The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, ‘the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience- with the objective of driving profitable customer action.‘
That rather dry description might make content marketing sound daunting or confusing, but it shouldn’t be if you know what you’re doing. This article aims to shed some light on how your business can benefit from inbound marketing.
This isn’t just advertising anymore, marketing needs to create value for the customer instead of trying to convince them to buy your product. Content marketing will help to pre-qualify your leads, by showing potential customers why they need what you’re offering. Content marketing also helps to build value in your website, earning favour from the search engine algorithms, which reward content-rich, regularly updated websites to the top of the search results. The content that fuels your strategy can come in many different forms – videos, blog posts, podcasts – pretty much anything you can think of.
With benefits from both attracting traffic through the SEO rewards for content, and boosting the conversion rates of that traffic by offering your visitors value, the power and reach of content marketing is near limitless. But implementing a successful campaign can be difficult. Here are our top ten tips to help justify investing the time and resources into content marketing:
Content marketing generates easier sales
By regularly updating your blog and pushing it out across social media, you keep people updated about what you’re doing, and remind them of the benefits of your product or service. Potential customers may see a post on social media, click through to your website, but not buy. Your brand has made an impression on them, and this marketing ‘touch’ may contribute to a sale at a later date. With many website analytics tools, it’s even possible to track and visualise these multi-attribution conversion funnels, to see the sequence of ‘touches’ before a purchase/enquiry.
It is cheaper than other forms of marketing
The age of buying ads in newspapers is behind us. You will need a cohesive strategy to make content marketing worthwhile so that it benefits your SEO and vice versa. Hiring a competent digital marketing company to help you will have many benefits, but you could also do some of the work yourself. Copywriters, for example, can help you to put your best foot forward with content about your business, but you know best why customers need what you are offering.
Obviously your time has value, but spending it on contributing to the content marketing side of your business will pay off in the long run if you are working with a company like Alloy Marketing. We can take your specialist knowledge, expand upon it to make it readable to the average customer, and make the content optimally visible to Google and other search engine algorithms. We want your website’s rankings on Google search to benefit from the work as well.
It helps you to build strong relationships with your audience
Good content marketing can make your audience like you, rather than just buy your product. This skittles advert will have been shared by many people who value having teeth more than they enjoy sweets, because it is entertaining in its own right. More shares for an amusing advert or viral video means more people will remember your product. Talking about teeth, Colgate created an online resource which provides advice on oral health – this makes them stand out as a helpful and knowledgeable company rather than just another toothpaste option. Genuine interest and trust from your audience will form the basis of future marketplace transactions and set you apart from the competition.
Content marketing boosts customer engagement
This is very much linked to the last point. You don’t want the only indication of how well your company is doing apart from sales to be the number of visitors to your website. Good content marketing will create an audience that wants to interact with your company on social media (social proof), for example. Other people will see this and it will enhance your brand image and reputation.
It improves the morale of your workforce
This could be because your employees are encouraged to contribute to content marketing, or it could simply be as a result of them feeling good about the company they work for. All of the stuff we have already talked about can contribute to this. Google is a company that should know a lot about content marketing, and they do. For a corporation that has nearly monopolised control of the internet they have an excellent brand image and they are seen as a desirable business to work for. In fact, the work environment created by Google for its employees is itself part of their content marketing strategy.
While Google has worked hard not be seen as an evil, faceless corporation that treats its employees like automatons (Amazon, anyone?), your comparatively small business has the advantage of being more in touch with its workforce. Involving them in content marketing can reap benefits for everyone.
It works in any industry
You might be reading all of this and thinking, ‘This is all very well, but my business has nothing to say, so what am I supposed to write a blog about?’
It may be true that some businesses find it easier to build a strong content marketing campaign by virtue of what they are selling. If we were selling fair trade products, for example, there are many issues to talk about and an in-built audience who are interested in being conscientious about what’s in their food or drink.
You might be selling white goods and wondering what you can say about a washing machine that isn’t about how durable and reasonably priced it is. However, like the colgate example I gave earlier, as long as your product has any kind of value there are content marketing strategies to be had. Creating an online resource that answers commonly asked questions about white goods, like how to clean them properly (how many times have people been caught out by a clogged washing machine filter?), will have people interacting with your company more often than simply when they need a new fridge.
It can level the playing field
You might have rivals with more resources and bigger budgets who rank higher on Google than you, but good content marketing will make you stand out from the competition. In fact, if you are a small bookshop trying to compete with a local store owned by a multinational company, this can work to your advantage when you are trying to engage with your audience. Give them a reason to support local business.
It allows you to experiment
With content marketing you can test the waters with a different approach without running the risk of spending too much money or ruining your brand image. Creativity is so important in advertising but it can be a big risk if you are running a national TV advert and it falls flat on its face. Not only does a blog coming from a new angle cost you little or no money, but you can easily track its performance with analytics. That way you can see if your original and amusing take on Funeralcare is a good idea without taking it too far (bad example, but you get the point).
Content can be recycled to generate more value, with less effort
A little can go a long way with content marketing. This blog post has some great advice on how to recycle your content. As Lance Cummins on nectafy.com states- ‘A blog post can become a download, which can be made into a video, which can be made into a slideshow, which can be emailed to prospective interested clients’. There is certainly a balance to be struck between recycling content and annoying people, you don’t want to lose any goodwill generated among your audience, but a good digital marketing company will make sure that doesn’t happen while boosting SEO results. Save money and recycle!
Content marketing helps with your market research
You can stay on top of trends with a successful content marketing strategy. Increased interactivity with your audience will show you what they are interested in and help you to tailor your product or service to their needs. Once again, analytics are a key part of this process. See what pages on your site people are reading before they purchase certain items and you can gain a powerful insight into the thought processes of your customers.
Be prepared to put the work in. Content marketing is becoming a must in our increasingly connected and media-hungry world, and although there are low barriers to entry, many small (and large businesses alike) struggle to maintain a cohesive content marketing strategy that pays dividends in the long term. At Alloy Marketing we have a wealth of experience, working with a wide variety of clients on the topics covered in this article. Find out more about how we can help your business get ahead of your competition, with a content-first, inbound marketing campaign. Contact us today.
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