Upon hearing the term content marketing, you will probably think about the written word. For quite some time, this has been content marketing’s dominant medium, whether it is blog posts, feature articles, case studies or white papers.
But in recent years, marketers are started to expand their content offering into different areas according to the latest trends. It is difficult to ignore the power of platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, which have accelerated the use of videos and images. Furthermore, research into engagement seems to suggest that visual content is much more effective than the written word on channels like Facebook and Twitter.
However, this diversification isn’t solely concerned with appealing to as many potential customers as possible or increasing consumer interaction. It is about creating an experience.
The development of content marketing
As opposed to traditional advertising, where consumers are told what to do and what to buy, content marketing provides a useful or valuable resource. This can be an informative editorial, an entertaining video, or anything in-between, but will give the audience something they might want.
What is the purpose of this? Well, a brand will come across as helpful or enjoyable and hopefully be remembered by the consumer. In turn, this creates greater awareness of the brand, greater consideration when browsing products, and greater loyalty if a purchase is made.
But one of the main reasons why content marketing has typically been confined to the written word is because of television. With this medium, marketers were primarily concerned with 30-second commercials, which put across the benefits of a product or service and why you should buy.
Even so, content marketing was well suited to the written word, as the narrative and structure closely resembled familiar newspaper articles or magazine editorial. Then the Internet started to grow in power and influence, so this soon changed.
The advent of the Internet
Despite the fact blog posts and feature articles are still incredibly effective forms of content marketing, the expansive digital world in front of us means that words alone aren’t always enough
These days, Internet users can seek out and watch high-quality videos from their favourite blogger, which have been produced in a bedroom instead of a television studio. They also have access to informative infographics and amusing memes that haven’t been produced by a graphic designer or Photoshop wizard.
But in addition to the content, the channels on which these appear have dramatically changed as well. Along with the company website, brands must distribute their content through email newsletters, social media networks and other media outlets.
This expansive online environment also opens opportunities for content and channels of communication never previously thought possible, such as running applications and services. What does this all mean in terms of content marketing? Well, it comes back to our original point of creating experiences.
Creating experiences with content marketing
With a seemingly infinitive amount of content options available, marketing agencies need to exhibit a broad range of skills and specialities. Not long ago, a decent grasp of public relations and the ability to craft some persuasive copy would suffice.
But today, creative and imaginative writers may find themselves sharing a desk with developers that are more concerned with well-organised rationality. While these two areas of expertise might be slightly detached, they can work together to produce a branded digital experience for the consumer.
Does this still classify as content marketing? Probably not, but it isn’t an issue, because the end-user will be receiving that useful, informative or entertaining artefact they were searching for in the first place. And this is content marketing in a nutshell.
So, when it comes to devising a content strategy, businesses could hugely benefit from coming up with the position of Chief Experience Officer, who understands the objectives behind everything from distributing blog posts on social media to managing the development of a mobile app.
Redefining content marketing
Some people may argue that the term content marketing could soon become obsolete, as the tools and mediums at our disposal are much better suited to the word experience. However, it is important to recognise that every single component of an experience is an individual piece of content.
Here at Content Hero, we believe that every blog post, press release or eBook we produce does provide the user with an experience. When positioned and promoted on the right channels or marketed alongside other content materials, this experience has the potential to be even more enlightening or agreeable.
If you take anything away from this blog post, make sure it is this – Concentrate on giving prospective customers or everyday consumers an experience they will benefit from. Content is great for increasing awareness, raising reputations and boosting traffic, but if an enjoyable or informative experience is lacking, these additional advantages won’t be realised.