Do you remember back in high school when all your teachers were absolutely certain that their own subject was the most important? Even if they wouldn’t openly admit it, each teacher left no doubt about which subject you should put the most effort and time into.
Content marketing is guilty of being the same way.
Many content agencies will sing lyrical about the benefits of content marketing, hailing it as king above all else. After all, 27 million pieces of content are shared every day, companies that blog get five times the traffic of those that don’t, and 67% of consumers were more likely to purchase after finding a new product online.
No one will deny that content is an extremely important part of marketing, but a king is nothing without his court. He needs a queen, rooks, knights – even pawns – to win the game.
Don’t forget that these other players as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
The Knight: Traditional Advertising
Before you relegate TV and radio ads to museums, remember that there are plenty of convincing arguments for them as well. Ads are often the first time a customer becomes aware of a product – they are a pipeline for information, and they can aid in creating customer preferences that lead to purchasing.
In 2014, the total expected ad spend was $180.12 billion. Yes, billion. This style of marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The Bishop: Branding
Your brand is your company’s personality. It will outlive any product runs, any campaigns, and most of your CEOs. It will make a consumer pick your product over that of a competitor’s, and it’s part of what will make your staff proud to work for you.
One example of the power of branding is a story told in marketing schools the world over. When Apple brought out the iPod, it asked reviewers to compare their product to the latest MP3 on the market. Each reviewer said the MP3 was better in every way, but when offered the choice to take one home at the end of the day, every reviewer chose Apple. Building a strong, desirable, highly respected brand can mean everything for a business.
Unlike advertising, which is generally used to promote a certain product, branding is the exercise whereby a company invests money into carving out its overall personality, making any product or service it provides inherently more valuable.
The Rook: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If you work in marketing, by now you know you need to pay attention to SEO. With frequent Google algorithm updates, such as the recently dubbed “Mobile-geddon“, and the population’s ever-increasing dependence on having constant internet access through a variety of devices, SEO is essential to any marketing strategy. Organic search is the largest driver of online traffic, and the number-one listing gets 33% of all traffic, while most people won’t ever scroll past the first page. If you have a website (and in 2015, you’d better have a website) you need solid SEO management.
The Queen: Direct marketing
While content marketing talks to anyone who comes along, direct marketing knows your customers’ names, addresses, likes and dislikes, whether they’re a cat or a dog person and what size shoe they wear.
It takes that knowledge and uses it to personalise a company’s communications to the customer. This can be done via email, push notification, or even snail mail and still be highly valuable.
When the Direct Marketing Institute conducted a study on the matter it found that of the 1,232 people surveyed, 74% of them said personalisation was important in their dealings with brands.
Content is awesome. It rules, even. But it takes more than a king to win over the people.