Content marketing continues to serve as a key marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Those businesses that make a commitment to provide informative and useful content build a stronger bond with their target audiences, leading to greater sales and enhanced profits.
Why? “Content marketing works because if people trust you when the time comes around that they need your product, they’ll think of your company first,” notes marketing expert Brian Sutter. “That’s all content marketing buys for you: Familiarity and trust.”
Online content takes a wide array of forms, including:
- White papers
- Blog posts
All of these forms of content can serve as vehicles for the messaging you wish to get across to your customers. The key is creating content that offers value and meaning, not unabashed self-promotion.
Here’s a look at content marketing trends for 2017 that can benefit your company’s marketing and sales efforts:
Authenticity works. As noted, blatant efforts at boosting your business will invariably fail to connect with your chosen audience. Instead, people respond to authenticity—for example, stories of the challenges and solutions you encounter in your efforts to improve your services or products.
“Today, everyone feels entitled to a behind-the-scenes look at things,” notes Small Business Trends. “We want to see the final product AND how it was made.” Visitors to your site or social media platform are interested in your brand’s history and commitment to social responsibility, as well as how your product or service will solve their problems or enhance their lives.
Video offers a different way to tell your story. Increasingly, marketing departments and others charged with communicating with the public see the benefits of repurposing posted content into video form.
Obviously, not everyone responds the same way to the written word. Look for opportunities to retell your story—or provide valuable “how-to” information through video—that resonates with prospects and customers who like to see, rather than read. Videos of employee events and tradeshow demonstrations, for example, provide that appealing behind-the-scenes perspective. So do video customer testimonials.
Not convinced? Look at these compelling statistics:
- More than 60% of users who watch a video are more likely to make an online purchase.
- Placing a video on a landing page can boost conversion rates by 80%.
- Nearly 100% of B2B companies employ video in their marketing campaigns.
There are two companies locally in Dublin who are well worth looking into in this area. If you are seeking to empower your staff to produce better quality quick videos from their HD phones or consumer HD cameras, The Courtyard Studio has a new online course designed specifically for marketing staff to create better video content for your business. If you want a more professional job, they will do that too. The second is company Brightspark-Consulting who have a social media training course online so that you can keep your staff up to date in this rapidly changing space. Maryrose Lyons who leads Brightspark is the most knowledgeable and experienced all-rounder in this area that I know.
Influencer marketing remains strong. The power of influencers—prominent bloggers, social media personalities, and industry thought leaders—continues to be a driving force in the arena of content marketing. If your brand becomes associated with these individuals, you gain access to a potentially huge audience (and prospective customers).
If you aren’t already doing so, research figures affiliated with your industry and reach out to them via their social media platforms. Create content that includes links to their sites and invites them to contribute to your platforms as well.
Enlist the resources and creativity of your entire organisation. In many businesses, the responsibility for marketing resides solely in the marketing department. But some companies are beginning to leverage the creative potential that exists throughout the entire organisation.
“It is simply not possible to streamline your content strategy if individual teams are working in isolated silos,” notes serial entrepreneur Marcela De Vivo. Not only does this open up new ideas for future content, employing this strategy means that “businesses large and small can ensure every employee understands the business’s goals and is working towards the same end.”