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Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content Marketing’s basic premise is to “provide some valuable information or entertainment – “content” – that stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence a customer in some way.” This information can be presented in a variety of media, including text, video, Q&A’s, photos, etc.
Content Marketing has steadily risen in popularity with marketers. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, over 90% of Business-to-Business (B2B) and 86% of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) markers use one or more methods of Content Marketing , including social media, eNewsletters, and articles on a company website.
By embedding information that refers to the Brand, often with a “brought to you by” message, persuasion occurs because the media consumer’s experience with the content is positive, and so becomes associated with a positive experience with a Brand.
Other forms of advertising, particularly online, may be intrusive. One study notes that 61% respondents noted that banner ads “distract them and take them away from what they are doing” , in addition to fears of spam, viruses, or simply receiving content that is not engaging.
Content Marketing provides an alternative to intrusive advertisements by offering branded content endemic to a users browsing experience. By intertwining the content with a brand’s equity, users are engaged by and create a positive correlation experience with the Brand, making them more likely to purchase the Brand.
Another advantage of Content Marketing is that the Millennial Generation (the largest, currently composed of 1.8 billion people) has expectations of media that are often better met by Content Marketing than by traditional advertising. In an Edelman Survey, 8 in 10 millennials expect brands to entertain them, while 31% expect brands to create “online content, such as videos, photos, games, and blogs”
Because The Web has democratized access to publishing (Wikipedia a case in point), and computers have democratized the creation of content, anyone can create content and publish it online. This creates a large diversity of content quality online.
In the domain of commercial content, normally created to support advertising, content is developed by publishers etc. Content is referred to as “original” by its publisher if the publisher created it or paid for its creation. A related trend is Curation, in which content is selected from one place, and put onto another. The downstream publisher may or may not have explicit rights to use the curated content.
In the ad industry, before content is created or sourced, an advertiser and its agencies work together to coordinate which content will align to brand equity and identify the intended audience. Ad agencies will work with the brand to develop the overall creative strategy for the advertising campaign, while media agencies (like Carat, OMD, and Razorfish) will be tasked with implementing those initiatives across multiple media.
In commercial advertising, content creation is executed by editors, or an editorial process for print media, and much of online media. For video, directors supervise the content creation.
Once content is created, it must be published. Clearly the intent is to attract an audience to the content. A content creator thinks of publishers as distributors. The overall intent is to connect content with its intended audience. There are various means to do this:
Search Engines: Google, Bing, and AOL are three premier search engines which people use to find content. Search Agencies are intimately familiar with such sites, and enhance a brand or content's SEO to be optimized on these sites.
Content Sharing Tools: Different from Social Platforms, content sharing tools are explicitly utilized to share and promote existing content. Pinterest, Yelp, and Pixable are all tools which aggregate and promote content sharing.
Media: Media can be purchased which directs users of one publisher to content appearing on another publisher. Also, content can be placed directly in to Media units, such as display advertising.
Syndication: This is the process of putting the same content on multiple sites, destinations or platforms.
The following examples demonstrate early use of content to disseminate information about a brand, and build a brand's reputation:
1895 - John Deere launches their magazine, The Furrow, providing information to farmers on how to become more profitable. The magazine, considered the first custom publication, is a success and is still in circulation today, reaching 1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages.
1900 – Published in France, Michelin develops the Michelin guides, offering drivers information on auto maintenance, accommodations, and other travel tips. 35,000 copies were distributed for free in this first edition. Eventually, the company began selling these books, yet the publication set a precedent for both informative guides and content marketing distribution.
The effectiveness of Content Marketing is determined through a variety of quantifiable measures, most of which are used to asses the value of advertising generally. These include traffic, time on site, brand equity surveys, etc.
Would an effective and consistent Content Marketing program provide Car Dealers with the impact required to reduce their dealership advertising cost Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR)? The following…Continue
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