What’s the most effective way to reach and engage more quality leads and customers?
What exactly drives more traffic to your site and helps build long-term relationships with customers?
How can you provide value to everyone who visits your site?
What helps you to stay ahead of your competition?
How can your brand establish itself as an industry expert?
The answer to all the above questions is CONTENT MARKETING.
Without content, your business can’t survive in this digital age.
Content Marketing is the foundation for your successful inbound strategy.
Whatever we do as marketers – like email, social media posts, blog posts, product descriptions, landing pages, etc. – are all examples of content marketing.
If you have no content, what are you going to optimize and share on social channels?
Quality and informative content can educate your readers and provide all the information about your products and services.
This will help your brand earn trust and position itself as one of the leading authorities in the industry.
According to the latest report published, from 2020 to 2025, the content marketing industry is expected to grow by $417.85 billion, at a CAGR of 16%.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything about content marketing that will help you understand how important a role it plays in the growth of your business. Here, we’ll be discussing what is content marketing, why it’s important, where we should distribute it, what are its most common types, and its 11 top benefits.
So, what is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is all about storytelling. It has become a very powerful model for marketers.
Through content, a marketer shares some educational, entertaining, or other relevant and valuable information. This sort of content helps the readers in improving their lives, in making purchase decisions, or in having some kind of entertainment.
A Content Marketer never pushes his target audience to buy the product or service. He just tries to convey the company’s message or goals.
This form of marketing has been around for years. In fact, we have been practising it way before the term itself existed.
To build a brand’s reputation, traditional marketers have long used content to circulate information about their brands.
But traditional marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be.
With technological advancements in transportation and communication, and so many marketing channels available, as a forward-thinking marketer, you need to understand that there has to be some better way.
So, what’s the better way to reach your target audience in this tech-savvy world?
All the leading brands, as well as small businesses and one-person shops around the globe, are using Content Marketing.
And the only reason why they use it is
What is Content, by the way?
Before we dive into the details, let’s try to understand the term Content in the context of Content Marketing.
Oxford Dictionary defines “Content” as information made available by a website or other electronic medium.
The information may be in any form, both online and offline, such as Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets, Photographs, Infographics, Posts shared on Social Media, Slide Shares, Emails, Product Descriptions, Books, Guides, Whitepapers, Games, Apps, Magazines, etc. They’re all examples of content.
As a marketer, you talk to your customers, your clients, and your readers through content.
It is the heart of what you do as a marketer.
The other areas of marketing like Social Media and SEO, are also only because of content.
Definition of Content Marketing:
There are so many definitions given by different marketers. The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource center for everything related to Content Marketing, defines it as:
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The keywords here are valuable, relevant, and consistent.
You have to create content keeping in mind your audience’s needs and interests. You have to ensure that your audience receives value from your content.
And at the same time, you have to be consistent with the delivery of large amounts of content within your content marketing strategy. You have to make audiences feel like you care about them.
Why Content Marketing?
The best answer to this question we see in the Forbes post on Content Marketing by Josh Steimle.
According to Josh Steimle, Buying Cycle has four steps:
Once a customer is aware that there is a solution to their need, they perform research to find out what different types of products or services exist. And out of those products or services, which one fits their needs.
After this, the customer compares different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high-quality product at a fair price.
Finally, the customer makes a decision to buy.
Traditional advertising and marketing are great when it comes to the second two steps of buying cycle – Research and Consideration.
Content Marketing plays an important role in the first two stages of the buying process. It raises awareness of solutions and educates consumers about a product they may have never considered before.
You try to serve your prospects and customers the most valuable, relevant, and memorable experience through your content.
Gone are the days when salespeople and store employees used to be the experts.
More than 80% of shoppers nowadays research online before buying any product.
In this Internet era, it’s the buyer who is the expert, not the salespeople or store employees.
Where to Distribute Your Content?
After creating valuable and engaging content comes its distribution. Creating content is a half job done. To make your content effective it must be consumed by the target audience.
There are plenty of channels available to you to distribute your content far and wide. We can categorize these channels into three groups:
1) Owned Content Distribution (Owned Media): This includes distributing content to your or your company’s own media channels, such as your blog, your website, email newsletter, posts on social media, or microsite.
2) Earned Content Distribution (Earned Media): This channel of distribution involves the distribution of your content by third parties. For example, Retweets, Shares, Guest blog posts, Product Reviews, and Press coverage.
3) Paid Content Distribution (Paid Media): In this type of distribution, you explicitly pay to get your content distributed. For Example, Google Ads campaigns, Social Media campaigns, and Sponsored Content.
Most Common Types of Content Marketing:
There exists a vast variety of content that you can use to boost your marketing campaign.
But here, we’ll have a look at the 7 most popular types of Content Marketing. These may help you see the opportunities all around you to grow your business and have so many marketing ideas every day.
It is the foundation of Content Marketing. It doesn’t take long to write a blog and is easily found by Search Engines.
Blogging is one of the best mediums to build a relationship with your readers.
If your posts are of high quality and add value to your readers, they’ll love to read and share them. Your site may get a decent amount of traffic which may ultimately help in lead nurturing and conversions.
You need to be consistent with your blog posts. If you are not posting or updating your post regularly, chances are that you might lose your readers.
Don’t forget to link your blog post to your own content.
Optimize your post for the target keywords which may help you bring relevant traffic to your site.
- 15 Best Places You Can Use to Promote Your Blog
- 7 Top Reasons Why Blogging Is Important For Your Business
- Blogging Tools: 31 Best Tools To Grow Your Blog
Infographics are graphic visual representations of statistics, graphs, data, charts, or other information.
The human brain processes pictures all at once in comparison to the text from which it takes longer to obtain information. You can pack a ton of information in a single image.
So, Infographics are a great way to earn likes and shares on social media.
And the best part,
The backlink to your Infographic is embedded within it. When people share it properly, they can give you valuable backlinks.
You must include Videos in your Content Marketing Strategy. This will help you remain competitive in this busy digital marketplace. It has the great potential to reach and engage your target audience.
More and more users prefer watching videos to reading text.
Hubspot’s study shows that 65% of business decision-makers visit a marketer’s website only after watching their brand’s videos.
Also, according to Bright Cove, brands can increase their organic search traffic by 157% if they include videos in their marketing campaign.
You can use videos for your tutorials as well as product content.
Ebooks are great Lead Magnets.
Because of its being typically gated, your visitors must provide some type of information (like email, phone number, etc.) in exchange for downloading an Ebook.
And, you get a new lead for your business to contact.
Ebooks are a very powerful method of providing solutions to your readers’ problems.
While producing an Ebook, produce enough content so that it may provide all the information and insight into your target audience.
In other words, we can say that your Ebooks must offer value to the recipients.
Many people prefer listening to podcasts in their busy schedules.
The number of podcast listeners is growing year over year.
According to Statista’s survey, in 2021, 41% of the US adults had listened to a podcast during the month leading up to the survey.
Since people can download it to their mobile devices, it allows them to listen to it during their commute, working out at a gym, or while at work.
Podcats can prove to be a great content format to spread your message far and wide.
You can carry out interviews with some influential people, host conversations or live Q’s and A’s.
A webinar (also known as a Web conference or online seminar) is a presentation, lecture, or workshop transmitted over the web. It also consists of a brief Q and A session.
With the improvement in technology, the emergence of many platforms, and the cost involved in conducting a webinar coming down, the accessibility of webinars to more and more people are increasing.
It’s a great content type to increase your brand awareness. It allows you to present yourself and your company as experts in your field.
According to the Ready Talk survey, between 20% and 40% of webinar registrants turn into qualified leads.
There are many webinar software products like Google+ Hangouts, Skype, GoToWebinar, FaceTime, etc.
Using these platforms it’s very easy to offer training to employees, teach a course, conduct discussions, and run a workshop.
7) Case Study:
It is also known as Testimonials.
Through Case Studies, you have the opportunity to explain your product or service.
You can tell the story of a client who benefited by using your product or service.
You can use Case Studies examples in many different forms. It can take the form of a blog post, podcast, ebook, or infographic.
Case Studies are one of the most effective types of Content Marketing.
It helps the leads better understand the product or service your business or company deals in and how it can help them.
While creating a Case Study you must keep in mind some important things.
You have to write a summary of the study, explain the problem or challenges your clients faced, explain the solution you provided and then discuss the results of your solution and why it was successful.
Write your Case Study in such a way that your target audiences find it as an inspiring “success story″.
Benefits of Content Marketing:
Content marketing answers all your audience’s questions and helps build a strong relationship with them. If you consistently publish high-quality content, it’ll greatly help you grow audience engagement, develop your brand presence, generate leads, and improve conversions. Though there are many benefits of content marketing, here are the top 11 benefits:
- Increases traffic to your site
- Important for SEO
- Content is shareable and helps grow your social media following
- More referral traffic
- Improves brand awareness and recognition
- Builds authority and credibility of your brand
- Helps position your business as an industry expert
- Generates more leads
- Drives more sales
- It is cost-effective
- Helps you build lasting relationships with your customers
#1. Increases Traffic to Your Site
Write and publish quality, relevant, and valuable content that answers the questions your visitors may have about your products and services.
Publish on a more consistent basis.
Google and other search engines love such content and rank them higher in their search results.
Once your site ranks higher, it becomes more visible in the search results and starts getting more traffic over time.
Running quizzes and contests on your website and guest blogging are also some very helpful ways to boost traffic.
#2. Important for SEO
SEO without content?
SEO and content go hand in hand.
Content is a must for SEO.
You just can’t imagine the SEO of your website/blog without content.
Seo is one of the most valuable benefits of content marketing.
The more useful and quality content you have on your blog/website, the better the chances of your site being ranked in search results.
SEO is all about optimizing your site to rank higher on results pages.
You have to optimize your content for important keywords and key phrases, optimize the images and page loading speed, etc.
And for SEO, backlinks are also very important. If your site has more quality backlinks, its chances of ranking higher are also greater.
But how to get high-quality backlinks?
The only and most effective way is useful and quality content.
If your readers find your content valuable which answers their questions and solves their challenges, they’ll more likely provide a backlink to your site.
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization
- What is SEO and What are its Different Types?
- SEO Tools: 14 Most Essential Tools
#3. Content is Shareable and Helps Grow Your Social Media Following
Sharing your content on social media can help you in so many ways.
You can grow your audience, build authority, boost your visibility and engagement, and get more conversion opportunities.
But building a social media following takes a long time. And you got to accept that.
Even if you post useful and engaging content for months or even years, chances are that you won’t see any impressive results.
Don’t lose your heart.
Be consistent in your efforts and keep writing and publishing content that gives value to your readers.
Eventually, you’ll start experiencing the growth you want in traffic, your reputation, conversion, and sales.
When your readers find your content helpful, they’ll share them with their friends and followers and before you know it, your circle of followers will increase greatly.
When you publish yet more great content, you’ll already have bigger followings in place to share your new content.
This will help your content get more and more exposure.
Ultimately, the traffic to your site will increase which will result in more leads and more sales.
- What is Social Media Marketing and What are its Benefits?
- Best Social Media Management Tools To Grow Your Business
#4. More Referral Traffic
Referral traffic is the traffic that comes to your site from sources other than a search engine.
When you include guest blogging, various forms of PR, and sharing your content on social platforms in your content strategy, then the traffic earned from these sources is called referral traffic.
In guest blogging, you need to create content for some high-profile publications as a guest. In exchange, you’ll receive links to your own blogs. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to promote your own name and blogs.
But make sure that the site you’re collaborating with to contribute as a guest is a relevant and authoritative site with high traffic.
Once your guest post is published and you actively respond to the comments, it will help you build your personal brand faster and generate tremendous traffic to your site.
#5. Improves Brand Awareness and Recognition
An informative, useful, and well-researched content that provides value to your target audiences can help you build awareness for your brand.
Your target customers can learn about your company and the products or services it deals in only through strong content.
Your content starts gaining lots of visibility if you publish it regularly. More people recognize your brand which eventually will help you build a respected brand.
Content Marketing gives you an opportunity to deliver important information and messages about your products or services.
#6. Builds Authority and Credibility of Your Brand
Good quality content helps build authority and credibility with your prospects.
Create content that provides value for your target customers and contains all the relevant information about the products or services your business deals in. This helps them in making purchase decisions.
They now start viewing your brand as a thought leader.
And as you go on creating more and more high-quality content in the form of blogs, e-books, webinars, videos, how-to guides, etc., this will only encourage your target audience to trust your brand.
#7. Helps Position Your Business as an Industry Expert
One of the powerful benefits of content marketing is that regularly publishing engaging content helps your brand position itself as an industry expert.
You’ll gain a reputation as a credible source of information (or expertise) in your niche.
Even your competitors will start recognizing you as an industry expert. They may approach you to get their name and resources in front of the right audience.
Eventually, you’ll become a thought leader in your niche.
So, the key to getting your brand established as a thought leader is:
Produce educational, informative, and value-packed stuff, and be consistent in your efforts. Always share insightful and honest content about your products or services.
#8. Generates More Leads
This is one of the most important benefits of content marketing.
According to HubSpot, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those who do not.
Just write some valuable articles on your blog and develop some premium gated content or add downloadable e-books, PDFs, or checklists.
To access this gated content, the readers have to fill out a form through which you can get their contact details.
This way you can easily generate leads and at the same time build your email list.
#9. Drives More Sales
In this internet era, people do a lot of research before making a purchase.
When your content contains all the information your readers are looking for, they’ll take it as a helpful resource.
And they’ll more likely make a purchase from you.
You have to create content that genuinely answers all the questions your prospects may have regarding your products o services.
Such content can help you make them trust you and they’ll make their decisions to purchase faster.
#10. Content Marketing is Cost-Effective
Content marketing is way more cost-effective than traditional methods of marketing.
And this is one of the greatest benefits of content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute,
Content Marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing but generates more than three times as many leads.
All you need to invest in this marketing is your time and effort.
The best part?
It will pay off exponentially. You’ll get compounding returns.
But you have to be a bit patient with content marketing.
Because it’s not a quick fix. It takes time to show the desired results.
In the first few months, it’ll not yield great results. If you continue to work passionately without losing your patience, you may start seeing growth just after a few months. And this growth will keep increasing with time.
If you have the vision and patience and by the time you are into this marketing for a few years, you can easily see that your return has become 4 or 5 times your investment.
Content marketing generates traffic and leads that can last for years.
The resources you create can be accessed 24/7 around the world.
Content marketing can save you in a bigger way in advertising costs.
Here are the stats of Outsell Digital:
- 615 million devices have installed ad blocker software.
- In 2017, $38 billion was wasted on ad spending because 91% of total ad spend is viewed for less than a second.
- 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional ads.
- 84% of people want brands to create content.
So, traditional methods of marketing are going to cost you a great deal.
On the other hand, if you create good quality content, people would love to share it on their social networks which can reach thousands or even millions of users, and best of all, that’s free of charge.
#11. Helps You Build Lasting Relationship With Your Customers
This is one of the major benefits of content marketing.
If people find your content valuable and impressive enough, they will continually come back to your site. And, here is the opportunity for you to build a relationship with them.
This can help you tremendously in building a loyal customer base.
For this, you need to nurture the existing customer relationships.
You can use your content to help your customers tackle any form of issues they might be having with your products or services.
Yes, dear readers.
You need to address the concerns of your audience through your content.
Use blog posts, FAQ pages, or having conversations in the comments sections or on social media. And respond to all the questions and comments so that your audience may feel that you care.
You can also use email marketing content to stay in touch with your target customers.
This way you can build for your brand a strong and lasting relationship with your existing customers.
They will begin to rely on you as a primary source of information. And come back to your site to visit your content more often and buy more often.
They will become a potential advocate for your brand and also refer friends and family and share your content on their social networks.
First of all, you have to understand the audiences you are trying to reach.
Then publish quality, relevant, and informative content that provides value and contains all the information your prospects and customers want.
And, publish consistently.
Also promote them on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Content marketing should be part of all types of marketing tactics you use. For example, Social Media Marketing, SEO, PR, PPC, Inbound Marketing, Email Marketing, etc.
It’s also incredibly cost-effective and you get compounding ROI over time.
Here’s a beautiful quote by Jolie Miller on Content Marketing:
“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.”
With Content Marketing, you have to show patience. It’s a lot of work and takes time to show desired results. But once you master the fundamentals and get down to implement its strategy, very soon, you’ll find it not that difficult and start seeing better results.