely as nothing more than online direct mail. And they may be right; it might not need its own name. But it seems like it could provide a conduit for companies to start reaching new customers on the net.
Clients want to be able to directly link the value of content to an increase in profits by tracking consumer interaction. Specialist companies are available who can measure a range of data: page views, click-through, likes, site visibility, SEO, and conversion rates amongst others. But none of this can tell you how much value that particular blog article has added or how much profit it generated.
To see the variety of possibilities, think of Paddy Power’s irreverent Tweets, Joe Wicks 30-second meal videos that took Facebook by storm early last year, and articles on sites like Mental Floss. They connect company names to content consumers want. You can call it Content Marketing or advertising. It doesn’t matter. What is clear is that when you directly connect your brand to entertaining engaging content, you increase the chances of that customer thinking of you when they need that service.