In this competitive age, content marketing is an important activity that every online business must take advantage of. Why? Well, to begin with, it’s easy to get started.
Moreover, when coordinated with the overall marketing strategy, it has been proven to deliver enormous benefits.
Let’s think for a bit – what does a business want? Profits, for sure. But to achieve that, you need to get so many things right – audience engagement, lead generation, driving sales, brand awareness, brand value, and the list goes on and on.
What if I told you, by making content marketing an important part of your business, you can realize all of the above-mentioned goals? Sounds crazy? It’s not, actually. In fact, thousands of businesses are doing the exact same things and reaping tons of benefits from it.
If you’re a small business owner or completely new to content marketing, you might want to start by hiring a team of professionals to help you in your efforts of deciding target audience, creating and editing content, handling the SEO, as well as tracking the results like website traffic, onsite engagement, social media engagement, exposure, lead quality, conversion, etc.
Now, content marketing is not cheap. If you’re extremely tight on budget, and hiring a team doesn’t fit into your immediate goals, you can connect with a few product review websites or capable influencers to get the word out and put your product in front of the people.
In this guide, you’ll learn what is content marketing and the benefits your business can receive by consistently producing high-quality content.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of strategically creating, publishing, and promoting relevant content (in a variety of formats) to a targeted set of audiences to drive profitable customer decisions.
Do notice the word “strategically”. What this means is that you can’t just go ahead and start posting pictures and videos on your social media channels or publish articles on your blog without thinking.
You need to have a clear goal and a well-defined plan on how your content can move you closer to your company objectives.
Next, you must have a target audience in mind. Not everyone will be interested in your product or your content. You must do your research to learn about your demographics interests and needs.
And, the last thing to keep in mind is the relevance of the content to your desired audience. If your content isn’t adding any value to the audience, they will not care about it. Simple.
One of my favorite methods of consistently producing relevant and useful content is creating a topic cluster.
A topic cluster is a group of content built around the main topic and multiple sub-topics.
Here’s an example – let’s say you sell shoes online. A perfect example of a topic cluster for your niche would be:
- Best Shoes For Men
- Best formal shoes
- Best casual shoes
- Best white sneakers
- Best sports shoes
- Best Vans shoes under $100
This leads to 2 things:
- Multiple topics for creating content
- When you link from sub-pages to the main page, it sends the signal to search engines to treat it as an authority page over the topic.
This improves your chances of ranking higher over time.
Benefits Of Content Marketing
Now that you know what is content marketing, here are some of its major benefits that will definitely convince you that it’s well worth the investment.
1. Improve Brand Awareness And Reputation
In today’s day and age, there are just too many options to choose from. Want to buy shoes? You got Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and more. What about smartphones? You got Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, and the list goes on and on.
So, what makes people prefer one brand over the other? Trust.
Building trust can help you establish a connection and a relationship with your customers; which, in turn, can improve brand reputation.
When you strategically devise your strategy, you can use content marketing to consistently push top-notch and informative content. This can bring tons of high-quality traffic and links to your website; exposing your brand to your desired set of audiences that don’t even know about it yet.
When people read your content, they form an opinion about your business. If the content is engaging and valuable, they will form a similar image of your brand.
2. High Return On Investment
Content marketing, by no means, is a cheap activity. It takes time, effort, and money to consistently create and promote high-quality content. But, the returns you get make it worth the investment.
According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times as many leads.
Good content is evergreen and must be considered as an asset. I am sure you must have noticed search results from years ago when you look for solutions on the internet. If it’s out there, it’s bringing them visits even to this day.
Sure, there are some time-sensitive topics that become outdated pretty quickly, but your focus should be on creating long-lasting pieces of information that people can relate with for years to come.
3. Improve Your SEO Efforts
If you run a business online, you must know about Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
To put it simply, SEO is a set of practices that increase the visibility of your website on the internet. And, excellent content can help you with your SEO efforts tremendously.
Good content can improve your search rankings and help you rank higher for your desired search terms. It can also help you build quality backlinks. This can improve your domain ratings. And, improved ratings can lead to more visibility in your niche.
Providing value to your readers with the help of educational content is the best way to improve your SEO. Think about it, the more content you have, the more keywords you’ll rank for. The more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you’ll get.
Additionally, all the extra content gives the readers a reason to stick around on your website; resulting in increased on-site time. This can definitely help improve your SEO efforts.
4. Showcase Expertise And Establish Authority
Do you want to rank higher on the search engines? A tried and tested method is to establish authority in your niche. Well, how do you do that? Simple, by showing your expertise in the form of informative content.
Content marketing gives your brand a platform for creating valuable content that helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions.
Here’s an example – what’s the first website that comes to your mind when you think of SEO related content? Maybe it’s Backlinko or Ahrefs or Neil Patel?
Why is that?
Because through their consistent efforts in content marketing, they’ve managed to establish themselves as experts in their niche.
When people search for any SEO related query on the internet, they are more likely to click the links from industry experts, even if they are not ranking in the first position.
5. Helps Your Overall Digital Marketing Strategy
Digital marketing means promoting your brand on the most relevant online channels. And, for promotion, you need content.
For your digital marketing strategy to work properly and bring in results, you need good content.
In fact, if you invest in high-quality content, you can easily repurpose them for your various online marketing channels.
For example – if you create a kick-ass article for your blog, you can repurpose the information in image format for your Instagram handle or in video format for your YouTube channel. You can even repurpose it in PDF format and use it as a reward for subscribing to your email newsletter.
6. Differentiate Yourself From The Competition
Content marketing, by any means, is not a new concept. Almost every online business uses it to become better from its competitors. You, too, can do the same by offering content that’s better.
People can easily differentiate between good and bad content. And, good content is what you want to focus on to set yourself apart and make consumers pick your brand over the others.
For instance, if someone’s doing research on the internet before making a purchase, they are more likely to go with the brand that understands their challenges and solves their problems.
If your competitors are not taking advantage of content marketing, you are already miles ahead of them. And, if they are, you can study their strategy to find out what you can do better.
So, what’s good content? Honestly, there’s no checklist, of sorts, for this. But, to get you started, here are some things you should keep in mind before creating your content.
Good content must:
- Be targeted towards the right audience
- Build a reputation by providing high-quality information
- Build trust; no clickbait
- Answer questions and solve problems of the readers
Good content must not:
- Be badly structured and difficult to understand
- Try to force sell products without building a relationship first
- Ramble on about how good the product is without showing any proof
7. Influence Sales And Generate Leads
The ultimate goal of any business is to earn profits and that can happen only when there are sales. Content marketing can help generate sales by educating the consumers and influencing their decisions in the right way.
The more content you create about your product as well as your niche, the more people you’ll attract. After all, in the end, it’s all about attracting customers. And, content marketing helps your business to be found by the people looking to purchase your product or avail your services.
Additionally, your content must always have a Call-To-Action to guide the readers about what to do next.
Getting Started With Content Marketing
Here’s a five-step plan to get you started with content marketing.
- Planning: Begin with formulating your objectives. Next, determine how content will help you achieve your objectives. Finally, find a way for it to complement your other marketing activities.
- Target Audience: The next step is to determine your target audience. Learn their interests, problems, and how you can offer them a solution. There are multiple ways to do this – conduct surveys, ask for feedback, analyze your competitors on social media, create an audience persona, and more.
- Content development: Once you get to know your target audience, start developing the content that provides value. The content can be anything – blog posts, images, videos, PDFs, and more.
- Implementation: This part is all about how to implement and promote the content you created. This is when you should create a content schedule, of sorts, to maintain consistency.
- Monitor Results: The final step is to monitor all your efforts and the results they bring you. Observe your search rankings, traffic, comments, likes, shares, conversions, bounce rates, dwell time, etc. Pay attention to how people are interacting with your content and analyze their feedback.
Content marketing is here to stay and is important for the success of any online business. To see success, you need to keep the readers happy. And, you can do so by offering relevant and high-quality content regularly; in return, you get heaps of benefits.