Consumers are bombarded by as many as 2,900 marketing messages a day. With this much advertising surrounding them, they are likely to become blind and deaf to all the same billboards and the same commercials that they see and hear again and again just on their way to work every day. For this reason, experts say that about half of the $240 billion spent on advertising spent every year just in the United States is wasted.
This can be a major source of frustration for marketing professionals who must think that there’s got to be a better way to capture and keep an audience’s attention for longer than the 30 seconds of a radio commercial. That’s where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing revolves around the concept of publishing articles, videos, and podcasts that include interesting and relevant information for an audience and establish the expertise of a company’s staff. It’s based on the idea that potential customers may not need new VPN services like those offered by NordVPN right this minute, but might for ways to secure their online presence outside of VPNs. They could run across an article titled “Old Unused Online Accounts Pose a Real Threat to Users.” When they do decide to try VPN, they may remember later that NordVPN’s experts made an excellent point that their forgotten MySpace account could pose a security risk.
Forms of Content Marketing
Article marketing amounts to placing articles on other websites that are relevant to the company’s industry. A company that creates products in the men’s lifestyle and fashion industries might place an article on NextLuxury, for instance. These articles are different from product reviews because they are rarely directly about the products or services that the company sells. Rather, they feature relevant content that establishes the expertise of the company and its staff.
Product reviews and features are most common for showcasing specific products that the company would like to sell. This tends to be most popular for affiliate marketers who work with blogs that earn a percentage of sales.
Podcasts, Videos, and TV Channels: Mainstream media outlets like CNN and TV shows like the Seth Meyers-hosted “Late Night” are always looking for new interviewees for their shows. Even smaller local TV stations and podcasts might be willing to feature a local business that has some significant news, such as one recording studio in Lakeland, Florida, at which the violin part of some tracks for Taylor Swift’s latest Emmy Award-winning album was recorded.
Infographics are popular with companies who want their target audience to be able to absorb information with a glance. The plus side of using infographics is that they tend to be very visual content rather than just a wall of text. One of the downsides, however, is that they often come in the form of an image file, which makes their text uncrawlable by search engines’ “spiders.”
Social Media might seem like yesterday’s news at times. Many people are tuning out of Facebook and Twitter because they are unsatisfied by these social media outlets’ alleged censorship and poor algorithms. However, they can still be a good way to reach the audience that already follows a company on the big social media accounts.
You are already familiar with press releases, which are useful for spreading news about a company quickly. The challenge here is that the major news media outlets are inundated with press releases, so it can be a challenge to make yours stand out while still making it possible for their recipients to grasp the important details quickly. (A lot of online outlets, of course, will usually just throw them up on their sites with only a minimum of editing.)
Uses for Content Marketing
Establish a company’s expertise. You may know that the specialists in your company are good at what they do, but do they have expertise that can make them stand out in the field? Content marketing gives them a chance to showcase that expertise in ways that can get potential customers’ attention and establish the company’s reputation for being a helpful one even when they don’t spend the money right this second.
Call attention to a cool new product or idea. Many of the guests on late night talk shows are plugging new movies, music albums, and books. I’ve interviewed people like Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society and author of The Case for Mars, about his ideas for crewed journeys to Mars for my YouTube channel. These talk shows, podcasts, and YouTube channels want content and you want to promote your stuff. It’s a win-win situation.
Have some fun. Elon Musk seemed to have fun during his recent guest hosting slot on SNL, in which he plugged the meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin and promoted Tesla’s electric vehicles in front of an audience of millions. He certainly did not mind looking ridiculous in front of an audience while doing it. That’s the kind of fun that people like to see even when the CEO of a big company like Tesla might not be universally popular.
Stay relevant with your audience. Content marketing gives companies a chance to show that they’re still fresh and relevant in a world that can change fast. This can take constant effort, but lets your audience know that the company is still up on the latest in its industry.
Do You Have to Spend a Lot of Money on Content Marketing?
Depending on your market strategy, you may not necessarily have to. Just start contacting podcasts that are relevant to your company’s industry and have a good pitch that isn’t just selling your company’s product. While many podcasts and YouTube channel owners might be willing to do the occasional sponsored feature, they’d as soon talk about how to train employees to combat cybersecurity threats that involve “social engineering” tactics or the importance of phasing out the use of fossil fuels.
Some Cost Factors to Consider:
- Are you willing to write the article yourself, or pay someone to do it? Doing the article in-house may be your best option if you’re looking to save some money, though it’s a matter of finding an expert who has both the time and the writing talent to produce a quality article. Finding a quality writer who can produce a unique article for you can be somewhat pricey, depending on what you want. Product reviews are pretty cheap; an in-depth article on advanced topics in your field is likely to be pretty expensive due to the additional time that a content writer might require to research it.
- How big of an audience do you want to reach? Some sites like NextLuxury claim to be able to reach millions of people through organic web traffic every month. Naturally, the higher the average audience, the higher the possible marketing costs will be.
- Are you willing to pay a single up-front fee or a percentage of sales? Under the right conditions, the up-front fee can be fairly cost-effective, though you definitely want to pay attention to the site’s target audience to make certain that you’re reaching the audience you want. An affiliate marketing program can get you across a wider spectrum of sites with varying levels of traffic without much more than having an easy way for them to sign up for it because they may like the idea of earning a percentage of sales while they work on building their traffic levels.
- Are you willing to provide the content? If you go with affiliate marketing, bloggers will pick and choose the products that they want to feature and decide what to say about them. This may sound like a good deal — almost free labor — but comes with the risk of giving up control of your brand and which products actually get featured. On the flip side, quality content can get fairly pricey by itself and many smaller companies might not like to produce more than a few articles, infographics, or videos every year.
The bottom line is that content marketing is one of the best ways to get noticed in an environment where consumers are getting bombarded with marketing messages. It can establish your expertise in a way that consumers will remember, especially if you can make it relevant and interesting.