Content marketing is one of the most ingenious ways of building a customer base. But lately things appear to be backfiring. People have started becoming cynical and suspicious of brands that appear in editorials. They believe that there such brands have the ulterior motive of manipulating them into buying their product(s). These interpretations are too negative, which is why content marketing is losing its credibility amongst content consumers.
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But does that mean that content marketing is dying? No. Content marketing by itself is not a bad technique, but content marketing done badly is a bad technique.
Here are a few tips to help you improve your content marketing:
It’s not always about the product
Consumers don’t consume content to buy your product. They consume content because it engages or entertains them. Marketers just need to associate themselves with the content represents their product. You don’t need to literally ask people to buy your product in the body of your content. Rather, your content should depict the ideology of your brand. People consuming and liking such content will automatically associate themselves with the brand!
For example, John Deere’s magazine, The Furrow, actually helps farmers with their techniques. It doesn’t ask them to buy John Deere, it talks about good farming. So when farmers associate themselves with such content, they automatically start associating themselves with John Deere.
Make it mutual
If the content is a vehicle for you to increase your sales, it should provide a solution to the consumer’s issue as well. The content should act as a middleman – a link between the market and the consumer. For instance, Hipmunk is a travel booking website that publishes helpful blogs for travellers. These blogs are informative and generate curiosity. This strategy provides answers to the helpless travellers, and at the same time, the marketer gets to associate themselves with the solution to the issue. At the end of the day, the marketer turns out to be a messiah, without being obnoxious about it!
Apt associations are a must
Marketers have to be very specific and accurate about the content they choose to market through. It has to be something that reflects the ideology of the brand, and very importantly, something that connects with the target group of the brand. For example, people who want to reduce their weight do not wish to trust the written word. Rather, they need to see a person doing those exercises and they need to see, visually, the results of such exercises. Enter Kayla Itsines’s blog. This Adelaide-based fitness instructor’s blog is a perfect example of how a marketer should associate themselves with the right medium.
Be simple and concise
If your content is boring, people are not going to consume it. They will hate you for wasting their time. And no, they won’t buy your product. It is the age of the digital, attention spans are low, and video content attracts people more. Pay attention to such trends; they tell you that people are always on the move, browsing the content on their smartphones. So give them something they consume while they stand in the lift or while they wait for their restaurant order to arrive. The more confused you are, the longer your content will be. Crisp content is the best content.
The biggest problem for content marketing today is that it is losing trust in the eyes of the consumer. The longer an article, the more manipulative it seems. Keep it small and simple.
Content marketing is not advertising. It does not mean pushing your product in the customer’s face. It involves creation of trust, associating yourself with the content that your target group likes to consume. The results of content marketing might not be as immediate as that of advertising, but they are definitely more long-lasting. It is a practice that should not be discontinued. People think that content marketing is manipulation. No, that does not make content marketing wrong; that is just wrong content marketing. Rather, it is a tool that brings the consumer and the marketer closer when the latter addresses the former’s grievances and needs.
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