Content marketing is a buzzword that is used more often than some of us prefer. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing report by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 91 percent of marketers are using content marketing; but some SEOs are still asking if it’s a solid solution for link building. Within the buzz of content marketing, we’ve gone from the challenge of producing engaging content to the current challenge of producing enough engaging content while the challenge should be to deliver the right content, to the right people at the right time with the right placement.
What is context marketing?
Context marketing is nothing new—in fact, like most marketing tactics, it’s as old as the medium. In digital marketing, context marketing creates an experience for a user informed by the terms she types into a search box, her previous purchases, even her social network. It’s about connecting with a user exactly where she is instead of pushing a generic message onto a prospect. And that requires creating a personalized and engaging experience.
The CMI/Marketing Profs study also shows that 52 percent of marketers “want to produce the type of content that engages,” while 64 percent of marketers say their “biggest challenge is producing enough content” and the media has been flooded with branded content and more companies are still jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. Companies need to empower users and leverage them as producers, consider the circumstances that will inevitably form the user experience and embrace a message that isn’t embraced by loads of other brands to stand out in the marketplace.
The skeptical consumer to the empowered user
Most branded content within content marketing sneaks in a brand reference or product mention and inevitably creates a skeptical consumer. Instead of fostering skepticism, brands need to be open about their purpose and integrate their intentions into customer’s daily routines. It’s inevitable that selfish promotion will be ignored, while content marketers that truly provide help will be embraced.
Keyword content vs. contextual content
Consumers want to stop searching and start finding the value that brands can offer. The days of marketing content that matches keyword phrases are gone because consumers don’t want to find information that matches the keyword phrases – instead, consumers want information with contextual meaning. With its new algorithms, Google has supported users’ insistence that content should merge with the context.
Moreover, marketers need to empower users by adopting contextual content that reflects a brand’s personality and encourages consumers to communicate within the brand conversation. Ethical marketers will need to consider a fluid audience with less focus on producing more content and more focus on leveraging the circumstances that form the user experience.
Context is just as fluid as a brand’s audience, and means different things to different consumers. A product, the experience, the service and the organization play a fundamental role here; and offering an experience that is honest, transparent, useful and reliable is important and will gain user interest.
A brand’s capacity to influence consumers ultimately depends on its ability to attract and retain customers. Although measuring business investments is important it is more important to remember that consumers are measuring businesses by their impact on social outcomes. In 2014, context will be an integral element of content marketing—and brands that embrace context marketing will win the year.