Why Brands Should Leverage Content

It’s crowded out there. As marketers, we’ve watched the digital landscape become increasingly cluttered and competitive over the past decade, making it more and more difficult for brands to introduce themselves to new target audiences and/or encourage loyalty from current customers.

Content is the backbone of today’s smart marketing campaigns because it helps brands cut through the clutter and create more meaningful points of contact—so much so that 79% of marketers report that their organizations are shifting to branded content.

Here are a few of my top reasons why branded content should be part of your marketing mix.

People are becoming desensitized to traditional advertising. The jig is up. Your potential customers can see traditional advertising coming from a mile away, and they’re not buying. While 90% of consumers say they trust brand recommendations from friends, only 10% trust advertisements (Socialnomics). This doesn’t mean you should stop advertising altogether but rather evolve, using content to complement your traditional efforts.

There’s strength in storytelling. People love stories—it’s an innately human trait. Content offers a plethora of platforms to tell stories while subtly (or not so subtly, depending on the piece) educating potential customers about your products and brand.

People want to engage. Content offers a way to engage directly with your audience, something they crave from brands. In fact, 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (source: Custom Content Council)

Content is portable. Content allows your brand to live outside of your website and be shared by your audience. From social media promotion to web-wide content seeding, content delivers your brand to consumer at every stage of the buying cycle.

You can nurture and upsell. For existing customers, content is that gentle reminder of how awesome your brand and your products are. It’s also an opportunity to upsell—showcasing the features of the newest model or line.

Content supports your expertise. Don’t just say you’re an expert—prove it. Content offers forums for thought leadership, showing your audience you know what you’re talking about.

SEO is still important. Content is an excellent tool for enhancing search rankings and social signals. Be sure your search marketing team or your agency participates in your content creation process.

At the end of the day, it’s about the bottom line. All of this adds up to one thing—an increase in sales and growth of your brand. While content doesn’t always directly convert to sales, it’s an important part of your brand ecosystem that can add up to major $$$.

As with any marketing initiative, planning is key. Having a thoughtful, well-planned content marketing strategy that highlights your strengths as a brand is a must. Creating and posting without a strategy just adds to the clutter without delivering value to your audience.

Want to learn more about content marketing? Join us for the IHAF Huddle on Branded Content—a regional discussion group series with sessions in DC, NYC, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. For more information or to register for the IHAF Huddle nearest you, click here.

AJ Gerritson is co-founder of 451 Marketing, an IHAF member company, where he oversees the agency’s strategic direction as well as its sales and marketing efforts. 451 Marketing is a national firm focused on integrated communications campaigns that unite PR, content, and digital strategies to meet and exceed clients’ objectives.

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