The Insatiable Content Consumer.
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
An introduction to online content marketing.
Online content providers that offer on-demand streaming media, also referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) media service providers, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more recently Disney+ have turned anyone with an internet connection into an insatiable consumer of content. According to Meghan McAdams, (2019), VP of National Brand Sales at Tapjoy: “Over 50% of North Americans [maintain] Netflix subscriptions”.
In keeping with this cultural shift, marketers are leveraging OTT technologies, such as video, podcasts, instant messaging services and Voice Calling Platforms (VOIP) i.e. Zoom or Skype, to provide their own online content. This practise is part and parcel of Content Marketing.
What is content marketing?
According to the less formal definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content Marketing is owning, as opposed to renting media. It’s a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance consumer behaviour.” (Pulizzi, 2012).
Online owned media refers to a company website or social media channels, for example. Websites are usually content hubs, that are populated with different formats of digital content, such as blogs, webinars, and video. This content is often streamed through social media channels, to reach, convert, and retain target audiences, essentially to help meet business growth goals.
There is a plethora of different types of online content that you can create for your business. But it’s important that you choose content that is useful for your customers and package it in a way that will promote the features and benefits of your product or service in an effective way.
For example, your company may have launched an innovative technical product and you might want to sell this to a specifier or engineer. In this instance, an educational webinar or podcast may be the most accessible way to educate your customers and raise awareness of your new product. This is not to say that more traditional formats, such as a technical whitepaper wouldn’t be useful, it’s just that you may want to consider giving your audience digestible or bite-sized information before they take a deeper dive. Whitepapers tend to be lengthy and complex documents to consume.
Essentially, both formats of content present solutions to specific problems that customers are facing – they are genuinely helpful, so customers will come to know and trust your brand above others. Often this valuable content can have a higher conversion rate, as people are often willing to sign-up to access information.
Alternatively, your company may be selling a new range of trendy trainers to fashion-conscious teenagers, so perhaps the best choice of media would be a lifestyle video. Video is probably the most popular form of online media today, and it can be shared across most social media channels. It’s a very effective way of building brand awareness and increasing conversion rates.
It’s up to you to select the best format of content for your business, but what content marketing ultimately boils down to is reaching your customers in a way that engages and entertains, as well as answers their questions.
Why online content is a must-have.
Online content is beneficial for the following reasons:
Online content is quick to consume, on-demand and at the audiences’ leisure.
It introduces your brand to new audiences. If your content is popular with people, they will share it via their social accounts, mobile or word-of-mouth.
Content marketing fuels your organic search traffic. By creating unique, quality content in different formats, you’re more likely to be discovered on search engines when customers enter your targeted keywords, so you should experience an increase in organic traffic to your website.
It can enable thought-leadership, where people perceive you as an authority in your field and are thus more likely trust you and buy from you.
It drives purchases. People base their buying decisions on content, such as customer reviews and product descriptions.
They can also watch or listen to content from a broad range of devices while still enjoying the same experience. Content on a range of platforms increases the volume of purchases. Consumers now have access to an omnichannel shopping experience, using a variety of devices, especially smart phones, and tablets to make purchases.
From your customer’s point of view, they get to consume high-value, original content at low cost - often attending webinars, watching videos, or listening to podcasts for free, although more detailed or specialist content can involve a subscription.
And finally, online content is cheaper to produce. Think of the cost of putting on an international tradeshow, for example. Although your sales team may obtain leads, the actual cost per lead may be much higher in real terms.
This article is part of a series of blogs. Watch out for further articles, where I will be discussing content marketing in greater detail.