Content marketing has been in existence for a long time, the growth and relevance of this area of marketing have seen a rapid rise in the recent past. Content marketing has become a buzzword for new reasons during COVID times and for all the right reasons. While the primary reason for this is the uprising of digital media, we have also seen a vast number of new avenues opening up for marketers. Social media content like UGC, Twitter threads, blogs, videos are some such avenues.
Further, since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has left brands grappling with ways to still be involved in their consumers’ lives given reduced spends, and content marketing is proving to be an excellent path ahead in this regard.
Why content marketing works
As opposed to bombarding consumers with advertisements, content marketing only sells the idea of a product and not the product itself. A significant edge content marketing has is that it informs consumers of something rather than interrupting them. Consumers today want to be sure they are making the right purchase decisions and they have a plethora of platforms through which they can validate their decisions. When faced with a knowledge gap, they turn to brands for solutions. So brands have the responsibility of being present whenever a consumer needs them. And in this responsibility lies immense opportunities.
Moreover, content put out by brands is a step in the direction of truly adding meaning to consumers’ lives, especially when it is in line with the brand’s raison d’etre.
However, it has to be noted that in an era of information overload and diminishing attention span, marketers should be structured in their approach to creating and sharing content. It is also essential for content to be objective-driven, be it brand awareness, customer engagement, or sales. Planning for SEO, including a CTA, incorporating back links, sticking to timelines, delivering relevant content are all things that should be kept in mind.
One framework that helps marketers in planning content is the Hero-Hub-Hygiene Model.
In this systematic model, brands categorize their content into three buckets – Hero, Hub and Hygiene. Hero content allows brands to be bold about their communication and gain thought leadership in their industry. It is typically carried out once a year. Hub content is more regular and is aimed at creating sustained and engaging conversation. Hygiene is the content that people search for and even expect brands to post on a regular basis.
Similar to this is Coca Cola’s 70-20-10 model, where 70% of spends are in low-risk must-have content, 20% in mid-risk good-to-have content, and 10% in high-risk, bold and daring content.
Content Marketing in COVID times
It is evident by now that consumers are extremely careful about their expenses due to the pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean brands stop connecting with consumers. In fact, the current situation offers a tremendous opportunity for brands to support consumers in putting this frightening phase behind them.
Webinars are great avenues through which brands can emerge as thought leaders in their sectors, disseminating key information and decoding trends. From mental health to start-up support to career advice to financial planning, numerous webinars are being hosted on various video conference platforms such as Zoom.
Be it news, humor, trends, case studies, history, sports, or art, podcasts have found a voice during the pandemic. Professionals working from home have turned to podcasts to break the monotony of mundane tasks and also listen to something new every day.
Listenership has risen by at least 25% across podcast streaming services such as IVM, Hubhopper, Ep.Log, Audioboom or Aawaaz.com.
In the absence of printed newspapers, podcasts by news channels have also risen in popularity.
Content marketing is in a great place now and is all set to rule the marketing game in the coming years. There is a lot your brand is missing out on if you still aren’t playing this game!