Since the dawn of the Internet, companies at every level have competed in an accelerating e-commerce arms race to secure the attention of consumers. In the beginning, obtrusive banner and text ads ruled the day. Within a few years, more sophisticated promotional avenues like AdSense rose to prominence. Nowadays, direct advertising methods have given way to far more subtle and effective tactics like content marketing. In many ways, content marketing is the future of promotion on the web.
What Is Content Marketing?
Though it’s commonly regarded as a relatively new technique, the history of modern content marketing dates back to at least the 19th century. Simply put, content marketing is a form of inbound marketing where fairly unbiased information is the primary message. Content marketing can take pretty much any form as long as it delivers value without expecting anything from recipients. If you clearly define and segment your target audiences, the content will produce conversions without having to ask for them.
Content Marketing Types & Tactics
There are hundreds of ways to package content both online and off for the purposes of marketing and just as many avenues for broadcasting it. How-to guides that show potential customers how to solve a problem are the most popular form of content marketing in use at the moment. You could write blog posts, put out infographics, upload videos to YouTube or create informative podcasts. Any form of content marketing can be potentially beneficial to a business as long as it’s branded properly.
The Numerous Benefits of Content
For the average business, content marketing confers a number of distinct advantages over more direct, in-your-face approaches. For starters, content marketing is a great way to raise awareness of a company and reinforce brand identity by achieving thought leader status. When it comes to retaining customers and increasing revenue per lead, content marketing is far more effective than one-off advertisements. Though it requires more planning and effort, content marketing yields far superior results in the long run.
The Rise of the Content Industry
When you look at recent statistics, the numbers paint a compelling picture with regards to the power of content marketing. For instance, it costs 62% less than traditional tactics and produces triple the leads. As of 2014, 73% of businesses have a dedicated content marketer in charge of executing their overall strategy. The sheer volume of free content used for marketing on the web doubles between every 9 months and 2 years at current rates.
Why Content Marketing Works
Due to its ability to efficiently segment customers, content marketing is exploding in popularity. By putting out a range of content, businesses of all sizes can attract a rainbow of leads and better manage their advertising budgets. Combined with powerful web analytics software, content enables SMBs with limited resources to punch above their weight in terms of promotional reach. Most important of all, businesses can use the feedback they gather in response to their content to guide future growth plans.
Developing a Winning Strategy
There really aren’t any hard or fast rules that govern the creation of a fruitful content strategy. Regardless, you can’t go wrong by experimenting with a variety of content marketing approaches and carefully measuring the results. At the end of the day, casting a lot of lines in the water is the only way to guarantee success. The responses of consumers to your content overtures will tell you everything you need to know about how to proceed.