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Why content marketing is the new advertising

content marketing

Picture this: It’s a Thursday evening, the whole family is huddled in the living room, ready to settle in for a quality evening of free-to-air television.

You’ve flicked the kettle on for a cup of tea, and a suited Eddie McGuire has just signed us off for yet another thrilling episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

It won’t be long until your living room is infiltrated by commercial break after commercial break. Big Kev is excited about cleaning products, and AAMI Insurance is serving up the next romantic instalment of Rhonda and Ketut’s love story.

Now, fast forward to present day. Traditional television ads? You can hardly remember the last one you saw as you skip through the breaks thanks to your trusty Foxtel IQ.

Advertising has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Brands no longer hold the ace when it comes to the straight-faced poker game of marketing because the modern consumer doesn’t interact with brands on the company’s terms they much prefer it on their own, thanks.

Rethink, rework, retell

Consumers, and especially millennials, don’t want blatant and invasive reminders to buy products. Instead, they want to be persuaded, understood and nurtured.

In research released by Forbes, millennials aren’t responding to conventional marketing methods anymore. Instead, millennial consumers engage in research and socialising to determine if the product or service is worth purchasing.

So, what does this mean? Well, we’re not saying burn all the ads. But instead, rethink, rework and retell them. And you can do it using content marketing.

Content marketing is the process of attracting customers through helpful, informative and engaging content that adds value at a stage of a buyer’s journey whether that be awareness, consideration, decision or post-purchase.

According to SiriusDecisions, around 70 percent of the average buyer journey takes place online and can span over weeks, months or even years. So it’s up to companies to meet customers’ needs by creating high-value content such as blogs, downloadable resources, video, and social media, which guides them through the buyer journey.

Sounds great, but how’s this done? Well, here are three key principles to consider when creating successful content marketing for your business.

Know your audience

It would be silly to sell a mobility scooter to Usain Bolt, right? Right.

Before creating content, it’s essential to know the audience you are marketing to. A buyer persona represents your ideal customer, based on market research and collated data from existing customer base. Creating realistic personas will help you to identify the needs and pain points of your customer, helping to channel your efforts more effectively.

To understand your audience, dig deep to identify traits such as personal and professional statistics, goals and motivations, challenges and fears, and what they want to achieve.

One buyer persona may look like Lydia. Lydia is a mum of three, run-off-her-feet and working in finance. She has barely any time to exercise between school-runs, soccer practice and tax reporting, let alone making a kale and pumpkin pie from scratch. Lydia doesn’t have time to follow a 30-step recipe, but that doesn’t stop her wanting to find quick and healthy meals for herself and her family.

So, consider Lydia when you’re creating your content: have you met her on an emotional level by understanding her concerns?

Tell a story

Storytelling is the essence of life. You wouldn’t buy a coffee machine because it looks neat in the box, you buy it because it positively enhances your Monday mornings with the frothiest latte this side of the billabong.

People easily buy into stories and relationships, not things or objects. Your story should explain how your product or service betters lives, solves problems and makes people feel. Because, the effects of storytelling can have lasting results on the brain. When we experience an emotionally-charged event, the brain drops the neurotransmitter dopamine into our system (the same reward chemical that our brain releases during sex) making the event more memorable.

Study your metrics

Once you’ve identified who you’re marketing to and what they’ll see, you’ll need to keep an eye on results. Even the sturdiest buildings need maintenance, so while your campaign might have brilliant foundations, it’s important to do regular checks to understand if your audience is responding.

Look at the footprint data left by your visitors. It’s friendly stalking, but all in good taste, to determine how you can make the campaign more effective. You do this by asking questions: How long are my visitors staying on my site? Which is the most popular piece of content? Where are they exiting from? What are they clicking on?

By doing this, you’ll quickly uncover opportunities to change your tactics. And the best thing? All of this data is free. Look into the backend of your website, install a Facebook Pixel, use Google Search Console to see what your audience are searching for, or use Google Analytics to track conversions and demographics to cross-check exactly who you’re speaking to.

Being present in digital media means being a consistently valuable source of information. Don’t be stagnant, but instead test, trial and change.

Adapt to the change

Making moves in new age marketing means cold, hard advertising alone just won’t cut it anymore. Use consumer insights, creativity and data to create content that works, and become a solution to your buyer’s problem. It helps to think from the perspective of a millennial, so get online, and order a smashed avo while you’re at it for all of your hard work.

Elise Ives is a Digital Marketer at LEP Digital.

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