September 12, 2013

More Content Marketers Need to Shift Focus to Branding

In this age of social media and near-constant connectivity, it’s perhaps easier than ever for marketers to reach their target audiences. But rather than just getting in touch with these customers and potential customers, marketers should instead seek to establish long-lasting relationships with them—mutually beneficial for both parties over the long run.

A disturbing trend has emerged amongst content marketers who are using social media: According to recent research, 37 percent of companies are most interested in lead generation when it comes to their social media accounts. That same study says 27 percent are most interested in branding, while 18 percent are primarily looking to increase traffic and an additional 18 percent are looking to drive direct online sales.

Why is this trend disturbing? Because it shows that marketers are most concerned with selling their products than they are with establishing those mutually beneficial relationship.

Marketers, of course, are in business to make money. If they didn’t focus at all on making money, one could logically conclude they might not be in business that much longer. But by focusing on building long-lasting relationships, marketers will note increased sales that will recur over an extended period of time.

Rather than feeling as though they’re the focus of impersonal attempts at extracting money from their wallets, customers who are instead delivered customized content they’re interested in—like news articles, blog posts, infographics and webinars—are more likely to develop a favorable impression of the company that reaches out to them. 

Let’s face it: Few things in this world are free, and when you receive something of benefit free of charge, you become happy. It adds value to your life. If you’re ever presented with the choice of having to purchase items from one of two similar companies—and one of those companies has a track record of offering important, entertaining information for free—you’re more likely to support that company instead of the company that when it comes to content marketing sits on its proverbial hands.

With the ability of clever content marketing strategies to spread virally, companies should remember that a majority of consumers don’t want to have sales pitches repeatedly forced upon them. People don’t want to be flooded with those sales pitches, and odds are, they don’t want to pass them on to their friends via retweeting or sharing on Facebook either.

Keeping these sentiments in mind, advertisers should devise content marketing strategies they think their customers will enjoy enough to pass on to their virtual social circles. The more goodwill they can generate, the higher number of sales they can expect to see in both the near and long terms, without having to support an in-your-face sales pitch marketing strategy.

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