Ah, content marketing. We don’t believe it’s important. If the product is good enough, the consumer will be loyal anyway, correct?
Or we know it’s important. But we believe it’s a luxury. There are more pressing, more “outcome-oriented” things to take care of instead of making a listicle.
But clients are people too. And, as people, they want to feel better about their world. That’s what relevant, useful content from your brand can offer. And when you do that, you get closer to their lives: the holy grail of all marketing.
So, why has content marketing become so big now? What’s changed? The short answer: consumers have changed. Dramatically. And in ways that affect your business:
#1 People interpret the world differently
There was a time when the dominant way to process the world was through print and TV. Then we got YouTube and Google and social media. But the digital revolution is fragmenting the way we interpret the world. Today, people process happenings through such small but no less distinct units such as memes and TikTok videos and lists. If, for instance, you’re a fitness center, a new-age consumer will connect more with your videos or memes about how clients have fun doing your routines than just your formal “advertisement”.
# 2 They create meaning in unprecedented ways
A few years ago, if you wanted to enjoy a Friday evening, you could meet a friend, go to a pub or plan a weekend getaway. Today, in addition to all that, you could just stay in, open a bottle of wine, and tune into a podcast about ‘How philosophy can heal your broken heart’ by your favorite thinker who lives in Finland. By the end of the evening, you may feel quite fulfilled and enriched. The way people create meaning in their life has changed. If we, as marketers, can enter those new channels of meaning-making, we can become a part of their lives in emotionally richer ways. Say, you’re a soft skills training firm. In addition to ads and collateral, if you made a podcast about “How to remain calm during the lockdown”, your prospects would take you more seriously.
# 3 They make decisions differently
Last year, when I wanted to go to a new restaurant I would just ask a friend who had been there. Or I might have just gone to the restaurant and taken my chances. Today, I do it differently. I can read a blog by the chef. I can read reviews online. I can scan their menu and pictures online before I even see their façade. The way we make decisions has changed dramatically. And content is a big part of that. Marketers can use content strategically to influence the decisions their customers make. For instance, if you sell healthy snacks, you could write a weekly blog, offering consumers simple but unique tips on “How to make meals healthy and interesting”. Your snack brand becomes more credible.
There are other reasons why content marketing has become so important. Like the proliferation of new technology. And the increased fragmentation in markets; in a monopoly, content may not matter much; but when you have 5 options to choose from, content can magically turn into a differentiator.
And the present time makes a very big case for content marketing. With the climate of fear and pessimism brought on by the corona virus, more people are staying indoors. This cuts them off from your brand. How do you keep the relationship warm? How do you spread positivity? Content seems to be the best way. So create with heart. And get closer to your target audience.
To know more, check out my conversation with Zoho on ‘Content Marketing and the Power of Stories in a Changing World’. View it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQoCZwDXQyk