This article was originally published on The Huffington Post Blog.
Consumers fast-forward through TV commercials, turn the page on print ads, and skip over pre-roll videos on YouTube. They change the channel on radio ads, are too distracted to notice billboards, and have become so proficient at surfing the web that they can tune out banner ads like it’s second nature.
This is the state of marketing in 2016. Exaggerated? Maybe. But even the most stringent traditional marketing proponents can’t deny the paradigm is shifting. Fast.
As traditional marketing tactics steadily falter, the importance of marketing remains greater than ever. Failing mediums are not an excuse to stop promoting your brand, but rather an opportunity to gain an edge on your competition.
Recognizing this, smart businesses are reallocating their marketing dollars to more modern tactics. Not surprisingly, content marketing is one of the first new areas in which they are investing.
Many people have heard of content marketing, but don’t quite know what it means. They know it has something to do with blogging — maybe photos, too — but they don’t understand the point of it. After all, content marketing flies in the face of the most widely held marketing fundamental: sell, sell, sell.
While content marketing does drive the sales needle, it does so in a more indirect way. Instead of driving conversions, content marketing focuses on communication and relationship-building, which in turn fosters patronage and brand loyalty.
Think of content marketing like slow-cooking a slab of ribs versus tossing them on a smoldering fire pit. It takes longer to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but the payoff is much greater. This is because content marketing helps businesses not only with customer acquisition, but also retention.
Every business should invest in content marketing as part of a comprehensive strategy, regardless of size or industry. American Express, IBM, and Coca-Cola invest in content marketing, as do small businesses all over the world.
While partnering with a content marketing agency like Rebuild Nation is always a smart idea, anyone with a computer can create and share content. From blogs and polls, to videos and infographics, anything goes when it comes to content. As long as the content is relevant and authoritative, people will read it.
Content marketing ideas are all around you. If you have a lawn care service, create a series of infographics about readying your yard for different seasons. If you’re a doctor, blog about simple steps one can take to maintain a healthy heart. If you’re a travel agent, produce short videos touting popular travel destinations. Link to your website when possible to drive traffic and bring customers closer to converting.
There are tons of free apps and web services to help you along the way. Piktochart can help you create easy infographics. Giphy is a tool for GIF animations. Sharing your content is as simple as posting on your website and social media pages.
Big or small. Local or national. It doesn’t matter. Every business should invest in content marketing. It’s not only the future of marketing — it’s also the present.