Semester Two: Why content is king.

Content marketing is defined as the process of creating and distributing relevant content to attract and engage with a target audience (Baltes, 2015). Content marketing, which can include blogs, photography, and videos, works to add value to a website and create an emotional connection with visitors. Treu (2014) notes that content marketing assists a brand to stand out from its competitors and is a vital tool for any online business. However, is content marketing is effective?

Harad (2016) is critical to note that content marketing can fail for two reasons, a lack of patience by business owners expecting fast immediate returns and poor quality content which is too standardised, and fails to appeal to the target audiences wants or needs. If done effectively marketers note that content marketing can assist to build a brand and encourage long – term consumer engagement (Matthews, 2014). Critically Matthews, like Harad, further negatively implies content marketing is based on Trial and error. It can take a long time to identify what works and what doesn’t when it comes to engaging with the target audience. Despite this major downfall content marketing is rated highly by marketers, with 53% believing it can effectively generate a return on investment (ROI) by engaging with consumers, further supported by only 4% of marketers believing it is an ineffective marketing tool which fails to deliver value (Chaffey, 2016). Research identified that content marketing an effective marketing strategy for companies who wish to increase involvement and engage with their target audience, with the overall ambition of achieving an emotional connection which encourages return business and increase profits in line with ROI. However,  the ability to generate a return on investment can be limited by ineffective planning and patience by business owners. 

Taking these limitations into account, when developing their content marketing strategy Modus Novels considered what their target audience of 16 – 55-year old’s with an interest in fashion and design would want to see within content marketing. Modus Novels have decided to incorporate a blog into their E-Commerce site, to add personality to the website and help engage with their target audience. To develop the style and content of posts a group of 40 people belonging to the target audience age range, were asked what they would like to see, the results are detailed below. 

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The quantitative research demonstrated two styles of posts were highly popular. Firstly, fashion news updates received a positive vote from 20 out of 40 people, it is clear that Modus Novels target audience would enjoy seeing posts relating to current affairs in the fashion sector. A second style of product promotions and reviews proved highly popular with 15/40 voting for this style, those for voted for this stated that they wanted to see a more in depth review of products on sale and how they may potentially be sold per season. For instance, Modus Novels may plan to sell and promote Suitcase magazine (a travel magazine) more in January than summer, as this is a time when people are typically seeking an escape from cold weather.

Modus Novels have decided to incorporate both post styles into their blog and content marketing strategy. Where it is hoped that by allowing their consumers to indicate what style of posts they want to see, the limitations of content marketing will be removed to help Modus Novels generate an effective return on investment.

Modus Novels have published two content blog posts since conducting their research.

The first, was a product “Christmas wish list” promotion post, where Modus Novels promoted potential products to their customers which they could buy as Christmas gifts.

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This post proved successful, when published in November it increased website visitors for a short period of time and even gained a positive review.

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The second post on a piece of fashion news had the same impact of increasing website visitors, however critically failed to gain any positive interactions from likes or comments.

Posts can be viewed at: http://paganlocke.worcestercomputing.com/wp/blog/

In conclusion, the research allowed Modus Novels to gain a clearer picture of the strengths and limitations of content marketing. From developing and creating their own strategy Modus Novels have seen these limitations applied, as while website visitors temporarily increased following new posts long-term engagement was not generated. A factor critics of content marketing state takes time as an relationship with the target audience is developed.

References:

Baltes, L. (2015). Content marketing – the fundamental tool of digital marketing. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brașov. Series V, Economic science, 8(2), p.112.

Chaffey, D. (2016). How effective is Content Marketing in 2016? – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice. [online] Smart Insights. Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/content-management/content-marketing-strategy/content-marketing-europe-2016/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

Harad, K. (2016). Don’t Avoid Content Marketing. Journal of financial planning (Denver, Colo.), 29(7), p.20.

Matthews, D. (2014). Forbes Welcome. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danmatthews/2014/07/31/how-effective-is-content-marketing/#6ab1e3e93be5 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

Treu, L. (2014). 6 Keys to Creating Sticky Content — The Content Strategist. [online] The Content Strategist. Available at: https://contently.com/strategist/2014/02/03/6-keys-to-creating-sticky-content/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

 

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