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Understanding the Business Case for Content Marketing

Content is a powerful traffic generating tool for any online business - especially retailers. We often see whole marketing and sales strategies built around it, which is why you’ll hear more and more about content marketing this year. That said, content marketing is seldom viewed in isolation. It intersects with lots of other common digital marketing channels such as social media but it’s biggest impact is possibly on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) efforts.

The business case for content marketing that engages an influential consumer segment

Leaving the assisted marketing channels aside for the time being, the born again power of content as a marketing tool applies even in its most basic form, written digital content. The popularity of this content is ironic given its powers of persuasion over the tech savvy, modern day millennial consumer audience. This generation demographic (current 20-36 year olds) are the highest online retail spenders and the most frequent online shoppers. The reason that even the most basic style of content is so persuasive to this audience goes hand in hand with their comfort and understanding of technology and online.

This audience has grown up in a time of quick internet access and easy access to the best technology and devices. As a result, however powerful and innovative online advertising becomes, this generation can spot an ad a mile away. As an audience, millennials have become resilient to many online advertising formats and have a reduced degree of brand trust. Direct from brand advertising just doesn’t resonate the way it may have with previous generations. This is where the humble written article or blog post can save the day.

This big online spender group likes to challenge everything and build their own opinions – a process often facilitated via peer reviews, social media, and their own discovery. Long form content, consumer reviews and 3rd party positive referencing all provide a less direct ad ‘salesy’ manner for discovery. Aside from the other benefits we will mention, content marketing therefore provides a platform for consumer discovery and positive opinion forming outside of direct advertising.

What should you do?

A full spectrum approach is required here. It’s vital to ensure your own assets such as your brand website and blog publish quality content, written for your consumers, on a regular basis. This owned content then forms the perfect base for social seeding. By posting each blog you write on your social media, you’re aiding the consumer discovery process. You’re also driving highly relevant and qualified traffic to your website. This is only possible if you actively include content marketing in your digital strategy because it’s that content which acts as the catalyst for all of these desired actions.

Once you have gone to the trouble of creating content and publishing on your site and social media pages, you should also consider outreach. Offer your content out to select partners such as media outlets and prolific bloggers. Create something fantastic and allow it to be featured on a more popular site than your own (a non-competitor) to draw in new traffic and consideration of your brand or products from an existing audience source. Consider guest blogging or sending your products to a popular blogger for them to review for their dedicated audience.

When planned and executed well, content marketing can prove one of the most cost effective marketing channels available to online retailers. The major challenge for most retail businesses when it comes to content marketing is simply time and resources. Having an in house content team who is genuinely capable will likely prove costly, not to mention finding the talent can be a serious challenge. The ultimate solution for many is to hire a content marketing agency or find a digital agency with a strong content marketing offering, which is something you’d be surprised to know comes few and far between.

Do you make a strong business case for content marketing in your organisation? Will you step up content marketing this year to better connect with consumers? Share your thoughts with us on social media!