By now you should have a better understanding of what content marketing is, you may be wondering why you should use it. After all, creating content can take time and effort away from other things you could be doing for your business. It’s definitely not a magic pill that you can use to experience instant profit making results. It is however a very valuable process you can use multiple times to build your business.
As with any marketing endeavor, you have to take the time to create a strategy, to organize a plan and determine how you will measure your content marketing campaign. Yes, this takes time but it is time well spent. Just so you can understand how important content marketing is, here’s some stats that show clearly the value of creating content.
- 1. According to Nielsen, 58% of consumers trust editorial content.
- 2. 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement
- 3. 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and, they are also more likely to buy from that company.
- 4. B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms.
- 5. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
- 6. Interesting content is the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media.
What’s even more impressive to me is the number of good paying jobs available for a relatively new career category, “article, blog content writers” for businesses. Every day in my inbox I receive 15 to 30 new content creating job openings at various business within 100 miles of me. For sure that job category didn’t even exist 5 years ago.
In the few years that businesses have been incorporating content into their marketing strategy or creating marketing strategy around content, it has provided great value.
If you’re on the fence about content marketing because you’re wary of making the investment, consider that you’re already doing some form of content marketing without even realizing it. Your website, emails and company newsletters are all forms of content that you use to contribute to your company’s brand.
You may not realize it but you are already using content in your company business even if your intent isn’t to garner sales from it. Now it’s time to change how you view the communication pieces you create for your company. Everything you create has the ability to drive sales or build an audience.
Since you’re already creating content for your business, shouldn’t it help your bottom line?
Here are some additional benefits to help get you off the fence:
- 1. Content marketing is cost effective.
The root of content marketing is information that you already have. All you need is to put it in a format that can be easily shared and digested by potential customers. Some of those formats are free to create and distribute as will be discussed later. They do take time but once you’ve created a strong piece of content, it can often be used multiple times to generate income. So while the initial time investment may be fairly high, over time the benefits gotten from that piece of content will make that investment worthwhile.
- 2. Content marketing helps you build a relationship with your audience.
Any time you communicate with your audience, you make room for a dialogue which leads to a relationship. Brand loyalty comes when consumers have a relationship with a brand. Before content marketing, that relationship usually took years to develop. Now you can do it in a much shorter amount of time by sharing content that helps put a face to your company and brand. Pulling back the corporate veil to share insights into what drives your company and the values it represents helps create a much more meaningful connection with consumers. Content is the tool you can use to do that.
- 3. Content marketing lets you be a resource.
By sharing valuable information and insights with people, you can demonstrate the value that your company can provide. By presenting yourself as a resource, it gives you the opportunity to build a level of trust before people become customers. When customers trust you, they’re much more likely to become long-term clients. They’re also much more likely to refer other potential customers to your business.
- 4. Content marketing gives you a competitive edge.
If you’re not a multinational corporation with a huge marketing budget, it can seem daunting to get into the marketplace and compete effectively. You may feel like you don’t have the ability to compete especially if it’s in an industry with a few major players.
Sharing content gives you an edge because it levels the playing field. You have a unique perspective and can provide professional insight just like someone at a larger company. Multinational corporations don’t have a monopoly on knowledge. If you are talking about babies in your piece, you can share a picture that no one else has.
- 5. Content marketing isn’t industry specific.
Every industry can benefit from sharing valuable information and insight with consumers. You don’t have to be in a creative or entertainment oriented field to benefit from sharing content.
As long as you are providing value that people can use, you will benefit from content marketing.
- 6. Content marketing creates educated customers.
Sometimes as a business you spend a lot of time answering the same questions over and over again. This is why many business websites have frequently asked questions pages. It’s done in an attempt to field some of the more common questions asked to ensure that when consumers make contact, they’re knowledgeable. By sharing content, you help increase that level of knowledge even more. It makes your interactions with customers more focused on how you can help than and less focused on why they need your help.
- 7. Content marketing creates empowered consumers.
When people are informed and knowledgeable about something, they’re empowered to make informed decisions. When your customers are empowered, they can be more savvy and easier to work with. People can be appreciative when they are given the ability to become empowered, especially when it’s through the sharing of information. Appreciative customers can turn into long term clients.
- 8. Content marketing can lead to a viral campaign.
While it’s not a great idea to make content solely for the purpose of it going viral, you increase your odds that it will go viral by creating it. It can be tough to make a piece of content go viral largely because the factors that lead to that kind of exposure can vary and are tough to pin down. However, by creating content, you are much more likely to experience a viral piece of content than if you don’t create content at all.
- 9. Content marketing lets you control your message.
When you are the one creating the content being used to represent your business, you can control what that message is and what it says. You can determine who your ideal audience is and craft messages solely for them. You can also determine which piece of content will work best. Sometimes traditional advertising and marketing messages aren’t the best way to communicate with your ideal customer. Content marketing gives you the flexibility and control to do what’s best for your audience.
- 10. Content marketing allows you to recycle information.
When you create a valuable piece of content, it’s always possible to reuse that information for additional purposes. You can turn a white paper into a series of articles and then turn those articles into short videos. The possibilities for what you can do with your content are limited only by your own creativity and imagination.
Videos are a perfect example of non-text content marketing. They can be explainer videos or any other type, but preferably not a straight sales pitch. That’s not considered “content marketing”.
For example, here’s a video that explains inserting a theme into a WordPress website/blog. This could be used as it is on this page, with a short explanation, and the video, or it could be inserted right into the content post, like the one you have been reading.
How it is inserted (handled) within a post is up to the creator and the method the website handles external media like video, audio, pictures and graphics. I like to place all of my rich media on Amazon’s S3 servers so our hosting service doesn’t get overloaded with uploads and downloads.
I also want an easy way for the reader to be able to exit the video when complete, and continue reading my post. This video is about how to place a theme on a WordPress site. Yet it’s not selling anything in particular, but it is demonstrating the “how do I” question being answered.
At the end of the video, the viewer simply closes the browser tab and they are right back where they were in the post they were reading. Neat and clean.
If the statistics shared at the beginning of this chapter aren’t enough to convince you why you should be using content marketing, these benefits that were just outlined should do it. As a small business, you have to be creative with how you reach your audience. Finding ways you can connect and show your value will go a long way towards building a sustained customer base.
Content marketing gives you the ability to use your knowledge and experience to differentiate yourself from the competition. You are leaving money on the table if you don’t take full advantage of it. Plus, no one has the same knowledge and experiences as you. Creating content allows you to explore and use your own unique selling proposition