In an era where consumers prefer to receive their information of their own volition through channels like search and social media, traditional marketing tactics can sometimes feel too obvious or just plain pushy. Gone are the days when marketers could bombard consumers with information in the hopes of converting a few individuals into loyal customers. Modern consumers are weary of these types of heavy-handed marketing efforts and can spot them from a mile away. How can you try to genuinely engage and connect with new and existing customers in this communication landscape? Or even better, what if your customers actually looked forward to your marketing instead of dreading it? That’s where content marketing comes in. 

What exactly is content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Translation: Content marketing involves creating and curating valuable, informative content with the intention of influencing consumer behavior. Best used as a fully integrated part of your marketing strategy, content marketing focuses on owning media, not renting it.

How and why does content marketing work?

Simply put, content marketing has more to do with what consumers really want than traditional marketing strategies. As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, once said, “your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs.” Traditional marketing revolves around actively trying to sell products or services to consumers, making the focus of the narrative the business and not the consumer. Content marketing revolves around sharing useful information and letting your customers do what they will with the information they receive, which allows you to treat your audience like smart, informed consumers. This strategy is non-interruption marketing at its best; it’s all about attracting, engaging, informing, and helping customers without getting in their way.

For some great examples of these concepts in action, look no further than General Electric. Innovation is in General Electric’s DNA, so it’s no surprise that the manufacturing and engineering company pushes boundaries with its content marketing. GE’s Pinterest account is full of high-quality curated content that simultaneously caters to the platform’s audience while subtly promoting its own products. For example, the company has curated a food and recipe pin board, which also includes appliances and equipment that GE manufactures. On the opposite end of the spectrum, GE recently released a wildly successful sci-fi podcast that nods to the company’s growing interest in sound technology. In both of these examples, General Electric succeeds by putting the focus on its customers while subtly promoting its products, services, and core messages.

What are some of the benefits of content marketing?

One of the best things about content marketing is that it allows businesses to connect with their customers in an organic way. Content marketing creates opportunities for customers to become familiar with your brand. The more content you have, the more opportunities your existing and potential customers have to get to know you. Consistently providing relevant, engaging content to your customers can help frame your business as an authority in its industry, which can both breed trust and improve your brand’s reputation.

Think your business can’t benefit from content marketing because of the industry in which you operate? Think again. Any business in any industry can use content as a powerful marketing strategy. Even B2B businesses in traditionally “boring” industries can benefit from creating content that provides insight into industry trends and news.

Content marketing is one of the most practical and effective marketing strategies available to marketers today. While this strategy is trending at the moment, it most certainly is not just a fad — in fact, content marketing has been around for decades. For example, John Deere has been publishing a customer magazine called The Furrow since 1895. The popular magazine is one of the earliest examples of content marketing; The Furrow aims to educate farmers on new tools and technologies, not just promote the brand’s own products. John Deere’s century-old content marketing strategy has certainly withstood the test of time and yielded impressive results for the iconic company. Like with John Deere, content marketing can help your business create leads, gain visibility, increase conversion potential, enhance SEO, grow sales and so much more. It can create, foster, expand and strengthen relationships with your customers in ways traditional marketing tactics would not achieve. No matter what your goals are, content marketing is sure to be an asset to your overall marketing strategy.

Interested in developing a content marketing strategy for your business? We can help! Contact Roop & Co. at (216) 902-3800 or info@roopco.com.