With 27 million pieces of content shared via social media per day, it’s unsurprising that content marketing has emerged as 2015’s “most important digital marketing trend”. Instead of attracting audiences through catchy but shallow ads, big brands have shifted their focus to retaining them with substantive content. Even Coca Cola, the mastermind of landmark “Thanks, Mean Joe” and polar bear Christmas commercials, now spends more money on content development than TV advertising (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xffOCZYX6F8). Recent surveys confirm this change: 55% of B2B companies will increase their content marketing spending this year.
The logic behind content marketing is pretty straightforward. Companies succeed by satisfying their customers. When customers read insightful articles, see a visually pleasing infographic, or watch entertaining videos, they are satisfied. Through social media, marketers can now provide pleasing customer experiences several times per day.
But although content marketing centers primarily on customer needs, content marketing serves companies as well. First, the process of pitching ideas, writing content, and evaluating results keeps marketers attuned to customer needs. By comparing web traffic of different posts, marketers can hone in on the most popular topics and guarantee widespread interest in their posts. Content marketing creates more relationships by aiding search engine optimization. Essentially, if a company’s content contains relevant keywords and trends, it will appear in more online searches and generate more leads. Indeed, B2B companies experience a 67% increase in leads when they create content.
Better yet, content marketing adds substance and depth to existing relationships. Because it’s not directly related to sales, it builds more natural relationships between company and consumer. Instead of viewing the company as a “the one with the Doritos ad”, they perceive it as a font of information, source of entertainment, or provider of value. Through their content, marketers inspire brand loyalty and advocacy among its followers.
Because each piece of content reflects directly upon the company, content marketing functions as a powerful branding tool. Compelling content enhances the brand’s credibility among consumers, as 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that shares custom content. This boost in brand image can engender similar sales bumps, as 64% of people weigh brand experience more heavily than price when reviewing products.
These striking results in mind, it makes sense that 91% of B2B companies currently use content marketing. Content certainly plays a driving role in Morningstar’s own social media activity. Every day we tweet at least four Morningstar website articles about personal finance, specific funds, macroeconomic developments, and more. Our LinkedIn posts regularly features in-depth analyses from Morningstar magazine articles as well. This connects financial professionals with key insights from Morningstar researchers, as well as other notable industry leaders.
Content marketing requires boundless creativity, constant market research, and smooth communication between departments. When done properly, though, content marketing proves that it literally pays to give people what they like.