One of the newest and most innovative uses of digital publishing technology is in custom publishing, which includes affinity content and companion advertising content, which is also known as “content marketing”. Content marketing is now a major part of the communications and marketing strategy in many industries. As always, in industry and throughout every genre the goal is to find and retain customers by engaging them with relevant, interesting information.
In the new multi-platform environment, digital publications don’t just compete with other magazines. They compete with any media that take up consumers’ time. Because of the multitude of information available on various platforms, marketing and advertising has to be high quality and must not feel like aggressive advertising. It’s very important for digital publishers is to focus on making their content available wherever and whenever customers want to engage, encompassing a multi-platform strategy, including digital, print, and websites.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focusses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistently branded content to attract and retain a specific audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action and enhance consumer behavior.
Content marketing allows brands to communicate with their customers and prospects without overtly selling. It is a non-intrusive marketing method that delivers information to make the buyer more intelligent. The basic philosophy of this content strategy is the understanding that if businesses deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately become loyal clients.
Marketing is impossible without quality content, delivered in a way that makes it receptive to the audience. Solid content is part of all forms of marketing, including social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), PR strategies and inbound marketing. Consumers don’t want to read advertising. They want interesting, engaging content. It isn’t important that the line between digital and print continues to blur. Every digital strategy must include content that is created and customized for each part of a multi-platform environment. At this time print magazines are still the anchor of most content marketing strategies, and readers still want print magazines, but increasingly brands that don’t embrace multiple platforms are at a disadvantage.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that affinity magazines, those that focus on reader-driven specific content, are the most successful at increasing brand engagement. Content marketing is all about the customer experience. It’s about immersing the consumer in the brand and focusing on the specific needs of the target audience. Content marketing lends itself very well to addressing a subject or genre and making the reader feel as if their needs are being met overall. The difference between a brochure that pushes products and a magazine that inspires readers is the way it makes them feel. Today’s consumers do not want to feel sold. They want to be engaged and understood. The story is the thing and the delivery is the hook.