Content marketing is not new — it’s been around at least since John Deere created its quarterly magazine, The Furrow, in 1895, and probably since well before that. But the digital age has made it easier than ever to spread content quickly and on a large scale. Consider this: there are currently more than 76 million blogs on WordPress and more than 184 million blogs on Tumblr. That includes individuals as well as companies, of course, but that’s part of the point: this mass of people people able, ready and willing to discuss and share their favorite brands and products has pushed content marketing to the fore. That’s why Gigaom calls it the digital marketing “show horse.”
Why content works
According to Gigaom’s research report, “Workhorses and dark horses: digital tactics for customer acquisition”, content marketing ranks in the top three most popular tactics for digital-marketing spend, second only to email. It ranks in the top three tactics for customer retention. This is not just because of the ease of digital publishing, but because of trust.
Consumers have demonstrated continued trust in content produced by companies. According to the report, 74% of consumers trust educational content that companies put out. And 94% of consumers have shared it with their friends or family in the past. This integration of content and social marketing is an example of Gigaom’s advice that marketers creatively blend “mosaics” of digital marketing tactics to successfully achieve their funnel goals.
Combine tactics to drive retention & acquisition
The survey findings also suggest that companies should let their content be their guide. When people discover a brand on the Internet, they should be compelled to engage with its content (acquisition) and then become a customer (conversion). This journey should follow an organized path, rather than forcing a potential customer to sift through a random smattering of content on the company’s website and social networks. One way to achieve this is by integrating referral marketing, when paired with social media marketing, streamlines the acquisition process by giving people concrete paths to and incentives for purchase, and can give your social channels the ability to generate customers in addition to fans.
The bottom line: don’t allow your company to become a one-trick pony, even if that pony is the show horse that is content marketing. Use a blend of available marketing tactics to maximize acquisition and revenue. Want more tips and stats? Get the Gigaom report here.