The year 2014 was dubbed the year of content marketing. Approximately 93% of market players in the United States apply content-marketing solutions to achieve their marketing objectives, and 58% of companies project an increase in content expenditures for the year 2015.
Why is this happening?
According to statistics, there has been a decrease in the number of people who trust direct advertising. Up to 68 – 70% of buyers are said to believe articles and information posted on social networks and tend to read them before making a purchase. Users (especially young ones) have become more experienced and are prepared to thoroughly examine the available data before going shopping. It is becoming increasingly harder to manipulate them, and buying their loyalty is virtually impossible.
But you can always try to win the trust of experienced users! They read reviews. They find other people’s opinions useful when choosing a product. Some 62% of men and 50% of women consult social networks to compare chosen products. When pondering products, they often log onto specialized websites, blogs or other online communication platforms. Before making a purchase, 68% of buyers study information about the brand, and 58% of users believe editorial content. This fact opens up incredible opportunities for companies: irrespective of the size of a business, a brand can directly communicate with its audience, monitor its behavior, and shape it at the right moment.
Any brand can become an opinion shaper and expert in its category — and people will listen to it and hear it. A modern brand becomes a guide, a source of helpful information, a "friend." Contemporary buyers are capable of perceiving a brand as a good friend and advice-giver — if the brand is ready to act as one — rather than as a pushy salesman. Seventy percent of customers prefer articles to advertisements when they look for information about a company. Conversion rates are 105% higher for consumers who interact with ratings and reviews.
But how can a company win the loyalty of its users? Texts are there to help them. Inspiring and helpful content helps build brand awareness, invites users to interact, improves loyalty and eventually encourages users to buy. User loyalty is won primarily by those brands that do not emphasize their commercial interests... that don’t tell their customers, “I want you to buy this from me.” Instead, they say, “I can help you make a choice. I can be helpful to you.” "Being helpful" in the digital age means providing helpful information when the user needs it and finding the user when he or she needs help — and what we are referring to is not advertising or making annoying offers of their services. It is all about real help — to recommend a solution to a problem, to give advice, or to provide a cue.
The perfect scenario: the brand creates its own website, blog or page on a social network, and posts expert information that users will find when they need it. They will find it, read it and — possibly — make a purchase. Or maybe they don’t, but they return to the site. Or they don’t, but they remember the brand name to make an offline purchase later. Or they recommend a company that they remember to their friends.