One of the most common reasons for brands to invest in an active blogging strategy is to provide their target audience with interesting and useful information.
The primary objective is often not to makes more sales or even talk about what they sell, but instead focus on the themes and topics that their potential customers are interested in.
They use this valuable, engaging, well-presented content to expand their reach beyond the people who are ready to buy what they sell right now.
They promote this great content through their email campaigns, social media and paid links to start building the sorts of relationships that will lead to sales in the future.
And brands that make this commitment to be helpful and informative even if it doesn’t lead to a sale right away can expect to be more influential in the long-run even than brands with strong existing credibility in the space.
Informative, interactive content more important than brand credibility
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Promotion Management being informative and interacting with your audience is the key to becoming a genuine influencer.
“More interactivity is generally seen to be advantageous for companies, but when customers find the material more informative it makes a company’s communications more effective and more influential,” said lead researcher, Holly Ott of Penn State University in the US.
Content that’s seen as helpful and useful makes it more likely that potential customers will feel positive about the brand and, crucially, will be more likely to buy from that brand in the future, the study revealed.
Ott said her team’s findings suggest brands that focus on building a reputation for being informative and interactive can have a bigger influence on purchasing decisions than historical credibility. This means there is great potential for smaller, lesser-known companies to steal a march on their bigger rivals.
Building long-term relationships with great content
This relationship-building opportunity presented by content marketing can be a challenge. For a marketer that needs to show quick wins to their boss or client giving useful, interesting content away today in the hope of making a sale tomorrow is not always an easy case to make.
One of the mistakes that a lot of brands make is thinking that because they’re not trying to make a sale right away they don’t need to think about conversion. If the idea is to create awareness and build trust then just put out great content and the sales will come.
But ignoring secondary conversions is a real missed opportunity. Just because you’re not writing a blog to sell your lawnmowers there’s no reason why you can’t promote your new downloadable lawnmower guide or sign blog readers up to your weekly lawnmower newsletter.
These secondary conversions provide evidence that your content marketing strategy is starting to work and, more importantly, help you learn more about your audience, whether that’s through information you can gather from them directly or through something a little more fancy like marketing automation.