Many businesses misunderstand what content marketing entails, and it could be losing them customer loyalty and sales.
With the news that Facebook will effectively block business posts from this year, businesses will need to employ new means of attracting and engaging with customers.
Content marketing may be the answer.
“Content marketing is all about creating different forms of content, be it video, podcasts, long-form articles, infographics … as opposed to your traditional banners,” explained Jo Cronolly of Spike Native Network.
“It’s a way where you can really engage with your audience … on an intellectual level and also on an emotional level to gain a larger audience and, at the end of the day, sell more products or services to them.”
As Ms Cronolly’s colleague Tim Johnson noted, content marketing is designed to position you and your business as subject matter experts or thought leaders, to educate audiences about an issue, and then to demonstrate how your business can provide a solution to the customer’s needs in relation to this issue.
“The sales side is completely separate to the content side and the marketing side of it,” he said.
“Probably the best example I can give you is Coca-Cola. With Coke, what are the ads you see? There's no ad that says ‘Buy Coke’. It's just not out there. The way Coke is marketed is as a lifestyle. You see people running around on the beach, and there are beach balls and you name it,” said Mr Johnson.
“The summer of Coke, whatever it is, is always about a lifestyle, about what you become, who you can be, if you're drinking Coke. That's not a sales pitch, that's framing Coke as a lifestyle – something you want to be a part of.”
According to Jo Cronolly, another good example of content marketing is accounting software company Xero.
“Xero is a media company as well. They have thousands of videos about how to run your business,” she said.
“They don't necessarily sell Xero products. [Their content marketing is about] everything from your website to your SEO to all different technical aspects of it. They're trying to add value and help their clients. The back end of it is that they will get sales eventually, further down the line.”
This article was first published in My Business on 24 January 2018. You can hear more insights from Jo Cronolly and Tim Johnson about content marketing and how SMEs can use it to boost their bottom line on the My Business podcast.
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