45% of direct mail never gets opened.

200 million people are on the national Do Not Call Registry.

85% of people fast forward through commercials.

84% of 25-35 year-olds are likely to click off a website with excessive advertising.

 _____________

It’s obvious that people don’t want to be bothered with hard sells and information they didn’t ask for. That’s the thinking behind inbound marketing, a narrative that Hubspot has built their entire brand around.

Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing that attracts individuals to a brand and converts them into lasting customers. This (not so) new-school method of marketing is driven by content coupled with context.

Inbound marketing = content marketing

So Why Does Content Marketing Trump Traditional Marketing?

People Are Tired of Being Shouted at

Cold calling, sending cold emails, interruptive ads, and a marketer-centric approach simply don’t work like it used to. That way of marketing has been replaced by customer-centric content marketing.

It works because people want relevant and helpful information on their own terms. They don’t want to be interrupted.

It’s Multi-Channel

Content marketing is naturally multi-channeled, meaning that your content reaches people where they are, on the platform where they want to interact: your blog, social media, organic search, etc.

Content shared on networks such as Twitter and Facebook develop more reach with every share. This leads to your content marketing efforts spreading through communities that are more likely to be interested in your content. As your content is picked up and syndicated by sites across the web, the links to your content will rise in search engine rankings.

Content Marketing Provides Value

It’s not easy for a modern business to survive without being a thought leader in their space; thought leaders provide value.

Jeff Charles, Founder of Artisan Owl Media asserts,“The amount of influence you have is directly tied to the amount of value you provide.” Through content marketing aimed at pleasing your target audience, you’re putting your value out into the world. Through this outpouring of abundance and generosity, your influence as a company/entrepreneur/thought leader will grow; and companies thrive on influence.

Proper content marketing is the act of educating your target audience, whereas outbound marketing strains the relationship with the audience by being loud, flashy and dubious.

It Garners Trust

By being an educational resource, your audience will come to trust you and your company. As your audience develops loyalty around your business, they’ll become brand advocates and share your narrative whenever they can.

Content Marketing Is Trackable

Since most content marketing takes place in digital space, everything you put out can be measured with hard performance data. By setting clearly defined content marketing goals and tracking core KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you’re able to gauge what type of content your audience enjoys most and optimize your content marketing strategy to better reach them.

This glimpse into the desires of the consumer and paints a picture, over time, turns into a detailed report of how your content marketing strategy.

And Where is it Headed?

A Mobile Frontier

Mobile has cemented itself into our way of life with swiping and tapping quickly becoming second nature. Owing its ubiquity to convenience, it’s surpassed all other devices combined in regards to content consumption.

Independent research giant, eMarketer, affirmed that 51% of the total time an adult spends engaged with digital media is on a mobile device — the mobile takeover a bold foretelling of the untethered future of content marketing. With the climbing rate of mobile ecommerce not far behind, more and more businesses are optimizing their digital content — newsletters, blogs and websites — for mobile to meet the demand.

Assuming the trend holds, in the foreseeable future, all the best content will fit snugly in our pockets.

Interactive Content for the Win

As screens get smaller, so do our attention spans.

Rarely do you read a blog post or online article in its entirety — even on websites you frequent. Here’s why: The majority of content you’re exposed to is passive — lacking distinction and therefore yielding poor engagement. But where passive content fails, interactive content is more than proving its worth.

An in-depth study on content marketing by Demand Metric found that:

  • Interactive content converts 2x better than passive content
  • Interactive content is shared far more often (38%) than passive content (17%)
  • Interactive content does a much better job of educating the buying audience

Jeffbullas.com says “Interactive content lays a firm foundation for generating and converting leads. Further, it makes your marketing plan livelier and engaging, so it yields magical outcomes for your business.”

As such, interactive content like infographics, videos, calculators, contests, webinars and podcasts should become integral elements of your content marketing efforts from 2016 forward. Weaving those into your narrative will greatly increase your perceived value in your leads. After all, that’s the essence of content marketing: Telling an engaging story as a means of creating demand for your product or service.

__________

The power in content marketing begins with permission — that’s the key. By asking people if they would like to view and receive your content, you’re opening a dialogue that only gets stronger as you continue to provide value. Branding has evolved. Content (inbound) marketing is here to stay.



About Martin Cogburn

Martin Cogburn, ONTRAPORT's Senior Content Strategist, cherishes and strives to master the art of great storytelling. Originally from Frankfurt, the German native attended UCSB after growing up in the Santa Barbara area. Martin wears multiple hats in his role at ONTRAPORT: story producer, blog author, scriptwriter, and content curator -- all of which get his creative juices flowing. On top of that, he's an avid film enthusiast. Name any movie and there's a pretty good chance Martin can tell you all about it.