When was the last time you stopped and took notice of an advertisement? I mean really paid attention to it. The likelihood is that you can’t even remember. As consumers, we are now experts at filtering marketing messages and skipping past adverts to take us straight to the information we are seeking. Whether fast forwarding through the commercial break as we watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones or blocking ads as we shop online or scanning past them as we read a magazine (after we have opened out the pages and binned all the flyer inserts before we’ve even started, that is).

Advertising isn’t dying, the consumers are just getting smarter.

Consumer behaviour has changed, and this is where content marketing has evolved as a response to this shift. Information is replacing persuasion, and consumers can’t get enough of it. Knowledge is power. Businesses are addressing this by producing and distributing Content on a variety of marketing channels from Social Media, Blogs and Websites, Infomercials, Infographics, Podcasts, Apps, Print, and more.

Each piece of content has value. It could be a video tutorial from a coffee blender explaining the six steps to the perfect cappuccino; it could be an infographic from an accountant sharing small business advice; or a ‘how to’ blog from an events organiser on choosing your next conference venue, the list is endless. It shares knowledge and information in an open way. The aim is engaging your audience which is ultimately your defined customer group.

It’s selling, but not as we know it.

By being open with your audience, they get to know your business. And by giving away useful product information, snippets of privileged knowledge, or simple tutorial-style pieces, you start a conversation with your audience. You reward them before they have become your customer with the hope that they, in turn, reward you with their business and loyalty.

Content marketing showcases a wider picture of your brand and uses subtle marketing techniques rather than an apparent sales message. This builds a relationship between the business and the audience and ultimately builds consumer trust.

A blog is an effective channel for content marketing and can enhance a business website with the added bonus of providing fodder for the search engines, too. A constant stream of articles, videos, infographics, case studies or tutorials can enrich your website and engage your customers. Openly sharing knowledge from your area of expertise helps to establish you as an authority or thought leader within your industry. Your readers are privy to information that would normally come at a cost as the article writer is prepared to share openly their advice, knowledge or thoughts. But the really clever bit is sharing just enough to keep them interested and keep them coming back, as over-sharing could risk them no longer needing your services at all.