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Danielle Antosz

The "Why" of Content Marketing

Danielle Antosz
The "Why" of Content Marketing

Last month, my car window fell into my car door. Pushing the window control resulted in all sorts of grinding. Awesome. Being the do-it-myself type (and also cheap), I headed to YouTube to figure out what broke and how to fix it. My search quickly let me to a video published by an auto parts website. A few clicks, and I knew how to replace my window regulator and was able to order the part.

That is content marketing done right.

The company provided me with valuable information that I needed. When I went to buy the part, I trusted them to provide me with a good part so I could use their video to fix my car window. (Granted, it was harder than I thought it would be to repair, but I did it.)

Most online marketers have been told content marketing works. It’s the new favorite buzzword. You’ve likely read the studies and even have a content strategy in place. So why does the "why"’ of content marketing matter?

Marketing today requires putting ourselves in our audience’s chair to produce useful content that people want to read and engage with. Understanding how the consumer/brand relationship has changed over the last few years is vital to developing really good content that makes people actually want to interact with your brand, share your content, and hopefully give you their hard-earned money.

Out With the Old

Old marketing tactics included brow beating and subversion. Do you want to be loved and well-liked? Use our perfume. Want to feel fulfilled in your life? Use our soap. Buy, buy, buy. These types of marketing tactics no longer work. But why?

The relationship between consumers and the companies they give their money to has shifted. Understanding that shift is vital to creating content that your audience wants to read, watch, and share. Instead of seeking customers out via traditional marketing channels (radio, newspapers, etc.) and blasting them with ads, brands must provide value and build trust.

Lack of Trust

Consumers no longer trust businesses to have their best interest at heart; they no longer trust businesses to be honest in their advertising.

In the 1940s, for example, people trusted Levi’s brand to produce high-quality, American-made jeans. Their ads reflected that with pictures of cowboys and cute girls. Copy like “Levi’s…the real thing” and “Rugged as the men who wear them” actually worked — they sold tons of jeans.

Today, consumers can see through the “Buy our product and be attractive/fulfilled/happy” facade. (Old Spice actually does a really good job on putting a tongue-in-cheek twist on this old strategy.)

People Expect More

Today’s consumers want more than to feel fulfilled or pretty (although they want that, too). People want organic, they want safe ingredients, they want brands that don’t outsource their production to China. Consumers also want solutions, value, and information. The conversation has changed.

This is where content marketing comes in. Building trust between consumer and brands requires information. Free, valuable information that solves a problem. Not constant pitches.

Building Trust is the Why of Content Marketing

Content marketing requires building a two-way conversation and earning the attention of consumers, versus brow beating them with “Buy Now!”. Providing value builds trust and leads to more conversions, conversations, and connections. No matter how much money you spend on ads, you can’t buy trust. You have to build it. Content marketing is how you build that trust.

Applying Trust Building to Your Content Marketing Strategy

Understanding why content marketing has become popular will help you build a more effective content strategy. Before you hit "publish," ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is our audience?
  • What problem does this help my audience solve?
  • Am I talking at my audience or starting a conversation?
  • Will my audience find this information valuable?

If you can honestly answer yes, then you are doing content marketing right. If not, it's time to change your approach.

Image credit: Morguefile

Danielle Antosz is the copy editor for Search Engine Journal and a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Florida, where she spends her days writing, editing, planning her next trip, and proselytizing the importance of the Oxford comma.

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