Two important keys to marketing a brand are consistency and making an emotional connection. Your brand needs to be consistent so that it delivers the same message and customers feel you’re a company they can trust. The emotional connection includes the associations your brand makes in a customer’s mind.

A brand connects on an emotional level when it makes the customer’s life easier, it makes them safer, it lets them be who they are, it’s part of their family, and so on. You establish this emotional connection by solving a specific problem your customer faces.

For businesses that leverage the power of digital marketing, content is very important. Often, before your customers consider or buy your products, they have consumed some of your content that helped them identify or solve a problem.  

So, what exactly is content marketing? 

You can find many definitions online, but here’s one from the Content Marketing Institute that sums up quite well what content marketing is about:

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

We typically think of content as written, such as articles, blog posts, and reports. However, the definition is much broader than this. There is visual content in the form of photographs, images, infographics, graphs, and charts. Multimedia content includes videos, audios, interactive slideshows, and online presentations. Even social media posts such as Facebook updates and

tweets are considered content. Content is basically any kind of media online or offline that conveys a message or ideas.

The idea behind content marketing is to create and distribute content that engages your audience and leads them to take action. 

Why Care About Content Marketing?

So, why should you care about content marketing? Is it even relevant to your business as a marketing strategy? Well, it isn’t just a passing fad. It’s how we primarily consume information now.

The shift to content marketing is a response to the changing ways in which we get information in our society. In the old days, media channels were limited and big advertisers dominated. A consumer sat in front of the TV and, during commercial breaks, they had to endure whatever commercials were shown.

Today, all of our media is on demand. We can skip the commercials. Online, we can go straight to the website, video, or article that we want. In-your-face promotional content can be skipped over (and often is). Instead, you need to provide something that your audience will choose to consume, and it should be something they choose over another competitor’s content. 

You can think of it as push vs. pull: traditional marketing pushed customers to make a buying decision. It was an aggressive tactic. Today, we try to pull customers in with content that interests and engages them.  We want to inspire them, educate them and entertain them. These goals will build loyalty and trust.   

Simply look to top brands in any industry today. Major brands, that have massive, loyal followings are investing more of their marketing resources in content. 

The data also shows that this shift is happening and at an increasing rate. According to research by U.K. firm ContentPlus:

  • Companies that provide a steady stream of fresh content via their blogs get 97% more inbound links to their site, a huge SEO boost
  • Blog content is 63% more likely than traditional marketing to influence purchase decisions
  • 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through articles rather than advertisements
  • 60% of consumers have positive feelings towards a company after reading content on its website or blog

Interesting content is one of the top three reasons given in customer surveys when explaining why people follow brands on social media.

Finally, you should care about content marketing because it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional marketing methods. Content marketing requires less investment to execute successfully than most advertising strategies. It does require a significant investment of time, but it’s a great way for a small business, without a large advertising budget, to gain a loyal customer base. The costs involved in content marketing are a drop in the bucket compared to advertising costs.