8 Advantages of content marketing over traditional advertising

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is one of the best examples of content marketing.

This online-only campaign consisted of a video of a sketch artist first drawing women based on their own descriptions of themselves, then drawing them again based on someone else’s description. The differences were huge. The drawing based on the stranger’s description was always more attractive. The tagline reads: “You are more beautiful than you think.”

Not only was the campaign video distributed for free, it was the most-watched online branded content of 2013 and the third most shared branded video – far more successful in comparison to spend than any TV commercial could be. The video has now had over 63-million views to date.

Here are some of the many benefits of content marketing over traditional methods such as above-the-line advertising and PR.

1. Content marketing provides something of value to customers whereas traditional ads do not.
With an advertisement, customers often try to mute, ignore or get away from them as fast as they can. With content that’s tailored to what customers want or need, they end up spending hours with your content, developing a relationship with your brand and remaining engaged with your products.

2. Content marketing educates customers to the point that they’re ready to purchase your product.
Often people don’t purchase a product because they don’t realise how valuable it is or how badly they need it. Media-type content such as blog posts and YouTube videos can educate customers to the point that they’re ready to buy your product.

3. Content marketing creates a sense of reciprocity with customers.
As you give people more and more free content, customers arrive at a point where they want to reciprocate the benefit that they’ve received. They’ll come to a point where they’ll want to buy something from you to pay you back for all of the free content you’ve provided.

4. Content marketing attracts customers for free.
Instead of paying for advertising you can attract customers for the cost of writing a blog. If you write the content strategically each blog post will last you for the life of your business, and you’ll get a lifetime return on your investment. Thousands of people can read one post that took two to five hours to write. Whereas Google ads cost money to bring people to your site on a single visit, content is written once and can direct traffic to your site for years. In the end content becomes an asset but advertising is always an expense.

5. Content marketing creates content that gets shared.
Think about what people share online. They share content. If you look at any Facebook stream, around 90% of outside content being shared are links to content, not a link to a website. Even if customers like you enough to click on a share link on your homepage, they can only share it once because, after the homepage is shared, there’s no reason to share it again.

But with content, the same customer can share links to your site 10 weeks in a row. That’s 10 opportunities to reach their network multiplied by the size of their audience. If five people in their audience like the content and share it, the content gets multiplied again. The most important point is that people share content and not websites, making a piece of content much more likely to go viral than a link to your site.

6. Content marketing provides an SEO benefit.
For every blog post you publish, you have new content that can be indexed by Google. Without blog posts, your website may have 10 pages that can be indexed. After writing one post a week for a year, your website will have 52 more pages.

Even if the posts aren’t written super strategically, which at least some of them should be, you’ll have a total of 62 pages that can rank in Google for some term or another. That’s much better than 10, and much more likely to gain search engine traffic.

7. Content marketing increases traffic.
With podcasts as an example, you’ll reach an audience you may never have reached with blog posts or YouTube videos – you’ll reach people who listen to podcasts. Each of these audience members that finds your podcast will also find a link back to your site. By uploading podcast content onto iTunes, you’re creating another potential traffic source that doesn’t have to be paid for and another opportunity to get your message in front of an audience. By using YouTube, podcasts and blog posts, you’re creating three potential traffic sources for your website.

8. Content marketing is highly targeted.
One of the goals with any marketing campaign is to get your message in front of the largest, most targeted audience possible. A large audience means more people know about you, and a more targeted audience means that a greater percentage of the audience can potentially become buyers.

With content marketing, you develop content specifically produced for your customers. This is the type of content that’s likely to bring buyers back to your website. Not every reader becomes a buyer, but the audience is highly targeted and some of the audience members will eventually become your customers.

Post adapted from KISSmetric’s Guide to Content Marketing.