Chasing the impossible: Building an audience organically
Content marketing is the big picture that provides valuable knowledge to raise brand awareness while targeting a group of potential, loyal customers.
If it comes easy, it won’t last. This holds true for advertising, which may seem simple, but certainly has its perils and quite literally comes at a hefty price. Ad-blockers today, are costing advertisers billions in returns.
According to a PageFair 2017 report, India alone has an ad block rate of 38%. The rising graph of ad-blockers stems from the fact that marketers are inclined towards native in-stream ads that disrupt user experience, and let’s admit it, none of us enjoy that.
Which eventually, boils down to whether ad spends are worth the ROI. Yes, we are earning followers online. Yes, there is a recall value given that the content is brilliant. But how many clicks result in conversions?
Over the years, it has become somewhat easier to stop pondering over these questions and go down the traditional route with organic content marketing. Content marketing is the big picture that provides valuable knowledge to raise brand awareness while targeting a group of potential, loyal customers. It aims at retaining consumers while focusing on the end result of sales and conversions.
But, apart from being relatively free, why exactly is content marketing king in an ad-driven world? Customer relations are the cornerstones of great content marketing: Involving the audience in content creation, bringing to the table, something relatable and relevant is undoubtedly a win-win situation. Rest assured your target audience will revisit for more.
Content is shareable: This is what we absolutely love about organic content. An ad is short-lived but organic content isn’t. Once your post is up there for good, it is easy to share with their circle and that’s probably the best way one can market it. Which now brings us to the next question—as a brand, with so much competition out there, how do you stay in the limelight without ads?
Firstly, and most importantly, involve those who matter; your audience. It takes a village to build a brand. Consider your audience to be that village. In 2015, Oreo India hit the nail on the head with its #PlayWithOreo campaign which encouraged the audience to create doodles, cook up innovative games and other enjoyable tasks that involved the biscuit. With a 360-degree campaign, by a biscuit company, which for so long was meant for children, Oreo succeeded in reaching out to teen and adult artists, resulting in a sales volume increase of 6% (http://lighthouseinsights.in/oreo-playwithoreo-case-study.html/) over 6 months and skyrocketing results across social media.
Secondly, if you choose to ride on social media trends make sure you keep it real. Don’t fall prey to trending hashtags and memes if they aren’t associated with your brand. It results in being an absolute put-off.
Thirdly, ensure your content is evergreen. Build your articles and posts around common characteristics that don’t fade like passing trends. Update existing posts to keep in line with new formats, so as to bring in a fresh perspective with the changing times. According to a 2017 report by Orbit Media, marketers who regularly update older content are 74% more likely to see positive results (https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogging-statistics/). Given that visual memory is more powerful than the others, it is almost mandatory to include strong visual content like infographics and statistics. These can double or even triple your click-through rate while keeping the reader coming back for more informative, captivating content.
Lastly, keep posting irrespective of the traffic on your website. In spite of tough competition from leaders like LinkedIn and Hootsuite, employee-advocacy company EveryoneSocial drove sales by 10%-15% (https://blog.leadfeeder.com/double-organic-sales-leads/), organically, in just a year. It adapted to changing trends, using a gamut of tools including SEO practices, call-to-actions and most importantly, publishing content daily. EveryoneSocial proves to be a good lesson in patience and consistency.
Organic content marketing is an ongoing, slow process that relies completely on your material and ability to reach out to your audience. But it certainly is a satisfying, sustainable process with a genuine client base; one that you don’t invest in but continue to reap good returns from.
The writer is CEO & Director at Zirca Digital Solutions.