Nearly 77% of adults in the United States go online at least once a day, and 26% admit they’re almost always online. When they’re online, they’re checking email, social media, and researching items to buy, things to do, and places to see.

That’s where content marketing enters the picture. Content marketing uses informative written, audio, and visual storytelling to educate customers as they move through the buying cycle. A well-executed content marketing strategy generates excellent results over time. But it takes dedication, consistency, and teamwork to yield such results.

Content Marketing: Engage, Educate, Inform

Content marketing depends upon the strategic flow of materials, called ‘content,’ to a niche market. Good content marketing utilizes many channels to educate and inform customers. Content marketing does not explicitly sell; rather it stimulates interest in a product or service.

A good example of content marketing in action is for someone we’ll call Ken. Ken sells socks and footcare products for diabetics. He runs an e-commerce site and a small storefront. Ken uses content marketing through videos, his company’s blog, and several free booklets he has produced and shares online.

In his videos, he doesn’t sell socks or footcare products. Instead, he interviews doctors about the dangers diabetes poses to the feet and how diabetics can avoid infections and other foot problems. His booklets offer great footcare tips and are approved by a podiatrist. His blog offers inspiring stories of diabetic athletes, recipes and tips to manage diabetes.

You’ll notice something missing from this content: a hard sell. Ken doesn’t pitch his socks or other products directly. Instead, he shares plenty of information to help people live a healthier life. The doctor interviewed in the videos describes the importance of good circulation to the feet, but not once are Ken’s brand of socks mentioned.

Instead, Ken is educating diabetics (his target, niche audience) on the importance of good footcare. Through this series of content pieces, Ken educates and informs his target audience so that they turn to him as their expert on diabetic footcare products… and yes, they buy the socks!

The Effectiveness of Content Marketing

Content marketing requires expert writers, graphic designers, and videographers who can tell a compelling story. It takes time to generate content and build an audience. Are the results worth it?

  1. High quality content produces 7.8 times more site traffic.

    It pays to invest in the best content you can afford. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content leaders produce 7.8 times more website traffic than advertising alone. Once you get people to your website, the site’s contents can convert them into leads or buyers.

  2. Content marketing costs 67% less than inbound ads and keeps people engaged for 37 seconds.

    Content marketing costs, on average, much less than running an inbound advertising campaign alone. Perhaps more importantly, it keeps people’s attention much longer. According to some experts, over 200 million people have ad-blocking software on their computers. This reduces the number of people who view your paid ads, but not your content. Consider this when developing your marketing campaign.

  3. Content offers shareable materials – which increases reach and brand exposure.

    People love sharing informative infographics, videos, articles and more with their friends and colleagues. They almost never share advertisements. Blog content remains the most shared, so a blog for your website should be the cornerstone of your content marketing campaign.

  4. Younger audiences love podcasting. 45% of people ages 18-34 listen to podcasts once a week or more.

    Podcasting offers a great method of content marketing for younger audiences. If you sell products or services to the 18-34 age group, podcasting may be the cornerstone of your campaign rather than blogging. Services such as Podbean, Blog Talk Radio and many others offer the ability to quickly establish a podcasting channel. Syndication through Google, Apple products and others quickly increases audience reach for many podcasters.

  5. YouTube reaches 2 billion people globally. More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day.

    Do your products or services lend themselves to video storytelling? YouTube reaches one in three people worldwide. If you produce videos, consider uploading a separate version to Facebook. The Facebook platform prioritizes direct uploads over shared YouTube links, so you’ll get more views.

These are just a few statistics on content marketing. Marketers worldwide continue to embrace content marketing as an effective way to reach customers without hyping their products. Customers continue to respond well to content marketing, making the investment in quality content great for long-term value. Adding content marketing to your overall strategy may be a win-win.

Considering content marketing? Dashboard Interactive offers video storytelling, professionally written content including blog posts, expert graphic design and more to build your content marketing strategy.