More than 87 percent of marketing executives are increasing their expenditure on content in 2017. Increasingly, that investment is going to “early stage content” — customer-focused material that provides educational value without explicitly selling. The brand building and soft sell content that has been deemed a “fuzzy value” in seasons past is gaining in favor.
Instinctively, successful marketers are recognizing that “templated blogs” — put a keyword here, a backlink here, and insert at least 1–2 calls to action in the beginning third of your piece — are “last season.” The complaints of “unless I can see how many products that piece of copy sold, that investment was wasted” are going away.
A new research report from New York-based Conductor.com is giving measurable weight to these instincts by shedding light on the way value-add content influences decisions to buy. In this study, 500 consumers were divided into two equal groups of 250. (Readers can get a copy of the full study here.) The groups were invited to interact with 3 product categories — blenders, hiking backpacks and outdoor speakers — and were presented with 12 brands. The first group was given a piece of educational content to read about each product category. Participants were asked comprehension questions about the material they’d read and were then invited to interact with the products and brands. The second group was given no material to read in advance, but was taken directly to the products and brands.
It should come as little surprise that consumers were much more inclined to purchase from the vendors who’d authored the educational materials, even though the material was entirely non-promotional and covered topics such as “how to make almond milk,” “how to get started in hiking,” and “top tips for hosting a successful party outside.”
However, the level of difference was shocking. Consumers were 131 percent more likely to buy from a brand after reading the educational content. When deciding among four brands, 83.6 percent were more willing to buy from the brand who’d produced the material they had read.
Additionally, they considered the brands who’d provided the content helpful (78 percent), trustworthy (64 percent) and reported positive feelings toward the companies who had generated the content. One week later, consumers were still 48 percent more willing to buy from the vendors who’d provided the content.
But even more interesting — whether the customers purchased or not, their positive associations with the authoring vendors continued to grow over time. One week later, trust in the authoring brands had grown from 64 percent to 73 percent and positive association had grown from 66 percent to 74 percent.
Contrast this experience to the annoyance factor consumers feel about brands who blare promotional material and attempt to manipulate customers by presenting them with “articles” that quickly dissolve into ads.
The verdict is clear: Vendors who are willing to put customers’ interests first in the development of content are ruling the day.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please share and recommend it so others can find it!
Would you like to be a published thought leader?
If so, get my free Definitive Guide to Thought Leadership ebook here. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about turning your knowledge into business. Additionally, you can download the 7-Step Thought Leadership checklist and subscribe to the free Snappington post newsletter here.
Author: Cheryl Snapp Conner
Cheryl Snapp Conner is founder and CEO of SnappConner PR and creator of Content University™. She is a popular speaker, author and columnist.
All ingredients in our luxurious Just Pure Essentials products are very specifically chosen with strict principles and criteria for their effectiveness, quality, gentleness on the skin and health factors on the body. All of our ingredients are 100% plant based, 100% vegan, safe if ingested and gentle on sensitive skin and bodies. We use only cold pressed oils, butters, waxes and whole herbs that have been used around the world for centuries in health, beauty and healing.