What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “content marketing?” A blog write-up? Social media posts? A thought-advocacy piece?
Well, all certainly fit the definition of “content.” But “content marketing” is something more.
Specifically, it refers to how we use our content to attract and retain our audiences. And it has become an extreme area of focus for modern marketers seeking to win in an increasingly digital landscape.
Content Marketing in a Changing Landscape
Content marketing isn’t new. Companies, churches, governments – just about any entity with a story to tell has told it through the production and distribution of content. However, what has changed is how we think about the role of content in creating connected customer experiences.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate.
- Thirty years ago, when someone was in the market for a new car, their journey to purchase looked much different than it does today. They might see a television ad, head to their local dealership, take a test drive, and then have to negotiate hard to get a good deal.
- Today, that same person may also be prompted to action by a TV ad, but that first action isn’t going to be a trip to the dealership. It’ll be a web search for ratings, reviews, reports, cost of ownership figures, average prices paid, dealerships nearby, and more. Some savvy customers might even search for articles and videos about how to negotiate with car dealers!
In other words, buying journeys are longer and more complex than they were 30 years ago. That’s as true in the B2C space as in the B2B space. Marketers have to work harder to capture and keep their audience’s attention. One way to do so? Through content marketing.
Content Marketing and the Customer Experience
The beauty of content is its ability to make an impact at every stage of the customer experience.
Whether your customer is just starting their buying journey, in the consideration stage, or has already made a purchase, you can create content to address every touchpoint. And, if you’re strategic about it, you can create content that enables a connected experience.
Let’s look at the above scenario again with an example of how a car dealership could use content to enable the path to purchase (and possibly draw that potential car buyer in as a customer).
- When potential buyers search for ratings and reviews, they might find a piece of topically-relevant content you created in their organic search listings (e.g., an article with a video). If the article title and description align, they may click through.
- Now, let’s say they read the article, which positively influences their disposition towards buying the vehicle in question. But they still want to know about the total cost of ownership.
- Rather than navigating away from your site, maybe you’ve included that next step within the article (e.g., a cost of ownership infographic).
- Armed with the article’s information and the cost of ownership infographic, they are seriously considering buying this car. But they still want to know what people are paying for it on average.
- To accommodate the need, you might place that average figure on the same webpage and link to cars in your inventory selling below that price. And those connected touchpoints may just prompt an inquiry.
Now, that’s a specific, niche example. But you get the point.
Content can inform, but, more importantly, when structured appropriately through a strategic content marketing lens, it can drive customer action by creating connected experiences.
Want to learn more about content and how you can use it to impact your customer experiences?
We’ve only scratched the surface here! If you’re curious about how you can build a high-performing content marketing machine, need help creating content, or just want to talk, drop us a line or call us at (440) 283-5004.