In the mid-to-late 20th century, when advertisers wanted to sell consumers on their clients’ soap, clothing, or washing machine, they had limited choices. They created a pitch or campaign, and sent it out into the realm of radio, television, and magazines—where captive audiences awaited.
Today, in a world where DVR allows TV viewers to fast forward through commercials, and where more people get their news from Facebook than from newspapers, the landscape has changed.
Enter content marketing, the new way of delivering a brand’s message, and the one that is definitely here to stay. Bloggers are touting the benefits of their favorite lipstick to their thousands of followers, while olive oil brands are launching YouTube-exclusive campaigns (check out how Bertolli is getting women excited about their product here) and using blogs to promote them.
In the new world of media, where anyone can have an influence and an audience, content marketing is key. It means communicating with your customers, not pitching them. Informing them, not selling them. The most successful brands are realizing this and benefiting greatly from it. In fact, according to an article in Fast Company, in 2013, content marketing is the leading strategy for 35% of global marketers.
So what are the ways these content marketing whiz-kids are doing it? Here are just a few of the most successful techniques:
• They view content marketing as a mindset, not a tactic. It’s an ever-present focus that evolves, changes, and grows by the minute.
• They make their brands human. They are not self-promoting; they are having playful, fun, thought-provoking conversations.
• They are informing consumers. They are giving them useful information and showing their value in the process.
• They listen. They read conversations and feedback, engage with their customers, and create relationships. They change when the consumers demand it.
In a competitive landscape where the rules have changed and everyone is ready to play by them, you have to ask yourself: Can I afford not to?