I’m a reader. If I had to choose only one way to receive information – and even entertainment – it would be through the written word. I have one of those brains incapable of looking at print without reading it.
While I’m not gullible, I do trust the written word for its ability to inform. I prefer making purchasing decisions based on my own research. Certainly a polished sales pitch makes me uncomfortable.
Shift in consumer behaviour
I’m not alone. We’ve seen an unremitting change in consumer behaviour since the general public embraced the internet. Consumers, for the first time in history, have the opportunity to educate themselves about purchasing decisions. All data points to the fact they believe what they read, especially when a lot of perfect strangers recommend a product or service to them.
Think about the last time you made a significant purchase, something costing $1000 or more. How did you decide what to buy? What was the first step? I bet it wasn’t heading to your nearest shopping centre to speak with sales people from each competing company. I’d put money on the fact you did a Google search.
People want information
Behind the millions and billions and trillions of internet searches done every day on Google, YouTube, Twitter and Bing, someone is looking for information. If you can provide them the vital piece of data they need – and do it with more authority than anyone else – you’re on your way to capturing your next customer. By developing content your prospective customer wants, you’re putting yourself on the modern path to riches.
If you can produce that same content in a variety of formats, you’ve cast your revenue net even wider. Videos, infographics, images and Powerpoint presentations are alternative ways to snag consumers with different content cravings. Your message is the same but the package you deliver it in is different.
Your content is an asset to your business
Content is an asset. It hangs around, unlike traditional advertising campaigns which evaporate as soon as they’ve gone to air or been used to wrap the fish guts. Consumers have taken control of the sales process by doing their own research and have an insatiable appetite for information. Any business providing quality information – quality content – is ahead of the pack. The smart ones are making it fun and encouraging interaction along the way.
I can’t imagine the consumer relinquishing this control, can you? But it doesn’t mean business has lost control. Social networking and the rise of the blogger makes distribution easier and more affordable than any time in history. Business has more opportunity than ever before to influence the consumer market and they can do it all with content.
Join me at Content Marketing World Sydney
If you want to learn more about how content marketing can help your business, join me at Content Marketing World Sydney. I’ll be giving a workshop on the afternoon prior to the event and will be attending every second of the conference. You can register here and make sure to use the SYDSPEAK discount code to receive $100 off your registration fee.
Will you be attending Content Marketing World Sydney?
This article appeared in a lightly edited form on 28 January 2013 in the print edition of The West Australian newspaper.
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net