Content marketing has taken off as brands move away from traditional advertising in order to embrace a more social, engaging way to connect with consumers in order to nurture brand loyalty and awareness.
Content marketing is based on the idea of creating, curating and most importantly, publishing and sharing original content. In today’s information obsessed online communities this branch of digital marketing is rapidly growing as people increasingly realise the power of branded content.
Despite its success, the idea behind creating a content-focused strategy is still relatively new. According to a recent study conducted by Outbrain and Econsultancy, a minority of people, along with 13% of agencies worldwide, are already defining content marketing strategies.
However, 55% of in-house marketing specialists said they were planning a content marketing strategy in the near future, as did 58% of agencies. That left just eight percent of the former and 29% of the latter without any content marketing plans for the future. Clearly, this new way of thinking about marketing is more than a trend and something your brand should be investing effort and time in.
Effective types of content marketing
The two most effective mediums through which brands are able to conduct content marketing are undoubtedly email newsletters and social media platforms as they provide the best possible conduit for sharing content with online communities.
The study mentioned above also found that in-house marketing strategists were most likely to plan an increase in Twitter and Facebook usage, at 90% and 81%, respectively, to distribute content, making the social platforms the most popular channels for sharing and promotion.
The absolute majority agreed that content marketing was “key to creating an emotional connection with customers”. Essentially, there has been a definite shift towards brands becoming more and more like publishers.
With platforms such as blogs, multiple social media networks and of course their own website at their disposal, brands are able to push content out without ever having to work with the media or press as such.
Visual content marketing
Content in this instance can refer to a variety of content ranging from articles to videos or static images. However, a buzz word that’s been doing the rounds lately is visual content marketing — which focuses on all aspects of design, font and images.
The internet is becoming increasingly fascinated with visual imagery — as crystal clear displays and retina screens become more common and the popularity of photo sharing sites such as Pinterest peaks.
Even social networks which were heretofore mostly text-based are embracing the trend, with posts on Facebook and Twitter consisting of more images than ever before.
People and brands alike are now experimenting with visual content marketing by making arresting images the centre of both their email and their social media campaigns. This trend is likely to continue as time-starved consumers increasingly prefer strong, communicative images rather than wordy copy.
Content marketing and SEO
Content marketing is almost directly aligned with search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, the two practices are so closely linked that most white hat SEOs these days rely almost entirely on a branded content marketing strategy rather than any actual ‘tweaking’ of the system.
The process of content production, publication and sharing is one which actively builds links and generates traffic to brands’ websites and blogs. As more users gain exposure to the content, so the likelihood increases that they might share it — thus creating more inbound links which ultimately benefits a site’s page rank within the search results.