The value of content marketing

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A recent post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network written by Alexander Jutkowitz, vice chairman and chief global strategist at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, explores the significance of content marketing, which he says is “more than a mere marketing fad.”

Content marketing has reinvigorated brands and the agencies that manage their communication with consumers. Marketers are are increasingly shifting budgets from traditional marketing efforts to content, and the Content Marketing Institute reported 90% of B2C marketers use content marketing in 2014, compared to 86% last year. Mr. Jutkowitz says content marketing has taken off because it “responds to consumer preference.” Consumers are more likely to engage with content than with traditional marketing messaging. Increasingly, consumers gravitate away from “Buy now” and “Click here” or product benefits messaging, so these tactics have become less effective. Today’s sophisticated consumers prefer content — text, video or image — that resonates with them.

Thinking about the daily habits of consumers and the competition for their attention, the shift to content marketing makes perfect sense. Consumers are surfing the web on computers, chatting with friends on Smartphones and streaming TV on iPads. People are inundated with an infinite number of things to watch, read and engage with across the web. Brands are not just competing with each other anymore, they are also competing with the influx of YouTube videos, Facebook feeds and iPhone apps that steal the attention of prospective customers.

Mr. Jutkowitz says content marketing is an opportunity for brands to produce ideas and become thought leaders—to become more than salespeople. From Mr. Jutkowitz’s blog:

“Brands are no longer merely peddling products; they’re producing, unearthing, and distributing information. And because they do, the corporation becomes not just economically important to society, but intellectually essential as well.”

He makes a great point. The ability to communicate ideas, not just product benefits, is a new world for brands of every shape and size. The trick is finding a way to do this authentically, with content that ties back to the organization’s bottom line.

Read Mr. Jutkowitz’s full post from July 1st 2014 on the HBR Blog Network.

More reading on content marketing:

-posted by Elizabeth Pace

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