Digital Compound Interest
Every day it becomes more and more clear that Content Marketing is the future. It is what marketing departments need to invest in to achieve long-term competitive advantage and sustainable revenue growth.
Content Marketing is the use of diverse media types to inform customers about products and services and create an emotional long-term bond between the customer and the brand. It’s also a great way to get recognized by the search engines algorithms, which may be a nice side effect. Maybe?
Just as your money accrues interest as it sits in the bank, Content Marketing accrues interest and compound interest as it sits on the web, accelerating awareness for your brand and therefore your ability to acquire new customers. Additionally it may be recognized by the search engines algorithms, which is the real deal after all. That’s the real deal!
Though marketing departments and agencies may dislike admitting it, advertising in classical media like newspapers, magazines, yellow pages, radio, and TV no longer have the same effect that they had 10 or 20 years ago. These media all have shrinking audiences, making any ad you place there less effective.
So what about online advertisements? Is this an alternative? At this point, most people have at least heard of Google AdWords, and many people have also tried it, but does it work? Though this may still be better than a Newspaper ad, even here, a clear decline is being felt. Especially because the important keywords are all captured by large players or unacceptable expensive.
If you are considering any other traditional online advertising forms, like banner ads, you are better off not advertising at all. Rather than inform their customers, banner ads annoy them. Internet users are so used to them at this point that their brains have long since learned to block them out, meaning if you place an ad at the top of an internet page, people will scroll right past it. Make it bigger and more invasive, and you begin creating negative connotations for your brand, as your are now hindering your audience from consuming the information they want to consume. Pages that still use these types of ads will quickly see their traffic diminish.
Advertisements are annoying. That is the bitter reality.
So what are advertisers to do? Start over. Advertisers are going back to the very roots of the industry, refocusing their efforts on information rather than simple exposure. Now it’s about creating content that explains the benefits of a product, shows how to use it, and teaches how it can make the customer better, faster, and more successful. That is Content Marketing.
100 years old and more successful than ever: The success story of the early 20th century.
Content Marketing is all about delivering information to your (potential) customer in an interesting and engaging format. It is not advertising, but rather storytelling with a dual purpose: It provides useful information while bringing a smile to your audience’s face at the same time.
Having well-made, engaging information is key to getting your message read, heard, and watched. If you haven’t invested in high-quality content, how can you expect anyone to read more than a few sentences of your article or watch more than a few seconds of your video? If they don’t do this, how can you expect them to receive your message? They won’t.
If you can get your audience to engage with your content to the end, however, the impact will be so much greater than a simple ad.
A satisfied customer will return.
An enthusiastic customer will return with their friends.
Content Marketing is not magic. It is a process that demands investment, but it is an investment that pays out in spades. Every well-produced image, article and video you create has short, middle, and long-term potential to accrue interest and compound interest for your brand.
With more traditional marketing, the goal is to drive the customer to the register. With Content Marketing, this is not necessarily the case. Though it is always a very nice “side-effect” when your customer goes directly to the register immediately after seeing your content, the primary goal of Content Marketing is to inform, demonstrate competence and expertise, and to prepare your customer for the idea of buying from your company sooner or later and then coming back again and again.
You have to give to receive. This may be one of the key principles of Content Marketing. First you have to provide your customers with enough valuable information that they begin to trust you. By giving your customer really amazing and helpful content, you establish yourself as a trustworthy source and created a personal connection between you (or your company) and your customer. Why would they now buy anywhere else?
This is where the payoff for all that investment comes in.
Investments in Content Marketing accrue interest.
If your customer needs whatever you have to offer, they are going to buy it somewhere. The question is just a matter of where and when. The goal of Content Marketing is to ensure that they feel an emotional connection to you and your company and will therefore buy from you instead of running to your competitor during their big annual sale.
Think, for example, about a cyclist. How much further do you think a cyclist would travel to go to the store that offers “how-to” videos on YouTube to help them fix their bike and provides a list of good bike routes in their area? Do you think they would drive an extra mile to go there rather than some other nameless shop? An extra 10 miles?
Have you ever heard of Speedo?
In the past year, I started swimming. My doctor said I needed to start strengthening my core to avoid problems down the road and recommended swimming as a good, low-impact solution. Unfortunately, after a couple of months, I started having problems with my shoulder.
Annoyed as I was that my “health program” was making me feel worse, I naturally complained to a friend, who informed me I was probably doing my strokes incorrectly. Five minutes later I found a 3-minute video on Google that showed me the proper technique for doing breaststroke without stressing my shoulders. Lo and behold, I was doing it wrong. After implementing the tips from the Speedo-sponsored video, I quickly saw my shoulder problem diminish and eventually completely disappear.
This simple video freed me from my pain and helped me get healthy, and I will never forget Speedo for this. Should they have chosen another advertising form (e.g. a banner on NYTimes.com or at my subway stop) I would have never noticed it. Through their clever Content Marketing, however, they got me to go out and buy a Speedo swimsuit. That is what I would describe as the “Interest-Effect” of Content Marketing. Now let’s look at this thing I’m calling “Compound Interest.”
Compound interest in the online universe.
What is compound interest exactly? Well, at your bank, this is when interest is added to the principal of a deposit or loan so that the added interest also earns interest from then on. A bit complicated, I know, especially when trying to explain it with words.
Thankfully, discussing the compound interest accrued through Content Marketing is a bit more simple, without any technical jargon or mathematical equations.
Compound interest is when your investment grows bigger and bigger over time.
Clear, simple, and also accurate.
So how does this all work? When content is published, for example this article or the video by Speedo, it is there as a single serving for any and everyone to find, see, and digest. Because things on the internet don’t just disappear, you can find content a minute, a week, or even years after it was initially published. As long as the content provided has a timelessness to it, it can still be used to connect to your audience.
Take, for example, a Google search to learn how to break down a chicken. The first two results in my list are both over five years old, yet I can still use them to achieve my goal. If this results in me remembering this person or company and perhaps booking their services, regardless of whether now or later, then the Interest-Effect has been achieved, and everyone is happy.
An example of Digital Compound Interest, on the other hand, would be when another author on another website links to this article here. Said other author has published their own article on Content Marketing and connected it directly to mine. For me, this could increase the amount of traffic to my site exponentially, especially if more than one author on more than one website links to me.
The more people driven to my site, the more exposure I have for my own products and services, and the more people my own Content Marketing reaches.
Content is everything
As I already mentioned, the production of content would already be worth the investment if only the Interest Effect came into play.
You produce something once, and it is there for forever.
That’s great! Now that we know exposure to your content can grow exponentially through other content producers actively linking to you, it seems like a no-brainer, right?
But now we come to the real question: how do I get other people to link to my content on their own site? Why on earth would anyone want to do such a thing? They are trying to promote themselves, right? So why would they want to link to me? Sounds strange…
Not really. People will link to your content because it provides their audience with valuable content that they either cannot or choose not to produce themselves. This can be done for a lot of reasons. Perhaps, like the Speedo informative video I mentioned, it allows me to illustrate something to my audience and spares me the time and effort of producing something of my own. Another reason would be that I know nothing about a subject pertinent to my own area of expertise and therefore link to a video from another expert as an added value to my readers. In doing so, I also simultaneously increase my own value. Finally, many people simply aggregate content from other people, and that is their value: Perhaps I am a news site I want people to spend more time on my page, so I link to other entertaining content, establishing me as a source of entertainment that people will keep coming back to as their one-stop-shop for fun content and information.
Regardless, the one major factor that will either make or break your content’s ability to be shared is it’s quality. If your content is not interesting, engaging, and well-presented, it simply won’t be shared.
The Internet quality revolution is upon us.
Good content is pushed to the top while bad content slowly disappears. This is a simple survival-of-the-fittest concept that has been around since long before the Internet. The only difference is that on the Internet it happens more rapidly. Quality gets recognition and shared. Uninteresting dribble is quickly pushed to the side and forgotten.
The rule of the moment is to create high-quality, interesting content.
If you are able to produce interesting, engaging content then you stand the chance of achieving something even greater than compound interest: Turbo Compound Interest. Also known as “going viral,” your content, once discovered, is shared and re-shared at a breakneck pace via social media.
For those still coming into the online world, social media is a general term that describes online platforms where people interact with circles and groups of other individuals to create an online network similar to our real-life social and professional networks. At this point, they are such powerful tools for driving the Digital Compound Interest Effect for your Content Marketing that they can no longer be dismissed or ignored. Amongst others, the most important would include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Word of mouth marketing and recommendations
If someone sees your image, article, or video on the Internet and likes it, then there is often a good chance that they will share it with their network via these social media sites.
When this happens, then your content is not only seen by your direct customers (interest) but by their friends and customers as well (compound interest)!
As a person’s network on social media is not limited by the physicality of “place,” it is generally much larger than their network is in real life. The average person (aka potential customer) has approximately 300 friends. This includes friends from their current time, place, and interests, but also childhood friends, former classmates from college, old teammates, and even colleagues from past positions. All of these are also potential customers for you.
If your content is really good and can get people excited, it is not unreasonable to assume that your direct connections will share it with their connections. On social networks, it is as easy as a mouse click. If that second line of connections interacts with your content, then you immediately and effortlessly reach a third line of connections. The cycle can go on and on without end. It sometimes gives me goosebumps to think about how quickly and easily really well-made and relatable content can be distributed through the simple click of a mouse.
That is the power of Content Marketing and Digital Compound Interest.
When content is shared and reshared by a large audience, we begin to speak about a viral effect (aka “going viral”). In the case of viral content, I think Compound Interest is too much of an understatement to truly convey its reach. Now we’re talking about Turbo Digital Compound Interest. Truly viral content doesn’t just reach hundreds or thousands of people. Viral content has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of viewers. For those few lucky souls, this can even reach billions of people! If you don’t believe me, just click here and look at the number in the bottom right-hand corner of the video box: over 2.4 billion views.
Think about the possibilities. How amazing would it be if you could even get 5 or 10 times as many people to view your current video or article as you currently have? Do you think you would stand that chance of having a few more customers at the end of the year? I would certainly be willing to bet so!
The only cost to you would be the work to produce the content. If you were able to make it go viral, the impact would be greater than any ad you could ever possibly pay for.
Content Marketing is the most effective method for customer acquisition and provides enormous long-term impact.
Content Marketing is a new medium through which you can have a massive long-term impact with minimal investment, especially when compared with classic advertising strategies. What’s more, even if your content isn’t initially a hit, its existence on the internet means it is ripe to be discovered at any time. Take, for example, this post from Ali Mese. It describes how, over a year after its initial publication, his content went viral and was read over 1,7 million times, with over 4 million website clicks! These are numbers that money simply can’t buy. In this case, all he needed was a little boost in the form of a Japanese blog that mentioned his article on its blog.
Talk about a Digital Compound Interest Effect!
Please share this article wit your family. your friends, your co-workers and everybody you know to experience the power of Digital Compound Interest!
Joachim (J.T. Story) is a storytelling expert for businesses who sometimes writes great stories about interesting places and happenings around the world.
How to develop great stories for your business you can read in his book ‘NoStoryNoBusiness’. For more please click here.
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Have you ever wondered how to improve your life quality by asking different questions? Here is maybe the answer: The Power of Questions