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Why Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left

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Why Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left

Why Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left

With more people using ad-blocking software to shut out unsolicited ads, the future looks bleak for marketers. But content marketing is the silver lining. And there are many reasons why the future is bright.

Traditional marketing relies on outbound systems. It’s about reaching out to consumers to interest them in your product. This approach subjects consumers to marketing messages they don’t want. 

Content marketing is inbound. It’s about creating and sharing content that helps consumers achieve their goals without asking for anything in return. Who can say no to free help?

Consumers can now research their challenges online, increasing content’s value. When you share information that helps consumers live better, they will keep coming back for more. And when they need a product or service you deal in, they’ll naturally choose you over your competitors.

What’s the Purpose of Content Marketing?

The purpose of content marketing depends on the brand and where the consumer is in their customer journey. Here are some of the things content marketing does.

Gives Consumers Information They Need

The right content can help clarify a consumer’s thoughts so that they can make an informed decision. Regardless of the content type, the goal should be to feed your audience the information they need to get out of a jam or crush a milestone. Do this long enough, and your audience will see your brand as a source of truth.

Creates Brand Awareness

Content marketing increases your reach. Consistently sharing your knowledge and resources will improve awareness of your brand.

Some consumers of your content will share your posts with their family and friends. Some will share them on their social media channels and in their communities.

Brand awareness is your first step toward converting prospects because nobody buys from a brand they don’t know.

Generates Interest in Your Brand and Products

Many entrepreneurs expect the world to jump at their businesses when they launch. But your business won’t get traction if you don’t work to generate interest around it. Content marketing gives you the power to do that.

While sharing content that makes life better for your audience, find natural opportunities to show how your products or services will help them achieve their goals.

Inspires Audience Engagement

Once you start sharing valuable content on your blog, social media, or newsletter, responses will follow. While not everyone will agree with what you post, sharing your knowledge will engage your audience, which keeps your brand top of mind.

Increases Sales

Once your content marketing strategy and execution are effective, it’s only a matter of time before the attention you’re garnering starts translating into sales. The more people know and engage with your brand, the more value they’ll attach to your content, and the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.

Why is Content Marketing So Important?

Content marketing is vital to brands for various reasons, depending on your business’s needs and how you choose to use content. Here are some of the reasons content marketing is important for brands.

Customers Want It

Consumers are no longer satisfied with just sales-specific information. Traditional marketing gives the customers just enough information to get them to buy a product or service. Content marketing gives consumers the information they need to choose who to buy from and why. Customers want information that helps them make informed purchases.

Builds Trust and Loyalty

You don’t earn customer trust and loyalty by telling them how trustworthy you are. You need to show it with content that demonstrates your brand authority, trustworthiness, and subject-matter expertise. High-impact content takes customers from where they are to where they want to be. It informs, educates, and entertains them.

Creates Brand Awareness

Your prospective customers need to know your business exists for you to have a fighting chance at conversion. Content marketing is your chance to do that in a non-invasive way. Your brand personality and values will naturally shine through when you create content on topics relevant to your customers. That will give you more publicity.

Tells You About Your Audience

Content marketing sets you up to know more about your audience in new ways. First, you’d want to understand what, where, when, and how they consume information. Then, while sharing content, you’ll be able to know what your audience likes to read, listen to, or watch by analyzing your readership data. This information will help you understand their interests and empower you to improve your product.

Drives Traffic to Your Site Through SEO

Optimizing your blog content allows search engines (like Google) to find and serve your content to your audience. This aids search visibility.

A HubSpot survey found that businesses with SEO-optimized blog content get 55% more visitors, making their marketing team leaders 13 times more likely to achieve a good ROI.

Generates High-Intent Leads

Content serves up leads that are more likely to become paying customers. They don’t struggle to understand how your brand, its products, and its values fit into their lives. They already know because they’ve consumed your content. And content marketing enables you to write SEO-optimized bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content that targets people ready to buy a product or service.

Affordable for Small Businesses

Content marketing is cheaper than paid ads. You can also get significant results even if you start small. Unlike paid advertising, which depends on how much money you can throw into it, content marketing levels the playing field. 

Why is Content Marketing the Only Form of Marketing Left?

Today’s consumers are much more focused on themselves and what’s good and valuable to them. That’s why interruption tactics no longer work. The focus on information when, where, and how the customer wants it is just one reason content marketing is the only form of marketing left. There are some other reasons too.

Most Consumers Use Mobile Devices

Consumers call the shots, so the best marketing efforts must meet them where they are.

One in every five people spends more than 4.5 hours daily on their phones. Add that to their sleep and work hours, and you’ll see why people don’t have time for TV or other traditional media.

When people are on their phones, they aren’t looking to be marketed to. They’re looking for valuable content that helps them navigate their daily challenges.

Consumers Search and Shop Online

With the rise of digital media, consumers shop more online than ever before. They research the products they want to buy from the comfort of their homes. They avoid the stress of travel and people associated with brick-and-mortar stores and can make purchasing choices as they research every step.

Your Search Visibility and Traffic Depend on Content

Helpful content gets search engines to notice and present your website content to people looking for the products or services you provide. Be sure to balance the creative with the scientific. You need high-quality content to give your readers a good user experience. But you also need to optimize your content for search engines to serve it to those looking for it.

Millennials Are Tech-Reliant

Millennials (consumers born between 1981 and 1996) are the largest demographic, and they make most of their purchases online. These factors make it easy for content marketers to get their attention since content marketing relies on technology.

Trust is Increasingly Important

Consumers are overwhelmed with marketing messages. Your brand needs to stand out with content that earns their trust quickly. Because when it comes down to it, only brand trust and authority will separate your claims from those of a random brand. It will give your prospects a solid idea of what your product does and how it works, which will reduce their doubts.

Legacy Media are Becoming Obsolete

The rise of digital content has crippled traditional media. Audiences now prefer the convenience of consuming digital content over traditional media. And because attention is the currency in marketing, the money will go wherever the audience goes.

What are the Best Content Marketing Methods?

There are various content marketing methods, so the mix you use is up to you. It’s all about what works best for your brand and audience. But some methods seem important for every business to use on some level.

Content marketing methods that benefit most businesses are:

  • Websites. Websites are ideal for sharing information that helps your audience while informing them about your product or service and letting you buy directly from the site. Your website is part of your owned media, and the audience you build there is yours for as long as you want. As a distribution channel, websites can host all types of content — text, images, audio, and video, allowing you to share content that appeals to more people.
  • SEO-Optimized Blogs. Your potential and existing customers are looking for answers to their questions, and search engines have become their trusted sources of information. Consumers run 8.5 billion searches on Google alone every day. You will attract customers with SEO-optimized content.
  • Lead Magnets. Lead magnets are free resources potential customers can get in exchange for their contact information. Marketers use them to lure prospective customers into their email lists, where they can then nurture them into customers. Your lead magnet could be a tutorial, e-book, workbook, or industry report. In any case, be sure your lead magnet is specific, promises your audience a quick win, and solves a real problem for them.
  • Email. If you follow the “email is dead” bandwagon, you’ll miss out on the chance to earn $36 from every $1 you spend. Email is as alive as it gets. This content marketing method is particularly effective for lead nurturing. That’s because it allows you to send personalized emails directly to your audience’s inbox. This approach allows you to address their specific pain points and aspirations.

Conclusion

Content marketing results ultimately depend on your strategy, budget, and nature of business. But you can never go wrong with content marketing investments. Regardless of your industry, your existing and potential customers have loads of questions and challenges they need answers to on an ongoing basis. If your content can help them, they’ll grow to trust you, buy from you, and become loyal to your brand.


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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 

Meaning… 

DXP 

Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 

Welcome 

Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 

DAM 

Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 

PIM 

Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 

Web 

Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 

Personalization 

Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 

ODP 

Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 

 

So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 

 

Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 

 

Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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