Do you have a company blog? Are you posting links to your articles on your social media feeds? Then you already have the basics of a content marketing program going. It’s defined as “the practice of creating, publishing, and sharing content with the goal of building the reputation and visibility of your brand.”
It is well-documented that content marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics you can deploy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B companies are using it. It’s a long-term approach, and so choosing it as a strategy requires spending both time and money. But the effectiveness and results that content marketing can deliver make it worth investing in a strategic and effectively executed plan.
Here are six reasons why you should consider making an investment in a content marketing program.
Reason 1: Stories Engage and Persuade an Audience Most Effectively
Content marketing, at its core, tells your company’s story in as many formats, and from as many angles, as possible. If a full-time journalist were assigned to cover your company, and write stories only about your company and what is happening there, what kind of stories would be created? Think about what things would be revealed in those written narratives, photo galleries, videos, podcasts, maybe even artful illustrations or graphics. Anyone who read or watched all that content would certainly start to understand — and probably like — your company a lot more, right? That’s the end goal of content marketing — to tell your company’s story in a way that drives deep understanding, engagement and — ultimately — a positive perception. The kind of connection a content consumer develops with a company or brand is one that is highly memorable and one that frequently drives action, both immediate and in the future.
Reason 2: Content Marketing Builds Brand Affinity
The objective of most marketing programs is to build a customer base that loves your company or brand. They may love your company because of a positive experience that they have had with your products or services, or because of a great customer service experience they have had. Even in B2B marketing, a customer can be moved by your company’s mission, origin story, or a sense of connection with employees or leaders — and that is what a great content marketing program can foster. It tells stories that aren’t necessarily overtly promotional. With your company as the author, the subject and the source, you are establishing your company as a thought leader, which drives connection in a more authentic and powerful way.
Reason 3: Content Marketing Drives More — and Better — Web Traffic
Engaging content that keeps readers on the page helps drive higher page rank on a search engine results page. Why? Because search engines are programmed to show the best, most relevant results first. Search engines judge content by watching the behavior of searchers as they click on results. If your articles keep visitors reading after they land, that tells the search engine that it’s likely that the reader found what they were looking for. It’s also telling the search engine that the content was authoritative and compelling. Engaging content draws more highly qualified visitors to your site and it keeps them there — visiting other pages on your site, reading more about your company, and increasing the likelihood that they will convert to a contact or sale.
Reason 4: Content Marketing Lets You Own Your Story
At your company there are probably certain stories that illuminate your key messages more than others. A well-planned and strategic content marketing program will highlight those stories. If you want to highlight the key message that your company is a best place to work, maybe you want to include stories about your employees. If a key message is the quality of your product and services, perhaps your content should focus on stories about how your product development team has quickly innovated new features or add-ons to your services. No matter the narrative, you should bring the story to life on the platform that tells it best – whether that’s a blog post, video, podcast or a photo gallery. And then you can distribute it to the audience most likely to be interested in it. That creates a vertical channel that you own — content, distribution platform and audience. No third-party media company needed. Putting engaging content in front of the most interested individuals — and managing it for your own goals — is what is at the heart of the power of content marketing.
Reason 5: Content Marketing Creates Valuable Assets and Intellectual Property
As you begin to tell stories, you’ll begin to grow a library of creative assets. All those blog posts, website articles, e-books, photos, videos and podcast recordings are tangible assets of your company. They are paid for and continue to deliver returns as long as they are published. A two-year-old video that explains how your product or service works will continue to get traffic if it’s relevant and optimized. Many of the content assets you create can be re-purposed in dozens of ways, meaning you save money in the future by already having a piece of content that can be edited or reworked to serve a different purpose and a different audience. Think of it as inventory that is paid for, that doesn’t depreciate, and that has ongoing utility for a long time after initial purchase.
Reason 6: Content Marketing Generates the Best-Qualified Leads and Higher Conversions
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates three times more leads than outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. How and why does content marketing generate so many more leads? It’s all about consumer behavior. Consumers, both B2B and B2C, respond to quality content in much the same way they respond to entertainment or leisure reading. Authentic, compelling and useful content generates a deeper level of interest in the person consuming it, and such content then leads these prospects to an action — such as downloading an e-book, registering for a webinar, or signing up for an email newsletter. All three of those actions give you contact information for an individual — a lead. Those leads have all demonstrated a genuine interest in your company. Think about the transaction that just took place — they gave you their name and email address in exchange for some piece of content from you. In many ways, their contact information is even more valuable than a monetary purchase they could have made because now you have a way to reach them to ask them to make multiple purchases over time, and likely persuade them on a high percentage of those asks. You now have an opportunity to have a conversation with them and lead them on a path to years of steady and recurring purchases. That type of lead — which turns into a loyal and recurring buyer — is why the audience you build from content marketing is so valuable.
As you can see, content marketing is indeed an investment, and a long-term one. But it is also among the most effective marketing strategies that exist, builds tangible value for your company and delivers impressive returns.
Ready to launch or improve your content marketing program? Contact the content marketing experts at GREENCREST and start connecting with and converting your audience today. Call us at 614-885-7921 or drop us a note