Marketing as we know it is undergoing a major revolution. In the wake of the major innovations that have transformed human relations, digital platforms such as social media and mobile devices have become what Marshall McLuhan, Canadian intellectual and the father of mass communication studies, calls “extensions of man”, because they expand people’s ability to function.
What does this mean? It means that digital has changed the type of conversation that people have not only with each other, but especially with their favorite brands. Today, consumers have access to information, literally, in the palm of their hands, and are no longer content with the pasteurized content they get from traditional advertisements. If before these tools were efficient, today, the have the opposite effect: they lead people to feel they have been “conned”.
Communication is no longer a one-way street
In various ways, consumers are now leading players in debates on social networks, the web, videos, podcasts or blogs. Their contributions can also become a major asset for companies to channel their communication to their target audience. That is why it is more important than ever before for brands to develop materials that are intelligent, focused and relevant.
Take, for example, the story which, according to the Content Marketing Institute, was the genesis of the modality
In 1895, a farmer called John Deere launched a magazine called “The Furrow” to give his colleagues tips on how to make their businesses more profitable.
This magazine was the starting point for the brand that takes the name of its founder to become one of the best-known global companies in the tractor and farm equipment industry. What is curious is that nowadays, Furrow is still published in 12 different languages in over 40 countries.
Well, what I am trying to say is that the reason for the success of Furrow was simple: it took relevant content to the right audience. If Mr. Deere had chosen to write a bulletin exhorting his neighbors to adopt his ideas simply “because they were good”, the tactic would probably have been dragged into the middle of other pamphlets that were distributed at that time.
“But, why is it so relevant?”, you may ask yourself.
Today’s content needs to convince the audience, not impose ideas
Let the obvious be said: in today’s hypercompetitive environment, companies looking for a place in the sun must position themselves as trend setters. What does this mean? If you really want to become a leading entrepreneur, you also have to be an influencer.
If you are incapable of influencing, you will also not be able to convince people to adopt your brand. Worse: you won’t even convince your team to fly your company’s flag and, as a result, your company will find itself ostracized.
Content marketing makes an impact because it helps you build your reputation as a benchmark for your audience. But then comes the question: how to go about it? What is needed to affect people’s behavior?.
Delivering value. Pure and simple.
The key is to generate added value
If you want to be influential, it is essential to give people some kind of value; after all, no one is going to fly the flag for someone they don’t admire.
Just stop and think: who are, or were, the persons who most influenced you, whether personally or professionally? Your answer is probably someone you held in great esteem. In other words, there was a positive impact, the content absorbed was relevant.
That is why we must never underestimate content marketing. When you produce materials that add value, answer pertinent questions or solve problems, you are influencing people. You are providing them with valuable information without demanding anything in return. Better still… your prospect will become a welcome potential lead without feeling coerced, something which today’s advertising finds more difficult to deliver than in times gone by.
Therefore, every company, regardless of its size, must create relevant and useful content that will bring your customers good benefits and huge returns for your company.
And how is content strategy at your company? Are you able to be a positive reference in what you produce and thereby attract the interest of prospects, leads and clients? Bring your example for comments here and on the social networks.
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By Pedro Araújo, Corporate Communications Coordinator at VTEX