One only needs to look at the algorithm updates from search engines—Google in particular—to understand that there’s an imperative for good content. But like everything else in business, good isn’t enough—you need to land the value-add if you want to capture customers who are becoming more and more loyal to their needs in the moment instead of particular brands. In content marketing, that’s where quality, content rich experiences come in. They’re the inevitable result of how content marketing has changed advertising forever.
What it boils down to is this: The proliferation of the internet means that consumers worldwide have access to a wealth of information. Most are doing their research long before they even approach the brand itself, especially if you’re expecting them to talk to salespeople. The customer experience is the new king, and consumers expect to be targeted, engaged, entertained, and educated the way they want across multiple mediums and on their own schedule. Interruptive advertising will eventually die as consumers embrace ad blockers alongside harmonious, native advertising. They’re still responsive to traditional advertising but are simultaneously embracing new avenues of receiving information, from social media to developing technologies like interactive video.
After all, 90% of consumers say content has an effect on their purchasing decisions, and in fact, shoppers who view video content related to a brand or product are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase. Content’s influence can be seen in the improved success of loyalty programs through gamification or in the way that customers will engage with branded social media in order to find or gain access to exclusive coupons. In today’s post, we’ll talk about how content has changed the way we advertise, which is to say, how you should be growing your advertising tactics to capitalize on these changes.
Rich Content Experience
When you build a brick-and-mortar store, a lot of thought goes into the atmosphere and brand persona. With content, even more than site design, this must be the same. This is because the consumer doesn’t differentiate between online and offline experiences of your brand, and they expect your content to be accessible in store. In fact, they’re expecting a multimedia experience in-store and online. Content no longer means your blog post, after all—consumers want unboxing and how-to videos, 360° product graphics, and new ways to interact with brand representatives, ambassadors, and experts.
Your brand shouldn’t be producing content simply to stay relevant in search results, although that is imperative. Fresh, multimedia content also better positions your brand as a thought leader that’s worth engaging with and shopping with. Consumers engaging with your brand are more likely to be loyal, and they’re more likely to seek out new ways to continue this engagement.
How Advertising Should Change
Bring multimedia experiences into the brick-and-mortar store and enable those experiences to feed back into the digital space. An example: Offer demo videos in store, but also host exclusive in-store events, and make it easy for your customers to share multimedia content about your brand. This will help you synchronize your channels while also differentiating channel experiences. In essence, you want to entertain them while aiding them in their purchasing decision.
Content Across the Consumer Journey
If you’re confused by that statement—the consumer journey is extremely fragmented after all—consider this: the consumer journey may not be the straight line it used to be, but stages of that consumer journey remain. Micro-moments are the new battleground, and the path to winning that battle ground is content. Fresh content keeps you at the top of results, and meeting the customer need in the moment is important over everything else.
How Advertising Should Change
While it’s important to create things according to the traditional funnel to purchase, it’s important to boost conversions according to where the customer is on their journey, i.e., the personalization of each moment is important in conjunction with the understanding that other customers in different stages are capable of influencing them. Furthermore, you must remember that 73% of online consumers are tired of being exposed to irrelevant content. Creating content that can exist at different stages of the consumer journey means that you can win those micro-moments for what they are.
Value Worth Sharing
The competition for rich content is stiff and consumer patience can be quite short, so it’s becoming more and more important to win points on the consumer journey on the basis of value. Your search ranking isn’t going to matter if you don’t provide value, and ranking well without providing the customer with the content and quality they were looking for will only serve to hurt your brand reputation. Conversely, providing that quality gets consumer attention, especially if you make it easy and obvious for your audience to share that content.
But what does “value” really mean? You’ll have to look to your customers and market research for exact answers. However, it’s fair to frame it this way: are you answering customer questions, and are you doing it in a way that is meaningful, authentic, or offers emotional resonance?
How Advertising Should Change
Your content needs to help the customer make a decision without literally pushing them to make that decision. Content should help position the customer in such a way that your goals and their goals align, drawing them to your brand as the obvious solution. It should nurture and inspire, not interrupt with a blatant or even rude attempt to persuade them.
It should also lend itself to the device that they’re using. More than being simply mobile-friendly, content needs to add value to the consumer experience, which means it ought to lend itself to interaction, including micro-interactions, which are actions small enough that customers don’t actively think about them, but which engage them with your brand in a positive way. Be frictionless, but be memorable and interesting.
Now that you have an idea about how content marketing has changed advertising, you can take a fresh look at your marketing strategy. Find the places where you can add value for your customers, improve their experiences across the board, and your brand will see that much more success.