When free-to-air television came unto the scene, no one was bothered by the intermittent commercials that came along with regular programming. The concept of television commercials in itself was novel therefore commercial was widely welcomed.
Most TV viewers saw commercials as part as the TV viewing process. Companies on the other hand sold products and established brands by showing adverts through the mass media/marketing approach. This approach is also apparent in other media channels such as radio and newspaper.
For a long time, the mass marketing playbook has been straightforward; companies purchase 30-second slots on to run ads that are intrusive and take away from the media experience. If the advertising content is entertaining enough, the target audience then catch on might sing along with the tunes of these commercials.
Fast forward to 2018 where media consumption is highly diversified and disintegrated presenting a fresh challenge to marketers and advertisers.
The internet has democratized media to the extent where every single individual with an internet connection is a media channel in their own right. Streaming channels such as Iroko TV, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube Red, Vimeo etc also abound.
As traditional media continues to become saturated with incessant and often at times irrelevant commercials, people are looking for ways to enjoy their media experience without intrusive advertising and they are willing to pay for it. This explains the increase in growth of streaming channels. The average internet media consumer is also weary of ads, therefore installing various ad blockers on their operating systems.
The growth of media powered by the internet has also brought about a whole new challenge for marketers which is how to market to internet audiences in a non-intrusive manner. Free streaming sites such as YouTube presents options for adverts that can be skipped after viewing the first few seconds. YouTube has a company has created systems for viewers to present information about the type of ads they prefer to see. YouTube serves targeted ads based on people’s search history and results.
Facebook is also prioritizing content from friends and family leaving little room for advertisers for their products to be seen even if their pages have thousands or millions of followers.
The challenge for marketers is creating advertising content that is useful and compelling enough for targeted audiences themselves to view and promote.
That is what the art of Content Marketing solves.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Content Marketing to the rescue
Content Marketing ranges in many froms, from videos, audio, podcast, infographics, whitepaper etc.
I was about to watch a video on YouTube on time and a 5-minute Addidas documentary of soccer star Dele Ali popped up, I watched the video till the end. Interestingly, the documentary was longer than the actual video I wanted to watch
Although the documentary is eventually about the Adidas brand, it highlights the struggles and challenges that a young soccer star had to overcome to be where he is today. This mini documentary threw the adidas brand into a whole new light. Serving engaging content whiles promoting your brand.
Consider this scenario,
You need a marketing consultant to work with you on your business. You have found 2 legible consultants Abigail & John.
Writes engaging and creative content about Marketing and sales for her audiences on her website, has work sheets, plans etc you can download for free. Has a free eBook that teaches you how to market without a budget.
John has a website which lists the services he provides with their associated cost and contact details.
If you were to select between these 2 consultants, my guess is you will go in for Abigail. This is because she’s gone the extra mile to help you better understand her field and how her services can be of help to you. That is what content marketing is all about.
If content marketing is beneficial and targeted, why don’t a lot more companies engage in it?
A few things you should know about content marketing
Content Marketing can be tricky
A lot of marketers and business owners know the benefits of content marketing but they just won’t do it. This can be attributed to how seemingly time consuming and difficult content marketing can be. For marketers and some companies, they believe content marketing can be a hit or miss so they will rather stay clear and continue with mass advertising. Imagine spending time and money into something that does not fly.
Why you need a plan
Content Marketing Efforts must be high quality so the frequency can be spaced out, for example, writing a whitepaper every week can be overbearing. Hence creating content, monthly, bi-monthly or even quarterly (depending on the energy & finances) goes a long way.
Quality over quantity
No compromise on quality when it comes to content marketing efforts. Creating one quality infographic that will be shared extensively once a month is better than creating an infographic that does not get leverage at all.
Content marketing may seem daunting but the earlier you start the easier it becomes, chances are that it will work for you. Creating quality content should not be the purview of large established companies with lots of money in the bank, it works if you’re dedicated to the craft and are willing to go all the way to see that customers get value out of your product even before they purchase it.
Content Marketing Works
Finding a niche spot only you can play in. If you have noticed, big brands are gradually moving away from mass media adverting to telling the story of their products using real people with real experiences.
Next article on this page will discuss setting up a content marketing initiative for yourself, your side hustle or your company.
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