Content marketing, also known as brand journalism is an emerging discipline that has exploded over the past few years thanks to digital and connective media.
Organizations like Coca-Cola, HSBC and Whole Foods are becoming publishers in their own right and engaging with their target audiences by creating and sharing rich content through their owned channels.
As with most trends, there is a tendency to question whether content marketing is a temporary PR craze or a genuine shift in what really drives customer interest.
Here are a few customer-focused reasons why content marketing is here to stay:
- People enjoy stories. It’s in our DNA – we want to hear interesting, funny and engaging stories about the brands and organizations we like. In fact, we often appreciate good stories even if we are not fans or users of a particular product or service. Content marketing favors storytelling. It allows brands to find interesting angles surrounding their offerings and share them with their target customers.
- There is too much noise. Audiences are inundated with messages and sales pitches. Using a brand journalism approach is less aggressive. Instead of flooding customers with facts and figures about your brand, it gives you an outlet to share valuable or entertaining content that resembles what one might see in their favourite newspaper.
- Audiences want to engage and share. Content marketing has staying power because it is in line with the natural human tendency to learn, question and converse. If you create cool content for your customers, they’ll share it with their friends on social media and become broadcasting towers for your brand.
- Consumers associate positively with organizations that produce custom content. According to the Custom Content Council 61% of consumers feel better about, and are more likely to purchase from a company that delivers custom content. Also, 78% of consumers believe that organizations that produce such content are making an effort to build good relationships (source: TMG Custom Media).
- People want to make informed decisions. Content marketing can be used to showcase your product or service by providing customers with useful information, stories and anecdotes related to it. Sharing links, videos, best practices, third-party recommendations and curated content about your brand provides customers with the juice they need to make an informed decision.
Bottom line: content marketing is not going anywhere. As long as organizations continue to listen to and engage with their audiences, evaluate their content strategy and adjust accordingly, this is one trend that will stick around for the long haul.
A version of this article also appeared on PR Daily.