Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Content is any form of information that’s communicated to an audience. Today, content marketing is done as blog posts, YouTube type videos, social media posts, infographics, and slide presentations, and delivered online via websites, social media channels, email, etc.
The rise of sponsored content has been fast and furious coinciding with the loss of effectiveness and placing on life support of banner advertising. There are dozens of tales of publishers annoying their audiences with aggressive banner ads, pop-ups and roadblocks causing audiences to leave and never return. So a new approach which has come to be content marketing was certainly welcomed.
Why Content Marketing Wins Over Banner Ads
Top on-line publications like The Daily Beast are leading the charge away from banner ads. It’s President Mike Dyer, explained why. “Creating a positive experience for our readers is the most important thing we can do. When you put your own monetization needs above your readers, you risk driving them away” he explained. “Banner ads, by their very nature, are designed to interrupt the consumption of content that the reader was there for in the first place.”
A few years ago, The Daily Beast looked at viable alternatives to banner ads. Content Marketing, fit the needs of its readers, its advertisers and their own revenue goals.”Content Marketing, when done well, adds value to the reader’s experience”, Mr. Dyer explains. “We can see that by judging its success the same way we judge editorial content’s success: is it connecting with readers’ natural interests. On average, our stories by and for brands perform as well as our editorial.”
Content marketing fits into the power of the Internet and social media because it promotes sharing. Many companies have now mastered understanding content for marketing.”When it comes to content marketing, shares stand out among all the engagement metrics we track,” explains Mr. Dyer. “When someone shares a piece of content marketing, they are essentially endorsing what has been created and that’s powerful.”
LinkedIn Sees Huge Growth in Content Marketing
LinkedIn started seeing a steep deterioration in their revenue from banner advertising in the third quarter of 2015. “With respect to display, we began to see steeper deterioration in the first quarter,” Steve Sordello, LinkedIn’s chief financial officer, said during a call with investors. “This reverses display’s relative strength throughout 2014, with growth declining approximately 10 percent year-over-year. Going forward, display will remain an important component of our product suite, albeit with lessening impact on the business,” Mr. Sordello added.
The company’s Sponsored Updates, a content-marketing product that lets advertisers place their blog posts on LinkedIn members’ home pages, grew to more than 40% of ad revenue, nearly double their share a year earlier.
An effective content marketing strategy helps an organization engage with new customers or re-engage with existing customers. The results of a strategy could include increased brand visibility, increased sales leads, or improved audience attitudes.
The NFL is High on Content Marketing
The NFL is a great example of organizations providing their audience with engaging content to maintain interest in the sport, and help them increase revenues. While the NFL generates much of its revenue from sponsorships, affiliate fees, licensing and advertising, their website NFL.com averages more than 7 million people per month during football season and 1.4 million off-season. On opening Sunday of this year’s NFL season, 14 of the top 20 trending searches on Google were related to NFL football in the US meaning there were over 2 million different searches made. Much of this is for the content the NFL creates. They published 33 stories on the site’s newsfeed on opening Sunday. And that doesn’t even include their podcasts, video content, or any of the content published on each team’s affiliate site. So it’s easy to argue that their on-line content marketing activities are contributing greatly to their bottom line.