6 Reasons to Focus on Content Marketing in 2016There’s been a critical shift in online marketing.

While online marketing tactics once required heavy advertising expenses to get in front of an audience, that’s no longer the case. Many companies are now adopting a less sales-heavy marketing approach on the web: content marketing.

Content marketing uses high quality content to draw potential customers to a business, with the hopes that the content will help establish the company as a thought leader, set their expectations about buying and using a product or service, and ultimately convincing potential customers to become paying ones.

While many companies have been using content marketing as a strategy for years, the tactic is going to become even more critical in 2016. Check out the six reasons below to learn why.

1. Ad-Blockers are on the Rise

Ad-blockers are a technology that can prevent unwanted advertisements, like banners and pop-ups, from appearing on a web page. While they have been available for years as plugins on desktop web browsers, ad-blockers took a critical step forward this past year when Apple allowed ad-blocking technology in iOS 9. This means that people can now block digital ads while using their cell phones, greatly reducing the number of people who will ever see a digital ad.

Ad-blockers have caused a huge loss revenue for publishers and businesses (Adobe and PageFair) estimate the loss to be about $22 billion during 2015). While your potential customers may never see a company’s pre-roll video or sidebar ad, they will see (and appreciate) an informative blog or video they choose to consume after they’ve searched Google for a topic.

2. It Works Hand-in-Hand with Social Media

There’s no question that social media will remain one of the most popular ways that people connect in 2016. Take advantage of the mobile mindset this year and create content that people will want to share, instead of ads that feel annoying and intrusive. Getting customers to share your content on their social media profiles is not only a great way to build your brand’s reputation, it’s also an excellent way to take advantage of free promotion — and having more social media shares also boosts your site’s overall SEO.

Additionally, content marketing can fuel social media efforts, eliminating the question, “what should we put on our social media profiles.”

3. People are Consuming Things On-Demand

Our society is becoming one that likes to consume its media on-demand, instead of letting someone — like a television network — dictate when they should see it. Things like online video and television streaming services are more popular than ever. So, you can use content marketing this year to take advantage of this on-demand mindset. Offer things like blogs, videos and quizzes, then wait for your potential customers to come to you.

4. It Boosts SEO

Content marketing is an absolutely crucial step to boosting your site’s SEO. With more and more sites on the web, coming up on the first page in search engine results is critical for getting discovered online. Write blogs and high-quality written content filled with relevant keywords and topics this year, and you will help ensure that the money you invest in your online presence actually pays off.

Digital advertising strategies are shifting, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on Internet marketing as a lucrative avenue entirely. Instead, focus on creating high quality content that potential customers value; you may just see your business start to grow.

5. It’s a Great Compliment to Traditional Marketing and Paid Media

Let’s say you own a professional services company and place an ad on the radio. Your ideal customer is driving and your ad plays on the radio. Later that night, when things finally wind down for the day, your ideal customer recalls your ad and does a web search for your company. But it’s 9 o’clock, and your company is not open. They can’t talk to anyone then.

Content placed strategically on your website, though, is available 24 hours a day seven days a week. When your customers finally pick up that direct mail piece you sent or recall the ad they heard, will they find more than just your products and services on your website? Or will they find information that answers the questions they have?

6. It Helps Close the Sale

A prospect recently downloaded something from our company website and asked for an in-person meeting. When I showed up for the meeting, he had printed two white papers from our website. Rather than spend the meeting covering the basics, he already had many of his questions answered. This left us to focus on substantive conversation about his particular business.

Having content that is helpful for your potential customer at the various stages in the buying process will help you close sales, and the transparency will be appreciated. When you have nothing to hide as a seller of a product or service, your customer will take notice.

Is outsourcing content creation right for your company?