You’ve probably heard the saying “content is king.” It’s widely credited to a 1996 essay by Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. And though the statement itself may be a bit worn in 2023, its message remains timeless: Good content plays a big role in a company’s internet success.
Before diving into how content can help grow your brand, it’s important to stress that content isn’t designed to directly sell a product or service. It’s not the same as an advertisement.
However, content can help you build trust and develop relationships with your audiences, which can, in turn, improve conversions and generate leads.
Here are some of the things good content can do for your brand:
Engage your audience. Studies suggest that humans have an attention span of about 8 seconds. If you can capture your audience’s attention in that amount of time, they’ll be more likely to stay – which boosts time-on-page analytics – and keep coming back.
Grow your audience. If your audience views your content as shareable and passes it along to friends and family or posts it on their own social media pages, you broaden your reach and grow your audience.
Build trust. Answering questions and problem-solving can make your brand a go-to for trusted content in your area of expertise.
Generate leads. While content isn’t designed to sell directly, highly engaged audiences are more likely to click that “contact us” link.
Improve conversions. If your content builds trust in your brand, you’re more likely to be top of mind when it’s time for your audience to make a purchase.
Improve SERP rankings. Consistently good, relevant content will help establish your brand as an authority in your industry. This credibility can pay off in higher search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
Content Is Everywhere
What is content? It can be a video, a blog, email, social media post, case study or just about any piece of consumable information. But how do you know which type of content will resonate with your audience?
There’s a lot of information out there about the content preferences of different demographic segments. For example, Millenials, people born between 1981 and 1996, now represent the second largest demographic group. (Baby Boomers are the largest.)
Nearly every (99 percent by some estimates) Millenial spends times online. And, according to a study by Sprout Social, they consider social media an essential part of their lives and use to communicate with family, friends and acquaintances (61 percent), to pass time (51 percent), to learn about new trends (47 percent) and to get breaking news (43 percent). In addition, three quarters of Millenials say they use social media to interact with brands and companies.
The takeaway is: If your brand markets to Millenials, social media should be a major part of your content mix, with a focus on that audience’s platform of choice, Instagram.
If your audience is highly active on social media, it’s not enough to simply create a presence on a social platform and occasionally publish a post. It’s important that your content fulfills your audience’s needs, whether it’s by answering questions or offering how-to information. And the content needs to be good content.
A few keys to good content.
It Should Be Authentic
Good content accurately portrays your brand and isn’t overtly promotional.
It Should Be Consistent
Your content should have a unique and identifiable voice and style across all channels and align with your brand.
It Should Be Original
Don’t simply regurgitate already published content. An important reason to avoid this approach is that Google won’t index content that isn’t useful, unique, compelling and high-quality.
It Should Provide Value To Your Audience
Don’t waste your audience’s time. Provide content that informs, educates or entertains.
Determining the type of content that is most effective for engaging audiences may require some trial and error. In one recent survey, marketers listed social media ads (20 percent), emails (17 percent) and blogs (16 percent) among their top-performing content channels. No clear stand-out there.
However, when it comes to the content format, videos top the list on just about every channel. Platforms such as YouTube and TikTok are continuing to fuel the rapid rise of short-form video as a must-have marketing tactic, and marketers are finding ways to use these videos on all types of channels, including in blogs, emails, social media and more.
It makes sense that the popularity of video continues to escalate. According to Hubspot’s annual State of Video Marketing report, audiences watch 19 hours of video per week, almost double the hours they watched in 2018. It’s also a format that’s easily shareable so it enjoys a far reach and is ideal for building audiences and engaging followers.
Ideally, your content should include a mix of formats on a variety of channels. And, if you find that something isn’t grabbing the attention of your audience, it’s time to look at whether your audience isn’t interested in the content, doesn’t use the platform or something else.
If you need guidance in developing a content strategy or creating content, Fresh Creative can help.