It’s the biggest thing in the marketing and advertising world: “Content Marketing.” Content marketing leverages articles, videos and social channels to attract and engage an audience online.

Rather than being overtly sales-focused, content marketing is geared more towards storytelling and building a relationship with an audience. It gives people an opportunity to see a brand as a trusted resource, source of entertainment or relevant in today’s world. And as our world becomes increasingly more digital, brands continue to invest in content marketing and see the results:

  • 69% of businesses plan to increase their content marketing budgets
  • 63% of businesses use paid social media channels to boost their content distribution
  • 44% of marketers say improving the quality and value of content has led to more success

So what’s it take to create content that resonates with audiences and continues to drive engagement? Here are three content marketing keys to keep in mind – and a few brands that do it best.

1. Know the audience
Content marketing is most successful when the content is relevant and interesting to its target audience. With every piece of content, great brands leverage key insights about their audience to make sure it’s successful.

A good example is Spotify’s Wrapped Playlists. At the end of the year, Spotify users get a fun and engaging breakdown of all the music they’ve listened to over the year and a customized playlist of their favorite songs. Users can then share these Spotify stats and playlists with friends online. In this content marketing move, Spotify was able to tap into their audience’s love of music and social sharing in one amazing idea.

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Brands should make sure to tap into their deep understanding of their audience to create engaging content like this.

2. Keep up with trends
Summer vacation, the big game, new fashions…So much of a consumer’s online experience is informed by what’s going in the world around them. Great content marketers leverage these trends to keep their content fresh.

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A global CRM software, Salesforce does an excellent job making sure its content stays current for its B2B audience. The Salesforce blog is a great resource for the latest digital marketing news. And with everybody talking about AI, Salesforce created a dedicated sub-section of their blog with AI updates and how it can impact business strategy.

It’s a reminder for brands to stay on top of relevant news and trends to inform their content creation.

3. Inspire consumers to continue their journey

Often when we encounter a brand online, it’s through digital ads. These ads prioritize driving sales and incentivize consumers to click. While great content marketing is usually less focused on a purchase step, it always keeps the door open for consumers to stay engaged and learn more about the brand.

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A popular makeup and skincare company among millennials and Gen Zers, Glossier seamlessly blends together articles and online shopping in their marketing emails. Subscribers can read about what’s new in makeup and skincare before scrolling down to browse products. This more sales-focused approach to content marketing keeps fans up to date and coming back for more. Brands should continue to find ways to connect their content marketing back to their broader sales strategy.

Keeping these three key traits top of mind help ensure a successful content marketing strategy. But one of the biggest content marketing challenges? Creating content is a tedious process. Coming up with ideas, shooting videos, writing blogs, reviewing metrics…It’s no surprise that over 50% of companies outsource their content creation to a marketing partner.* So if you’re ready to learn more about our content marketing approach and why we’re a great teammate, reach out.