What is content marketing, and why does it matter?

In 1996, business magnate Bill Gates described a future in which ‘content is king.’ The billionaire predicted wide-ranging opportunities for a diverse range of companies to be involved in supplying online information or entertainment. According to Gates, no company would be too small to participate in this newfound ‘content marketplace.’ 

Fast forward to 2020, and content has never been more influential. We spend more time creating, sharing, and consuming online content than ever before. Smartphones and social media have made it easier than ever for brands to become active participants in the content marketplace – but competition is fierce. 

Well-developed content can get your brand seen and heard by the right people. In contrast, content that falls flat may mean that your brand simply becomes white noise. This is why a well-executed content marketing strategy matters.

So, what is content marketing anyway?

Back in 1996, Bill Gates explained that the Internet would allow anyone to publish whatever content they wished to create: “In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.

“The Internet also allows information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable, and many companies are laying plans to create content for the Internet.”

Content marketing takes this understanding one step further. Today, content marketers actively create and share online material that doesn’t necessarily promote a brand outright – but instead stimulates interest in that brand’s product or services.

Examples of content marketing may include videos, images, blogs, and even educational resources such as e-books, fact sheets, and infographics. However, the role of a content marketer isn’t simply to ‘feed the beast’ by creating online content for content’s sake.

What is the role of a content marketer? 

To fully appreciate the value of expert content marketing, we need to understand the four steps of a common buying cycle. This is the process wherein people first become aware of your brand, and are eventually compelled towards a purchase decision: 

  1. Awareness: Customers become aware they have a problem that needs solving.
  2. Research: Customers set out to find a solution, by researching various options available.
  3. Consideration: Customers compare a selection of options to find the best possible solution for their own needs. 
  4. Purchase: Customers commit to a purchase decision, and move forward with their transaction. 

Well-developed content marketing can support every stage of the customer buying cycle, by  attracting the best prospects, generating the most leads, and converting the most customers with targeted ‘calls to action.’

A professional content marketer knows how to develop and implement highly engaging, polished content that serves your customers throughout every stage of the buying cycle. Our role is to propel customers through the buying cycle end-to-end, using targeted content that appeals to their needs. For instance:

  • At the Awareness stage, brands should focus on developing content that is memorable, shareable and search engine optimised. Types of content marketing at this stage may include memes, infographics, articles and free downloadable materials.

  • At the Research stage, brands should focus on positioning themselves as the superior customer solution by showcasing their features and benefits. Types of content marketing at this stage may include video demonstrations and tutorials, webinars and even product comparisons.

  • At the Consideration stage, brands should focus on content that instills confidence and trust, whilst leveraging existing customer relationships. Types of content marketing at this stage may include customer testimonials, case studies and even influencer reviews.

  • At the Purchase stage, brands should focus on closing out leads and converting sales. Types of content marketing at this stage may include special offers, promotions and exclusive discounts that can compel customers towards a purchase decision.

It’s also worth noting that there’s an entire aspect of after-sales content marketing that can be used to promote ‘reconversion’ and ongoing customer loyalty. At this stage, content marketers might recommend the use of surveys, feedback forms, newsletters and personalised content.

How can content marketing be used for vegan brands?

As you can see, content marketing enables brands to tell their story and effectively engage their customers online. When it comes to promoting a vegan brand, content marketing is an especially important part of educating the market and dispelling myths commonly associated with veganism.

The good news is that the ‘content marketplace’ is a great equaliser, and in many ways the growth of Australia’s plant-based community can be attributed to a growing conversation about animal rights, sustainability and human health – a conversation that’s taking place online. 

If you’re interested in discovering how targeted content marketing can help to grow your vegan brand, contact the team at Powered PR today. We are highly experienced content marketers, and we’d be delighted to create a strategy that’s tailored to your specific needs.

AUTHOR: Jessica Cotton

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