The term “content marketing” might sound like a bit of a “here today, gone tomorrow” marketing fad, but the last few years have taught us that content marketing is most definitely here to stay.
So What is Content Marketing?
The definition of content marketing is to create and distribute valuable, shareable and branded content with the aim of attracting new prospects, increasing visibility, and engaging with those who are interested in the products/services you offer; with the ultimate goal of increasing sales and brand awareness. “Content” refers to media such as blogs, videos, infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, animations, podcasts and webinars to name but a few.
This blog, The Yell Business Knowledge Centre, is an example of content marketing. Our team of writers produce regular and helpful high quality blogs to assist small business owners, but the upshot of that is that:
a) we have something to share on social media;
b) if someone finds a particular article useful they can share it with their social followers, increasing our reach;
c) our blog posts may show up in search results for topics that other parts of our website wouldn’t, which all leads to…
d) increased exposure of our services and awareness of our brand identity.
And who doesn’t want that? So without further ado, let’s take a look at the 10 reasons you should invest in content marketing:
1. Your Expertise Gets Centre Stage
By creating informative content that proves your expertise, you nurture confidence in your abilities. Those who read/watch/listen to your content will be able to tell that you have a genuine knowledge of the topics at hand which positions you as an expert in front of people who are looking for answers to industry-related issues.
2. Gets Answers to People that Need Them
In creating content that helps solve common industry problems, you provide relevant answers to people who need them. How many times have you asked Google a question and found the answer on a blog or in a video? If people are searching for the questions that you answer, not only is there a chance they’ll find your blog post, but they will likely make even the smallest of mental notes as to where they got that information from. Congrats – you’ve successfully made your brand visible to someone who is actively looking for the types of things your business offers.
3. It’s Affordable
Content marketing is generally one of the cheapest forms of marketing, and can be started at a very low cost. Creating a video on your phone or putting together a social media post is free and uses tools that you probably already have. However, budgets for content marketing are easily scalable, and many kinds of content can be outsourced if you don’t have the time, skills or inclination to create. Just because you start off with blog posts, doesn’t mean that you can’t grow to include video, slideshow presentations, infographics – whatever content you like!
4. A Wide Selection of Media
The term “content” covers a vast range of different media, including but not limited to blogs, videos, email marketing campaigns, animations and infographics. Heck, companies are even getting in on some meme action these days – though as Honor says here, it’s important to get memes right. Using a certain type of content never “type-casts” you as a “blog person” or a “video person,” no type of content is mutually exclusive, so you can turn your hand to as many or as few as you like.
5. People Respond to Content Better than Traditional Advertising
Nowadays, people tend to shut out traditional marketing methods. We install ad-blocking software, we go and make a cup of tea during TV ad breaks, and we skip YouTube ads after the allocated 5 seconds if possible. We are aware that traditional marketing methods offer us little in return, but content marketing is different. Sharing your valuable knowledge is far more likely to get people coming to you as a source of information – rather than having them potentially run a mile from your banner ad!
6. It Gives You Social Media Ammunition
Maintaining regular content that answers people’s questions and is relevant to your brand can help you expand your reach on social media. Keeping vibrant social feeds, updated with your content, encourages people to follow you -in turn keeping you on their radar. Additionally, an increasing number of people are searching on social media before heading to Google or Bing, so by regularly posting both new and old content on social channels, these searchers may find your content (and hopefully their answers).
7. Comments and Social Replies Let Your Audience’s Voice Be Heard!
Everyone likes to feel like they’re being listened to, and engaging with comments sections and replies on social media about your content is a great way of letting your audience know you hear them. Getting involved with queries or discussions not only cements you as an authority on the subject, but also one that also listens to prospects and is happy to openly continue a discussion.
8. The Only Side-Effect is Knowledge
We all have a wealth of information about our fields stored in our brains, and could probably write well about our subject of choice without having to look anything up. However, new developments and announcements are coming out all the time, and it will likely pay to talk about them in your content. Needing to create content about new and interesting happenings in your field incentivises you to keep on the cutting edge of industry news. Regularly keeping abreast of things within your industry can be hard at the best of times, but creating content gives you additional impetus to stay up to date.
9. The Only Limits are Your Imagination (and Common Sense)
As long as you can realistically link a relevant topic to an interesting or wacky concept – do it! The sky’s the limit in terms of concepts for your content, as long as it can be tied to a tangible industry topic without the link being cringe-worthily tenuous. Take a look at some of these unusual topic/concept combos from this very blog:
- Paul Stewart’s article that links the Rio Olympics coverage, reality TV shows and business success.
- Mary Stringer’s article about solving content problems, framed as making you a “content medic.”
- Honor Clement-Hayes’ bluntly titled article about niche business blogging: “But No One Reads Blogs About Tube Manufacturing – Right?”
- My article that links copywriting with “the lizard in all of us.”
10. Check out These Stats!
Here’s a few statistics in case you’re still on the fence:
- According to Captorra, 61% of consumers prefer to buy from companies that produce custom content.
- 69% of marketing professionals say that content marketing is superior to direct mail and PR according to this article on HispanicAd.
- This Lenati infographic states that 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions, and that 67% of a buyer’s journey is now carried out online.
- Contently reports that 75% of marketers saw positive returns from their content marketing efforts.
- 45% of marketers say that blogging is their most important content strategy according to Social Media Examiner.
What roadblocks are you experiencing in getting started with content marketing? What attracts you to content marketing? What pushes you away? Seasoned content marketers – are there any other reasons I haven’t touched upon here that you’d like to add? Please feel free to share your thoughts down in the comments!