Stories form an important part of our lives.
Whether it is a grandmother narrating stories to her granddaughter, or a neighbor sharing extraordinary tales about her life in Laos, or a husband sharing anecdotes from his day at work—we are surrounded by stories and storytellers.
And stories are nothing but content.
Brands are no different.
They too have to make appropriate use of content to be able to tell their stories better.
Sir Richard Branson, in his article “Why entrepreneurs are storytellers,” explains why it is not enough to have a great product but also let people know about it.
And that is where the role of content marketing comes in.
Content marketing is more than written content like blogs, advertisements, emails, and landing pages.
At its core, it’s about stories that need to be shared and distributed.
And those stories can take many forms.
Here are five important ways brands can use content marketing to their advantage:
Attract Top Talent
Don’t limit content marketing to branding, sales, and promotions.
Modern organizations are using content marketing as a means of attracting the best talent in the market.
Smart organizations closely monitor their profiles on social company review and job search sites like Glassdoor.
They then use this knowledge to inform content to throw light on organization culture and simplify the application process as well.
Company reviews are personal stories and can do wonders in the most unexpected ways.
In 2016, 62 percent of Glassdoor users agreed how the management/employer responds to a review shapes their perception about a company.
Also, the majority of job seekers read at least six reviews before they made up their mind about a company.
For instance, when an employee identified ‘benefits’ and ‘career advancement’ as drawbacks, the CEO of Accuquote responded most humbly.
How organizations respond to reviews/feedbacks speak volume about their culture.
It’s often is an important determinant for prospects contemplating joining the company.
If organizations want to create the right impression, then content too should be used intelligently.
Drive Inbound Content Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing gets complex when marketers try to integrate content and inbound marketing without a clear strategy.
Successful inbound marketing requires a thorough content strategy.
An inbound strategy is a metrics and results-driven method that drives traffic to websites for conversion.
Content, therefore, is the tool to do so.
In fact, as per research, content marketing costs almost 62% less than outbound marketing strategies but can deliver three times the results in terms of leads.
The example of the Oreo cookie ad of 2012 explains the integration of the two.
Oreo had a surge of new followers after they published an ad of an Oreo cookie with rainbow-stacked filling (representing gay-rights) on Facebook.
Within hours the page received over 192,000 likes and 28,800 comments.
A single content strategy was able to improve brand awareness, engagement, gain new followers etc.
Establish Better Customer Relationships
Marketers today are using content to personalize experiences—in turn improving customer relationship.
Google does a doodle on your birthday; Facebook continues the trend with videos on birthdays and friendship-anniversaries.
It is difficult to simultaneously work on brand reputation and customer relationships unless the content strategy is aligned.
Organizations such as McDonald’s are using content to strengthen customer relations along with brand reputation.
McDonald’s Canada’s, “Our Food. Your Questions” clears all doubts their customers have about the quality of food in the restaurants.
By using content in the form of customer questions and answers the brand is building trust through transparency.
Build a Brand Reputation
When brands integrate marketing storytelling into their content strategy, it necessitates keeping factors such as campaign budget, audience type, goals/objectives etc. in mind.
Google used storytelling in an ad about two childhood friends separated by the partition of India in 1947.
The objective of the ad was to show how their search engine was globally used and extensive and could help in re-connecting people separated (the emotional touch).
Brands create content for a myriad of purposes.
Not every piece of content is narrating a story.
The core of every piece of interactive content is to make viewers take action.
And stories are the best way to evoke emotions.
People may forget the name, but they will never forget the emotions the brand has been able to stir.
For the Usual Marketing and Communications Stuff
A lot of strategy and investments go into making plans for marketing and communications.
Though brands often use content marketing to drive revenue, it also creates value and educates consumers.
From increasing traffic to websites, to building brand identity and increasing awareness, content marketing has helped brands grow systematically.
Brands such as HubSpot, LinkedIn, and Xerox owe a great deal of their success to content marketing.
Xerox’s photocopying machines are so popular, no one speaks of its other services, such as IT outsourcing.
In order to rebrand itself, Xerox used content marketing as a strategic tool to regain prominence.
Content marketing is for everyone.
What varies is the form of content you use and the goals you have to achieve.
There is an overdose of information everywhere—and unless you have something new to say or say it in a different way there is no way your content will be remembered.