Historically, there are those junctures in time in which we simply start accepting that a new fate is on the horizon: it happened back in the 19th century with the invention of the typewriter, again in the late 90’s with the dot-com bubble, and more recently with the innovation of the smartphone. And it seems once again we are at the crossroads of a massive shift rocking the business environment—that of content marketing.
Simply put, we are at that familiar place we have been centuries before where early adopters are embracing this avant-garde approach to marketing, full of gumption, while others remain on the sidelines wondering if this trend will really stay. But all one has to do is take a look at history to know that content marketing is only at its dawn. Let’s take a look at three major forces that are forever changing the way in which we go-to-market:
- Customers are Skeptical: With only 10 percent of consumers trusting advertising—and an astonishing 70 percent trusting brand recommendations from friends—it is only a matter of time before print advertisements, radio spotlights, TV commercials and the surge of other corporate branding tactics become truly archaic and futile. Blogging—the cornerstone of content marketing—presents a more organic way for brands to tell their story. For example, companies can sprinkle in a variety of industry news, guest blog pieces and customer spotlights alongside pieces that are wholly company-centric.
- We are in Search of Social Currency: No matter where we are—at work, at a networking function or at a restaurant catching up with friends—we are always searching for the perfect story and fact to relay to others. It’s what many industry pundits refer to as “social currency.” Consumers want to be the first to break news, share something innovative and elicit reactions from their peers and colleagues. This very behavior is fueling the popularity of social media, infographics and service-style blog pieces.
- Competition is Fierce: In fact it seems the business sector is oversaturated with likeminded companies boasting exceedingly similar value propositions. As such, companies are being forced to reinvent the wheel and find innovative strategies to highlight their core competencies. Enter blogging, email marketing, social media, white papers, webinars… you name it. The need for customer acquisition and retention is so heightened, in fact, that 74 percent of B2B markers are relying on content marketing for lead generation; 71 percent for customer acquisition; and 57percent of retention and loyalty.
So, here you are at the crossroads once again. Perhaps you are trailblazer, serving as the first of your industry to explore this new terrain. Or maybe you are eating the dust of your competitors wondering if the grass is really greener. But the signs, statistics and sentiments are there. Content marketing is not passing trend; rather it’s a fundamental shift in the way in which we do business. So what side of the crossroads do you want to be on?