“What is it you do, again?”
I get asked this question at every family gathering and nearly every time my husband attempts to introduce me at a work function. My typical response is a kind smile and a short, “I write” response.
But this isn’t enough. I get a sideways glance asking me to offer more than two words. So, I oblige and say, “I’m a content creator, which means I write posts for businesses to publish on their blogs, websites, and other external media outlets.”
Now I’ve really confused them.
Most people have never heard of content writing. They don’t understand why intelligent businessmen and women would pay to have someone write blog posts.
What they don’t know is that content marketing touches their lives every single day. In many cases, it’s in a meaningful, memorable way. They just don’t have a name for it.
It isn’t as obvious as radio, television, or pop-up ad marketing, but the magic is in its subtleties. It’s in the “How-to” guide for getting their three-year-old to eat the recommended servings of vegetables. Maybe it’s the “5 Ways to Buy the Perfect Christmas Gift” guide they saved to a Pinterest board. For some, it’s the post on LinkedIn that offered top business tips that helped them land a new client, forever changing their career.
Content marketing allows for these touching, personal, and powerful moments between consumers and companies. Because of this, there’s no longer a distinct, overly-wide gap between business leaders and their targeted consumers.
The good news — it’s working. In fact, in a 2017 Technavio report, experts estimated that the content marketing industry would be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.
To fully reap the rewards of this growing strategy, marketing pros and business leaders must understand what it’s doing to effectively bridge the gap between companies and their consumers. Here are five ways it’s doing just that:
1. A variety of consumers are easily reached
Content marketing allows leaders to reach out and touch the lives of both current and potential customers. Whether they’re novices in a specific area or experts, content marketing gives an outlet to easily connect with both.
Arguably more important than educational level, leaders can talk to consumers who are at various emotional stages. Rather than a large, one-note commercial campaign, they can share various pieces of content that reach people who need to laugh, cry, or feel connected to something bigger.
As people move through their emotions, they can move through the content that speaks most to them at the moment.
2. Consumers feel seen and heard
Today, though, content marketing is breaking down the walls of ‘want.’ Marketers are no longer advertising at consumers. Instead, they’re listening to their concerns and seeing their problems first-hand. Marketing, as a result, has become consumer-focused.
Today’s world of marketing looks incredibly different than the one we knew just 10 years ago. In the past, marketing pros would assume what consumers wanted to hear, see, and feel. Each advertising tool was then used to draw people further into the sales funnel.
Content marketing pushes consumer-focused marketing strategies to a whole new level. Businesses can now offer direct solutions that will help their target buyers, even if they don’t immediately purchase their product.
Consumers feel less pressure to buy products and are more willing to trust and respect companies. This gives company leaders the opportunity to build longer-lasting relationships with more dedicated customers.
3. Companies are sharing their passions and their people
Content marketing has created a space where leaders are free to share their own and their employees’ personal journeys. With articles and social media posts, they can offer a glimpse inside their lives and share a moment of sympathy or empathy with consumers around the world. With each new story, and new reader, the connection between companies and consumers is more solidified.
We’re seeing more and more companies that brand their culture around leaders and employees, rather than models, actors, and sports stars. That’s because the typical consumer relates more to an employee who realized their dream or the company leader who focuses more on improving the environment than their own bottom line.