What Is Content Marketing and Why Do You Need It?
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Content marketing is easily among the most common types of marketing nowadays.
It's also one of the oldest, with examples going as far back as 1732, when Ben Franklin published an annual almanac to promote his printshop.
Despite that, an astonishing number of business owners still aren't sure what it is or how to do it.
That's why we decided to write a piece clearing this up today.
Here, we'll answer two questions in particular. What is content marketing and do you need it?
What Is Content Marketing?
At its simplest, content marketing is just the use of content to reach your target audience.
The type of content you use may vary. It can be anything from a blog to a short story or even a video.
Even social media marketing can be content marketing!
In the same vein, what you aim to do after reaching your audience may vary as well.
You could be marketing to them to get them to buy something, contact you, raise awareness of something, build a community, and so on.
The core itself stays the same. You use content to connect with your audience.
This should already give you a notion of how pervasive content marketing is today.
That financial trends newsletter you get from your broker? That's content marketing.
The YouTube video guide to building your own shed by the hardware store in your area? That's content marketing too.
National Geographic's never-ending stream of jaw-dropping images and videos on Instagram? Yep, you got that right - that's content marketing too!
Why You Need Content Marketing
All right, so you have an idea of what it is. Now for the next question: why do you need it?
To answer that, we need to take a look at several things.
First is the growing distaste among consumers for outbound marketing.
The Backlash Against Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing refers to any type of marketing that a consumer didn't initiate.
The classic example is the telemarketer who cold-calls you in the afternoon about a credit card promo you never asked for.
The general consensus among consumers is that these are undesirable.
They're interruptive, often feel irrelevant, and are thus seen as less effective too at building sympathy for or loyalty to a brand.
By contrast, content marketing is typically inbound marketing.
It's marketing material consumers seek or solicit themselves… because it's not overt about being marketing material.
If you Google something like "how to build a gaming PC", for instance, you may get a tutorial on it published by a computer parts shop.
That content may answer your query, but it also markets to you.
It makes you aware of the shop and its people's expertise, for a start, besides potentially showing off some of the computer parts you can buy from them.
The Multi-touch-point Consumer
Another reason you may need content marketing now is the fact that not all consumers buy what you offer immediately.
In fact, a growing number demand multiple points of contact before they buy.
That's fairly normal given certain contexts - like a pandemic or recession.
Such situations give people added reason to think before they buy.
Thus, you may well need to "touch" some consumers multiple times before they move to the final stages of your digital marketing funnel - closer to purchase or conversion.
Content marketing can play a serious part in that.
In many cases, it can build up trust in your brand, for example. This can lead prospects closer to your conversion point (the moment when they decide to buy from you).
Wrapping It Up: Is Content Marketing for You?
Now you should have an idea of what content marketing is and why brands do it.
Is it for you? Well we think just about any brand can benefit from it when it's done right! It's great at boosting brand visibility, encouraging trust in your authority, promoting your products or services, and more!
If you want to try content marketing for your own brand, you're in luck! We're doing a series next on how to get started with content marketing. You can follow that to start your own content marketing campaign.
If you want to get started immediately, though, you can also just reach out to us. Contact us and we can draw up a content marketing plan for you!