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Ask people what they think about marketing and they will probably talk about irritating TV ads or irritating ads in newspapers or magazines.  The idea of being sold at, being marketed to without your consent has made us all a little anti-marketing.  But what if the very blog post you were reading now was a type of marketing?  That’s not salesy, in your face or anything.  And you have clicked a link to arrive here to answer a question that you have or to fulfil a curiosity.  That’s content marketing and here are 10 reasons why your business needs to use it.

What is content marketing?

Anything you create is content – a blog post, a video, a social media update, a Pin for Pinterest.  Even a TV ad or a mailing circular is content, but these traditional ways are much in decline.  Therefore, content marketing is simply creating content to market your product or service to people.  But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Content marketing is about engaging with people, answering their questions and helping them.  It is about the ideas of inbound marketing where you aren’t telling people they have to buy your stuff but instead solving a query they have that leads them to take a look at your product as part of the process.

But not all businesses can engage in it.  In fact, according to CMI, only 42% of B2B marketers say they are effective at content marketing.  Despite this apparent stumbling success, year over year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for the top content marketing brands than others – so for those who do get into content marketing, it really pays off.

Why it works

So why does content marketing work and why should your business be engaged in it?  Here are 10 clear reasons to consider.

1.       You can’t have a website without content

First up is a simple one – there’s no point having a website without something on it and that means creating content.  If you are going to have content you might as well have strategic and considered content that helps your business, rather than pointless ad content and some pretty pictures (well, you need a few of them as well in the content!)

2.      Helps to build trust

While the online world has opened us up and made us aware of things like never before, it has also created a sense of scepticism and caution.  Because it is online and not in front of us, there’s a caution, a sense that it might not be what it seems.  Quality content helps build trust by showing you know what you are talking about, are an ‘authority’ or an ‘expert’ (or whatever term you prefer, there are lots).  Basically, it builds trust in people coming to your website and moves you from questionable to trustworthy.

3.       Creates an identity for your brand

Few of us sell something that is completely unique and that means you have competition.  One way to stand out from that competition is to create a brand and content is a key part of this.  Yes, things like the logo and the look of the website are crucial but what you say on the site is also crucial.  Brand voice, creating a united approach across all platforms and a style that becomes recognisable is a big part of branding your company.

4.      Gets organic traffic from Google and co

If there’s one type of traffic we all love to see, its organic traffic.  This is where your post or page has shown up for a keyword search on Google or another search engine and someone has clicked the link and come to your site.  Some 80% of product purchases are made after doing a search online so by being the one they click when looking for something, you have an increased chance of making them a customer at some point.

5.      Easy to analyse

Content marketing is an ongoing process that often doesn’t produce immediate results, but it does build over time and you can monitor it.  You can get tons of data to help see what is working and where you need to make some adjustments to get more from existing content.  Or where to add more content to fill a gap.

6.      Attracts the ideal buyer

Have you done one of the ideal buyer or customer avatar exercises?  Made up a fictional person who is your perfect customer – where they live, what they earn, what they live, where they shop, all of that stuff?  Well by creating content based on an ideal buyer you have a better chance of attracting the real thing.  You offer them content answering questions they have or helping them solve problems and they build trust in your brand for doing this.

7.       More effective lead generation method

Stats show that content marketing costs less than traditional marketing with a better return.  DemandMetric’s figures showed it costs 62% less than other, traditional marketing approaches while generating three times as many leads.  So, for less money spent, you get more leads – who doesn’t want that for their business?

8.      Builds a social presence

Content is also key for social media because if you don’t have content, you don’t have anything to share.  That means no engagement, no re-shares, re-tweets or re-pins and no clicks to your website.  Well, with Facebook these days that happens regardless but let’s not go there!  By creating a social presence for your business, you build onto your brand, working alongside your website to create an identity for your company that people can relate to.

9.      Prompts people to take an action

Done properly, your content can prompt people to take action.  Whether this is share on social media, sign up for your email list or even reach out to chat about your product, content can create action.  You do need to use a call to action technique (CTA) to do this but a good content marketer will know about these techniques as part of content creation.

10.  Makes people return to your website

That percentage of returning versus new visitors might seem nice and interesting on Google Analytics but it is actually important.  If people return, they are more likely to engage with your content, share it and interact with your brand on social media.  They are more likely to trust you, become a lead and eventually a customer, even a brand ambassador recommending their friends to your company.  All through content!

Quality over quantity

I would offer a note of caution about content marketing.  In the modern online world with the high saturation of content we see, the name of the game is quality over quantity.  Popping out a short post every day isn’t going to cut it – you are better off producing one well researched, relevant and interesting article a week instead.  There’s lots of content out there so you need to stand out from the crowd.

If you think you need content marketing for your business (and trust me, we all do) but you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, then please check out my services pages – I’m here to help!