This blog will cover all of the ins and outs of the benefits of content marketing. Including overviews of the concept of content marketing itself, detailed examples of strong content, some tips to develop a solid content marketing strategy, and some solid data backing exactly why you should be using content marketing for your business.
For business owners in any industry, the phrase “content marketing” has become more and more prevalent in recent years. And as consumers, we absorb an endless stream of content from an overwhelming number of platforms. Yet in the rush to take advantage of consumer tendencies in the digital age, many businesses fail to recognize the vast benefits of content marketing.
But if you’re new here, you might still be scratching your head about what we mean by content marketing… so let’s get started!
What is Content Marketing?
Pretty much any digital asset that you consume, especially those that are produced by specific brands or companies, is a form of content. Videos, blogs, podcasts, photos – they’re all forms of content that we come across on our devices on a daily basis.
Content marketing is simply leveraging those forms of content into assets that help your business grow. It’s a means to create an authentic line of communication directly to your target audience. We often refer to content marketing as a form of “non-interruption” marketing. Meaning it’s not aggressive sales tactics or product pushing.
And as it turns out, people are much more responsive to honest communication over the pushy salesman trying to hit their target number. The stats don’t lie either. Per Impact, Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
No more promotional messages that interrupt a potential customer’s day to day life with empty product promises. Now, there are simply better, more powerful, and more honest means to communicate to an audience and create strong brand connections.
But Why is Content Marketing Important?
Simply put: it’s the way of the future. Just like the desire for conventional forms of media like print magazines, cable television, and radio have dropped, so too have the forms of advertising that paired so well with them.
But just like online publications and audio/video streaming platforms paved the way for new media, content marketing is leading the charge for a new way to not just advertise, but connect.
Think about it this way: the volume of ads at this point in time has just become too much to bear. In 1984, individuals came in contact with about 2,000 ads per day. By 2014 that number more than doubled to 5,000 (via SJ Insights).
And as people became sick of the ad bombardment, ad blockers took over, essentially rendering those marketing efforts useless. Specifically to the tune of ad-blocking software on over 615 million devices (PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report).
But enough overview and justification. What can content marketing really do for your business?
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?
Traditional marketing tactics tend to cast a wide net without much rhyme or reason aside from time slots and budget. The benefits of content marketing are growing, but here’s our top three reasons:
1) Lead Generation
Where content marketing reigns supreme is the opportunity (and ability) to directly target and attract your ideal customer. Which in turn can lead to more conversions and growth for your business.
In fact, content marketing leads to conversions rates that are six times higher than other methods of marketing (via Content Marketing Institute). And, like we said above, one of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it generates over 3x the amount of leads compared to outbound marketing.
Simply put, through content marketing you can attract AND convert your ideal audience into new leads. And from there those new leads can become customers.
But while direct growth from customers and sales is definitely a primary goal for any business, content marketing can do much more for your business over a longer period of time.
2) Build Brand Trust & Authority
One thing that content marketing definitely brings to the table is trust and authority. Unlike old approaches to marketing and sales, content marketing’s purpose is to inform, entertain, enlighten, and excite your audience through mediums and subjects they are directly seeking.
And when you’re creating quality content on a consistent basis, your audience (and customer base) will feel a real connection. Whether it’s providing answers to solve problems, teaching a new skill, or creating new experiences, one thing quality content marketing builds over time is trust.
Take for example that after reading blog recommendations, 61% of online consumers in the U.S. make purchases. Your brand voice has the power to be a trustworthy leader of information.
And as trust grows into loyalty over time, you’ll notice that through content marketing you can build authentic relationships with your customers and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. But that only happens through genuine connection.
Content marketing is built on it not being a means to dupe or forcefully convince people to buy into your brand.
Authenticity and providing relevant information is the key to building trust. And it saves everyone valuable time.
3) Increase Your Organic SEO
Building a strong digital presence can be difficult. And when it comes to gaining some traction, increasing your site’s traffic, and getting your brand some exposure, it can be tempting to want to take shortcuts like paid search.
But when you compare paid search to content marketing, content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent on paid search (via Kapost).
It does this through a concept called “long tail keywords”, but more on that in another article.
So not only are you saving more money in upfront costs, but you’ll see much deeper long-term benefits with content marketing.
Like we said, content marketing seeks to answer your customer’s questions. If your customer is looking for a solution, odds are they’re searching for it on the internet. When you’re producing content, it has the ability to target a wider range of search-engine questions and terms than standard SEO.
What does this mean? Through powerful, quality content that answers the questions or solves the problems that people are searching for, the more likely it is that your brand, company, products, and services will also be discovered.
Not to mention, producing quality at a regular rate also leads to more exposure and opportunity to be discovered in general.
Consider that per Tech Client, websites with blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those that don’t publish anything. It literally pays to publish great content!
But aside from blogs, what are some other types of content marketing you should be optimizing for your business growth?
Types of Content Marketing
Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts of content marketing. It’s important to understand your brand and industry, and how they fit into the media landscape for your target audience to really position yourself with success for content marketing.
But for the sake of gaining a full understanding, let’s get a rundown of some of the more important pieces of content your brand can produce to build a solid content marketing output. Typically we think of content in terms of tiers.
And when it comes to tiers, we approach them in terms of value, not necessarily length or effort. Starting with tier one content.
Tier One Content
Tier One Content helps your company to make that initial connection with your target audience.
Usually any Tier One content is free and public content, meaning anyone can access it. That might include blogs, social posts, some videos, any free podcasts, or maybe even infographics if it’s free and downloadable without the viewer giving anything in return other than their time (which is also valuable!).
And the value of your free content will help you gain trust with your audience (who has spent their time with your content) and will help build more value ahead of asking for anything in return as we move up the tiers. In other words, tier one content won’t turn people off or turn them away.
It’s that first hook that gets someone through the door. First impressions are important in any relationship, and for content marketing they can be the difference between a new customer and scrolling past you to your competition.
a) Social Post
Hitting the “Core 4” social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), is a good place to start. Comment on industry trends, share links to other pieces of your content, and engage with your audience directly.
b) Short-form Blog
Think of these posts as your quick-hitters. They might be lists, introductory pieces, or very basic, surface-level in- formational articles that grab reader’s attention. The ideal length to rank these pieces is around 900-1,500 words.
In general, blogs are one of the easiest, most popular forms of content marketing. And they’re often one of the most successful. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without (via Impact).
Additionally, a huge majority in 77% of internet users read blogs. That’s gigantic. Now it makes sense that small businesses with blogs would tend to see more lead growth, doesn’t it?
c) Short Video/Audio
It might be a short explanatory podcast or a portion of a video that serves as a preview to a greater whole. No matter what route you go, utilizing short audio and video pieces can be great introductory content to grab attention, build awareness and drive traffic to your cornerstones.
Attention-grabbing and easily embeddable, infographics are a visual representation of a large amount of information condensed into a combination of images and text, allowing viewers to quickly grasp the essential insights the data contains.
Watch for the demand for infographics to grow. In 2014 alone, per DemandGen, infographic usage had a huge increase from 9% all the way up to 52%. And it keeps going up.
Captivating images and hilarious memes make up a bulk of today’s social media currency. Take advantage of their accessibility, opportunity to go viral, and the fact that they’re ridiculously easy and quick to share.
Tier Two Content
Tier Two Content is a bit more strategic and requires that next exchange in the steps to building greater trust. Once you have your ideal user with a foot in the door, it’s time to pull them in with more in-depth content. But that content should come at a price. Here’s where the deeper content marketing benefits come into play.
Think of it as a gateway to cross through before they can access these higher quality assets. Usually, creating a form to collect contact info like an email address suffices. The exchange generates a new prospect for your business while the customer receives quality content and information.
It’s still free for your viewers, but there’s an opt-in involved. Audiences give their name and email to get better content. Because you’ve already positioned your organization for greater trust, your audience and customer base is more likely to want to receive this content.
a) Email Newsletter / Email Marketing
Email is another way to directly communicate with your audience. Offer exclusive promotions, link roundups, or completely original content in a neatly packaged newsletter. Set up your RSS feed in your preferred platform to automatically push and drive traffic to your latest posts.
The main thing to understand here is the exchange between you and the audience: you give them great content for their inbox in exchange for contact information (their email address!).
b) Long-form Blog
Go more in depth on topics you’ve previously covered at a surface level. Utilize detailed research, well-sourced facts, and provide important information for problems within your industry. This is most often your cornerstone content and best ranks at 2,000-4,000 words.
c) Long-form Video
Video content has quickly risen as a dominant means of user engagement. Long-form video can entertain, inform, and create yet another avenue for positive user engagement. Plus it can show how modern and forward-thinking your business is.
Odds are if you were to create video content, you’d upload and host it on YouTube. Since over 6 billion hours of videos are viewed every month on the platform (TopRankBlog), we’d say that’s a good thing!
Additionally, from another TopRankBlog study, 73% of B2B marketers use YouTube to distribute content. Aside from its popularity with other marketers, almost half of all internet users are on YouTube.
*Note: Long-form blogs and video might fall under tier one content if you’re publishing them as free, public content. However, if they’re offered exclusively through some sort of subscriber-based system or “members-only” wall, longer, more valuable blogs and video can fall under later tiers.
eBooks are great ways to go into more depth than most blog posts can. Plus it’s in a medium that’s visually pleasing, easy to print and use in other contexts, and can be a main resource your business provides to clients.
And in most cases, you’ll ask for contact information before a physical download commences.
Whitepapers are advanced problem-solving guides. Show your authority within your industry by presenting a problem your customer might be facing and provide an in-depth and highly technical solution.
Depending on your technical skill-level, this is one aspect of content marketing you may need to outsource to create and build. If a customer finds success using your app or calculator, they’re more likely to trust your brand’s products and services in the future.
*Note: Again, depending on your specific approach, you may place apps or calculators under tier one content if you offer them for free on your website without any value exchange.
Tier 3 Content and Beyond
The next step up the ladder now involves paid content. This might include more hands on services or products like webinars, coaching, classes, workshops, and more. They could be any priced product, but tier three is where the exchange value turns toward money.
Depending on your specific organization, industry, or products and services you offer, you may utilize more than just three tiers. Maybe you go from email subscriptions for newsletters, blogs, and videos to a webinar or product demonstration service that ranges from $10-$50. From there, later tiers might be structured in terms of increasing price and the extent of products or services offered.
It really depends on your individual business and how you feel you can best connect with and serve your audience base to make long term connections.
The Content Marketing Process
Knowing the types of content that are ready and waiting to be produced is really only half of the battle. If your business doesn’t have a direction or strong strategy, you’re simply wasting valuable time making content that won’t deliver any results.
In all likelihood, if your business is up and running you have established some form of a consistent brand. Visually that’s in the form of colors, fonts, and logos. All of your content should be consistent in its visual branding in the way that your company is represented.
Additionally, you’ll want to think about your brand voice. This will mostly depend on your industry. Do you need to sound more formal and educational? Is your brand community-focused? Are first-person terms like “we” and “our” a way to make your brand feel more human? How much personality, such as sarcasm or humor, do you want to show?
Hone in on what makes you, you. And be honest. Your customer will be able to tell the difference.
Who Will Your Content Benefit?
Speaking of customers, you need to establish who it is you’re trying to reach. That alone will help to dictate so many other aspects to your approach. We call this identifying your ideal customer avatar.
Get as granular or specific as you want. Break it down by age groups, sex, income, geographical location, etc. From there you can identify the specific topics and subjects that relate to your business’ core products and services. How can you best communicate the things that not only matter about your business, but matter to your ideal customer.
Understanding What’s Worth Creating
Finally, once you have a base idea of what you want to create your content around, you’ll need to verify its value. There are a number of ways you can do this.
- Look at other popular content in your industry or from competitors.
- Utilize keyword research tools to identify phrases and subjects that have desirable search volumes and ranking opportunities.
- See what’s already working for you and where you can improve: use analytics tools through Google or social platforms to get clear metrics on what you’re doing well.
Benefits of Content Marketing Costs
So you’re probably wondering how much this is going to cost you in the long run. Well as you can probably gather from all of the above, content marketing is not necessarily a question of cost in a dollar amount, but hours in a week.
In fact, per DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. But by now you already understand exactly how valuable content marketing is for your business.
Publishing blogs from your website won’t cost you a dime. And these days, most smart phones have the capability to take photos, shoot HD video, and record audio suitable to not only share on your social media platforms, but leverage into higher quality, tier two content.
Having a bit of a budget certainly helps, however. In terms of booking studio time, renting or purchasing more advanced production equipment, investing in better online analytics tools, and hiring professional content creators.
But what it really comes down to is whether or not your business has the time, energy, and resources to undertake developing and maintaining a full content marketing plan. Because it really isn’t worth going halfway on and missing out on the true benefits of content marketing. If that’s the case, it might be time to consider a third party digital marketing agency to help guide you and implement the best strategy.
Ready to Get Serious About Your Content Marketing?
This is a pretty dense overview about the benefits of content marketing and why your business should be using a modern strategy for real growth. But it’s still really only scratching the surface. In utilizing some of the points we’ve laid out here, you’ll definitely see success and steady growth for your company– but that can take time and a lot of effort.
If you want to catapult your results and see vast improvement in your desired growth efforts, you need to work with a company that understands why these content marketing processes work and how to implement them.
At Multiverse Media Group, we practice powerful content marketing processes that help businesses grow every single day.
Our experience, approach, and methodology lead to consistent growth results for each and every one of our clients; spanning from conception to creation to distribution to revitalization, we’ve got your back! Learn more about who we are.
If you’re ready to kickstart your content marketing efforts and see your business reach new heights, don’t wait, reach out to us today!