Online publisher content is almost completely reliant on advertising – a $50 billion a year industry. However, so much of that advertising actively detracts from enjoying the content itself. We’ve gotten used to believing is the price we pay to be entertained by the Internet.
The future belongs to the companies that instead of barraging consumers to “buy us”, ask them to “trust us.” They’ll do this by replacing much of those ads with relevant, informative content that drives trackable brand awareness and trust.
Here are 5 ways that companies will leverage content to make this transition:
Storytelling, Storytelling, Storytelling: If Microsoft can create the world’s best storytelling blog, there’s hope for everyone. From their profiles of employees who double as NFL mascots to “pick-your-path quests” their blog proves that you can use stories to humanize even the most technical industries. All companies have interesting stories to tell – the companies that tell them best will prosper.
Sharing Beats Clicks: Dove’s “Mirrors‘ campaign is an excellent example of the power of distribution networks beyond cost per click. By having bloggers post the content in-feed, Dove earned 3X the paid views through the additional social shares. Companies can reap massive benefits from focusing on engagement metrics like shares and visitor retention when choosing their content and distribution.
Tying online to offline purchases: Instead of using content for only driving online purchases, the best marketers tie the online world to its offline counterpart. Mobile apps that provide in-store experiences, or show video content from successful community building events, bring these worlds together to further drive consumer activity.
Create unique experiences: When Absolut Vodka asked its 5 million social media followers to collaborate with graphic designer Rafael Grampá on a short film, it set a new standard for creating unique consumer experiences. People offered their insights, ideas, and stories and watched as Grampá turned those into a single, coherent piece of content. The Internet makes collaboration easy and allows customers to play a role in the content creation process – ensuring their experience is both unique and enjoyable.
ROI Driven Marketing: Take a full funnel approach to marketing – optimize content with the pipeline in mind. While blog posts and social media presence do a good job of reaching new leads, case studies and user success videos can push them through. Content, contrary to popular belief, is not a ‘build it and they will come’ marketing technique; instead, it should supported by other channels and be data-driven with ROI in mind throughout the entire process.
Content is one of the bright spots in an industry that has become oftentimes treacherous and spammy. It requires brands take the time to think about who could benefit from what’s being sold, and treats them like real people. The companies that leverage the world of content for engagement through creating meaningful interactions and experiences will thrive.
Alex Gold is the co-founder of Buzzstarter, a programmatic content marketing and native advertising platform.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.