Content Marketing – We all know how it works, but do we really know WHY it works?

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It has become obvious that the new hot prospect within the online marketing world is that of content marketing. We do it at Crowdbait, and we are certainly not alone. The vast majority of the articles and insights posted on the internet recently about marketing are brimming full of information, facts, figures and forecasts, which is great for people that want to gain a knowledge of what content marketing is all about. But what I have noticed recently is that not a lot of articles actually explain why content marketing works.

Let’s take a look at what some other people have had to say on the matter.

Content Marketing Is Here To Stay! – Jessie Zubatkin
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Jessie Zubatkin (@tubgoddess), Head of Marketing at Curata, produced an extremely helpful article that explained the research undertaken by her company and the conclusions that were drawn from the results. The article, titled “Content Marketing is here to stay!” is very well proven thanks to the extensive research that was undertaken by Curata and showed a lot of promising signs that content marketing is the next sliced bread. But what is the help of all these numbers if you do not have a simple reason as to why those numbers are appearing? In the post, it was mentioned that 87% of the 450 marketing professionals that they surveyed used content marketing techniques. And of this group of people, 57% of them found that content curation (the finding, organizing and distribution of content) was successful for them.

We all know the answer to why it works, we just do not realise it. Content marketing is a one hundred percent elaborated version of word of mouth marketing. It is as simple as that. We have all come across the statistics at some point that say people are a lot more likely to purchase things that their friends or someone of a higher authority had recommended. Content marketing is trying to gain a view from a higher authority about your product or service; or gaining a view from someone who has a potential to influence their friends and other people in their industry; in the hope that they will spread their view to potential clients and customers.

One of my most important mantras that I always stick to when marketing is simply: “What would I do?”. Now this is interpretable into many different ways which is the beauty of the phrase. “Would I buy that?”, “Do I trust the source?” and “Would this appeal to me as a marketing strategy if I was looking at it as a consumer?” are all variations of that same ideology and the icing on the cake of it is: I am a normal person and, to a certain extent, I can safely assume that my views can be generalized to other people. So if I answer ‘No’ to any of these questions, why would anyone else answer differently? This is why content marketing works. Businesses who are good at creating content, attracting or becoming thought leaders and gaining recognition get the simple bits absolutely spot on by asking themselves these sorts of questions as clarification because they know that at the end of the day, they are only people… and so are consumers.

Why Content Marketing Is The New Branding – Frank Strong
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Frank Strong (@frank_strong) wrote about how content marketing was becoming the new branding in his article, appropriately titled: “Why content marketing is the new branding”. Frank claims that brands are a promise and that they are used to create a perception about a product as well as a mind-set for consumers to align themselves with. I do agree with this to a certain extent, I think that Frank absolutely hits the nail on the head in terms of the lessening void between content marketing and branding, however I do feel that things are trying to get a lot more complicated than they otherwise should be. Think about it: a brand is the face of the company and the content marketing aspect is the mouth. We all know that reputation precedes us and whatever the mouth says is usually used to judge us, before they have seen our “face”. But quite simply, if someone likes us, whether it is our brand or our content marketing, they will tell people. And if someone doesn’t like us… they will tell a lot more people – which is what we want to avoid. Whilst I understand what Frank is trying to say, I disagree that content marketing is the “New” branding. In my opinion, you could say that they were partners in crime.

And this brings me back to my original point; businesses need to realize this and gain the correct balance between what their face shows and what their mouth says. By doing so, the relationship that they build with potential customers and their acquaintances can be hugely beneficial – another reason why content marketing works.

How To Feed Your Content Marketing Efforts – Lisa Barone
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The final article to consider was written by Lisa Barone (@lisabarone), titled: “How to feed your content marketing efforts”. The interesting thing about this piece of work is that it also looks at results from Curata’s research, which allows us to compare and contrast views. The main difference is that this article is written about B2B content marketing. Despite the wide differences between B2B and B2C markets, the magic phrase still applies: “If I were weighing up which businesses to work with, why would I choose mine?” Lisa points out that one of the hardest aspects of content marketing is trying to find unique content to write about. I cannot stress how important this is. Content marketing works because of WOM marketing and things will stop being spread by WOM if they become boring, stale or identical to what other people are saying. So I completely agree with Lisa in terms of finding unique ideas and content to share out between the opinion gurus.

To sum up: Word of mouth marketing is, and always will be the king of marketing. Nothing says “buy this” as effectively as a friend or colleague. It is important to see that if you know WHY content marketing works, you can perfect it and utilize it to its maximum potential
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About the Author

Lyndon founded Crowdbait in 2011 after exiting the group of advertising and marketing agencies he co-founded in 2004.

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