Why Content Marketing Is About Education Not Sales
By John Waldron
Today’s world is jam packed with ads and brand messages. No matter if we, as consumers, are watching TV, listening to the radio, browsing the web, checking social media, reading a newspaper, or just walking down the street – we’re being bombarded with advertisements from all corners.
Indeed, a , for instance, references research from Yankelovich, which estimates that the average person living in a city is exposed to around 5,000 ad messages every single day.
The reason for the higher figure is that Yankelovich took into account all the clothing labels that we’re exposed to, all the labels and logos on shop items, all the cars that pass us by in the street, all the junk mail that comes through our doors, etc., etc., etc.
The result is a complete overload – and web users in particular have become quite sick of it. Indeed, eMarketer has produced research which reveals that nearly 87% of US internet users will be making use of ad-blockers this year.
(Image source: emarketer.com)
Why content marketing is different
You may be thinking that there would be similar skepticism towards content marketing. After all, content marketing is still marketing, right? It’s still about selling your wares to consumers, right? Right?
Well, no. If that’s what you think content marketing is all about, then, frankly, you’re doing it wrong.
(Image source: mashable.com)
Take this very blog post that you’re reading right now as an example. This is a piece of content marketing. Here at GetResponse, we’re in the email marketing, marketing automation, landing page and webinar game. Our customers are made up largely of business owners and marketers. And so, we’ve thought about what matters most to these people, and realized that they would find great value in a regular blog that covers all aspects of up-to-date marketing and productivity techniques, trends and best practices. And so we provide it for them.
Note that this blog post is not making any sort of push for a direct sale of any description. Rather, it’s solely about giving advice and, indeed, educating readers about why content marketing is about education and not sales.
We publish this post – and thousands of others like it – for free. Sure, we promote it across social media and various other channels – but the point is, we’re not bombarding anyone with adverts, which, as the research shows, people are blocking in any case. In this way, we get past the ad blockers because we’re dedicated to delivering useful, relevant and engaging information that people can come and find for themselves as and when they’re ready.
So how does content marketing result in sales?
A great question – for indeed, no business could survive if all it was doing was giving stuff away for free and not selling anything.
Well, for starters, the content marketing materials that you produce should be relevant to your target buyers – otherwise known as buyer personas. If we use this blog post as an example again, the people (marketers) who would be interested in this post are likely to be interested in the services that we actually sell.
However, rather than scaring these people away by ramming even more advertisements down their throats, we instead engage their attentions by providing free education about the best practices of all types of marketing, and allow them to take a browse around our site to see what services we have to offer once they’re here.
The proof is in the ROI
And there’s more. According to Neil Patel – one of the world’s greatest and most famous content marketers – companies that excel at producing valuable, compelling and free educative content experience 7.8 times more site traffic.
In addition, according to IDM (quoted by the Content Marketing Institute), compelling content produces brand recall. Whereas more than half of the adverts we see every day aren’t even noted, and most of those completely forgotten, informative content that users actively engage with will be remembered – and that leads to further engagement in the future.
And finally, according to research by Mashable, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing (i.e. adverts), and generates more revenue.
(Image source: mashable.com)
Back to you
Content marketing is about education, not sales. It’s about building trust, about offering additional value to your customers, about giving prospects a reason to click on your site as opposed to a competitor’s. What’s more, it costs less and sells more.
And that’s our free lesson over for today. Now it’s your turn to educate your customers about where the value lies in your industry.
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