By Emily Pietras

Why Content Marketing Matters for Your Brand

A few days before this year’s U.S Open Tennis Championships began, Nike released a one-minute video on its Instagram and Twitter accounts. The spot starts with home footage of a 9-year-old Serena Williams being coached by her father, Richard, who tells her to imagine during practice that she is competing at the U.S. Open. His words of encouragement and motivation are constant throughout the spot, which cuts between the old footage and present-day highlights of Williams, indeed, competing at the U.S. Open, a tournament she has won a remarkable six times in her storied career.

The video (which, by the way, you should definitely watch) ends with a simple message: “It’s only crazy until you do it,” which then fades into Nike’s famous tagline, “Just do it.” As of this writing, the video has garnered 9.4 million views, 28,000 shares, and 80,000 likes on Twitter and another 6.9 million views on Instagram. Even for a big-name brand like Nike, that’s a lot of eyeballs. (We’ll save the latest “Just Do It” campaign for another blog post.)

But here’s the catch: While this is undoubtedly an advertisement for Nike, nowhere in the video will you find the company asking you to purchase any product. Because the point of the clip isn’t to sell you something (in this case, shoes and sportswear). It’s to make you feel something… inspired, motivated, driven. That’s the essence of the Nike brand. That’s what they stand for.

The Williams clip is an example of effective content marketing. We’re often asked what content marketing is and why today’s brands need it as part of their overall marketing strategy, especially in the digital age.

While there are various ways to define it, the root of content marketing is to communicate the story of a brand in a compelling, engaging manner throughout the entire sales cycle — to first build awareness and interest among prospects and then convert them into customers and brand advocates. Content marketing is the ongoing process of producing and sharing valuable, relevant information about a brand to attract and retain a defined target audience, rather than just pushing products and services.

This can be done in countless ways:

  • The written word (via social media content, blogs and articles, ebooks, white papers, email newsletters, etc.)
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

Why is content marketing important?

For starters, the simple fact is that your competitors are already using content marketing and reaping its many benefits. According to recent studies from The Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. And 60% of B2C and 56% of B2B organizations reported that they were either extremely or very committed to content marketing.

A report from Demand Metric reveals that 78% of chief marketing officers believe custom content is the future of marketing. And, based on the above numbers, the future is actually right now.

So how can content marketing help your brand?

  • Build and strengthen trust and legitimacy
  • Raise brand exposure and awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Engage and attract prospects, turning them into customers
  • Increase conversion and sales
  • Secure customer loyalty and create ambassadors for your products or services

Long gone are the days when brochures, direct mailings, or print advertisements alone were enough to effectively market your brand. They do have their place, but according to The Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands annual study, a whopping 84% of people today expect brands to deliver content that “entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences and events.” So if your brand is not doing this now, then you’re already failing to meet the needs, wants, and expectations of a large chunk of your potential customers.

Content marketing is essential for brands to remain relevant in a customer-centric market that requires brands to form meaningful connections with their audiences. People don’t want to be sold to; they want to engage in an ongoing dialogue with brands that can understand their needs and challenges and provide solutions. In other words, it’s a conversation, not a lecture.

An effective content marketing strategy will help your brand tell its unique story and define what it stands for while creating immersive experiences that will engage your target audiences, convert new customers, and maintain an ongoing relationship that boosts brand loyalty and advocacy.

Evaluating clicks, likes, shares, views, and comments on your content as well as utilizing more advanced analytics tools employed by marketing and advertising firms can help reveal what type of messaging resonates most effectively with your customer base. This information will help you create a more accurate customer profile and further develop additional, more personal content that will appeal to and resonate with your target audience.

Learn more about why content marketing is critical to your business

We’d love to hear your story and learn about your brand — and the specific goals and objectives for the short and long term. Perhaps we can help. Contact Annalynn Barnett at annalynn@fuelingbrands.com or call 864-627-1676.