by Valerie Train
To the untrained eye, content marketing can sometimes be considered just another form of advertising. Even though they both share the same end goal, the approach is much different.
In this blog we will discuss why content marketing is not considered advertising, but how it can still help generate sales.
What is Content Marketing?
As long as brands are looking for creative ways to tell their story, there will always be a need to fill empty pages on blogs and websites. If your brand were a novel, content marketing would be the pages inside.
It’s a term not so easily defined – evident by Heidi Cohen’s article “50 Marketers Define Content Marketing.” However, amongst all the definitions, one theme remains true – it’s not advertising.
Content marketing is the opposite of advertising. It’s about engaging consumers with the stuff they really want, in a way that serves your brand’s purpose and ideals, rather than just trying to jam your logo into their periphery. – Keith Blanchard
It’s not about selling, it’s about enhancing value. It leverages your brand as a source of information your audience can appreciate. It’s valuable information that supports your brand’s ideals while peaking interest in your goods or services. In contrast to advertising, customers who see it, are most likely already looking for it.
Content marketing is much more public relations than it is advertising. It’s a communication strategy that creates a symbiotic relationship between an organization and its audience. It builds brand equity which can eventually lead to more sales.
Forms of Content Marketing
Content marketing comes in many different shapes and sizes, i.e. newsletters, graphics, blogs, media coverage, white papers, videos, and social media to name a few. All of these forms share the same purpose: to inform and engage prospective clients. If your content isn’t peaking interest in your product, it isn’t being done correctly.
As a marketing and advertising agency, we focus a large amount of our own content marketing efforts on providing information about our services. We do this in the form of our newsletter, client testimonials, our blog, and our social media accounts. Because we are a B2B organization, it’s important for our audience to understand why our services will save them time and money. Ultimately that kind of information will lead to a purchase decision.
A B2C company would approach their content messaging differently. Read our blog: B2B & B2C Brand Awareness and Content Marketing for more information.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Although not as measurable as traditional advertising campaigns, here’s what content marketing can do for your business:
- Generate traffic to your website
- Position your brand as a thought or industry leader
- Increase brand awareness
- Build trust and credibility
- Help maintain positive relationships
- Lower bounce rates
All of the benefits listed above have been proven to increase sales. Valuable content + brand awareness = higher conversion rates.
Developing a Plan
Through all of this, it’s important to realize that traditional advertising is still needed, but it shouldn’t be the only tactic used. Your content marketing plan needs to compliment your marketing strategy by running cohesively. Take the time to sit down with your team and talk about the content you can produce. Look for a variety of talents both creatively and technically. There’s a good chance that your business or organization is already creating content, but the way you package it is just as important.
Keep these two questions in mind when determining a medium in which to promote your content: In order to benefit both parties, in what form should the content be presented? What message needs to be conveyed?
Treat your brand as a client and market your expertise. Write about the things you do, speak about your accomplishments and package it in a way that makes sense to your audience. If done correctly and consistently, your content marketing efforts will lead to sales.