Today’s changing digital landscape is forcing organizations to re-evaluate their media strategy as the lines between paid, earned and owned media become blurred. It’s crucial for marketers to find more cost-effective and coherent means of engaging with consumers, and that’s why content marketing has quickly become a key part of any organization’s marketing mix – today used by nine out of ten marketers.
Marketers are clear on what they want to achieve with their content marketing strategies. Research shows that their primary aim is to boost brand awareness, followed by raising customer acquisition, lead generation and loyalty.
But many remain uncertain about tactics, and are not taking full advantage of the power for marketing through media to strengthen a brand, and grow and engage its audience.
Marketers traditionally think of media strategy in terms of three distinct channels: paid, owned and earned media, but these are becoming less defined as earned media becomes increasingly important. Earned media, by nature, can’t be bought or controlled by a company itself and is generated independently by consumers and third parties and its value will continue to rise as consumers increasingly look to non-traditional media outlets for content, seeking out what they’re interested in, rather than passively receiving whatever comes their way.
Where does content marketing come in? It’s proving its capacity to generate earned media, build brands and increase social interactions by giving customers the highly engaging content they crave.
Video plays a key role in content marketing through its ability to attract and sustain consumers’ attention. It lends itself to social sharing and is an unmatched medium for telling stories, conveying information and triggering an emotional response. Coupled with the power of social media, marketers can use video to more closely integrate their strategies for paid, owned and earned media to increase impact and ROI:
– Reach: generating awareness and attention. According to Searchmetrics, video results appear in roughly 70% of the top 100 listings in search results. Maximise on this potential with a metadata strategy focussing on the keywords most relevant to the community you’re targeting for SEO and website traffic. Social media provides a powerful multiplier effect in terms of reach.
– Engagement: drawing people closer to your brand. One of the guiding principles of content marketing is that consumers value relevant, engaging content that addresses their needs and interests. Compelling video not only attracts visitors to a website, but helps keep them there. Vivid storytelling and insightful information focuses viewers’ attention and entice them to watch additional videos. As their time on-site grows, they remain within the branded environment, available for further messaging and offers.
– Retention & loyalty. Post-sale content, and video-based support, helps keep your customer relationships active and valuable. What’s more, the popularity, ‘virality’, and emotional impact of online video makes it highly effective for turning customers into loyal fans and brand advocates.
– Conversion: turning prospects into customers. Giving customers more confidence about their purchasing decision is key to lowering the number of abandoned shopping carts. In-player calls to action, interactive offers, and buy-now buttons help capitalise immediately and seamlessly on purchase intent while it’s still fresh in the customer’s mind.
Jewelry retailer Michael Hill is an example of a global brand that has implemented ‘shoppable video’ to their sites featuring in-player calls-to-action for access to further product videos and information, as well as for reaching the corresponding e-commerce page. These videos also retain this functionality when shared on Facebook – a perfect example of how earned media can be converted into a viral ecommerce outlet.
And brands of all kinds are getting in on the act – look at Red Bull’s live event programming, which reinforces the power of brands as media organisations.
Changes in both the digital landscape and consumer behaviour have created powerful new opportunities to gain and sustain consumer attention through the right content marketing strategies. By leveraging social media and online video across the full range of connected devices, marketers can make paid, owned and earned media strategies more closely integrated and effective at every stage of the customer lifecycle.