Digital content is a rapidly evolving area of marketing that's an effective and affordable way for SMEs with smaller budgets to engage with customers.
Essentially, it involves the creation and distribution of online media to help generate leads, acquire new customers and maintain repeat business. The content can come in a wide range of different formats including blogs, news articles, whitepapers, video, infographics, ebooks, photos, Q&A articles and more.
Why do we need content marketing?
Consumers are increasingly rejecting more traditional forms of marketing in favour of something more sophisticated in terms of how brands engage with them. We know when we're being sold to, and with our dependence on the internet for research and information, we expect to see engaging and relevant content before giving away our loyalty. This is heavily influencing how brands now approach marketing.
How to make it a success
Content marketing should now be an essential element of most marketing strategies, giving SMEs the opportunity to explore and create different types of media themselves. This is could be blogs written by employees and business contacts, or even films of customer success stories. To help promote and distribute the content, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide a powerful channel to existing customers, potential customers, investors and even the media.
There’s generally thought to be an art to content marketing - the key is to communicate with customers without selling to them. But since businesses want to ultimately sell, it's a tricky balance.
Content marketing is also known as ‘non-interruption’ marketing, which means that instead of delving into why your product is so amazing and needs to be purchased right now, you’re delivering information that respects your buyers’ intelligence in the hope that in return, you’ll be rewarded with their business and brand loyalty.
It works for businesses of all sizes so for inspiration take a look at what the bigger brands are doing. Sign up to customer newsletters, subscribe to YouTube channels, and follow organisations such as the Content Marketing Institute.
The future of content marketing
Content marketing has quickly become one of the most successful ways to market your brand – as long as you do it right. Done the correct way - with strategy behind it - businesses are able to engage with customers by offering something new and valuable.
With digital technology becoming more accessible for SMEs and a wealth of talented specialists available to produce high qulity content, there really is no reason not to invest in content marketing.