What Exactly is Content Marketing?
Glad you asked! Many people have questions related to this topic. Content marketing is best known as being a marketing strategy that orbits around the publication, creation, and distribution of content to a desired audience with the intentions of bringing new traffic (therefore new clients) to your business.
Most of this can be done online using social media, videos, blogs, ebooks, and many more downloadable or interactive tools that are made to share your brand and expertise with a potential buyer of your product.
How can you make sure that you are marketing your business effectively? One thing that you can do is to always keep your marketing strategy up-to-date. You don't want to end up being the last to advertise on Facebook. Remember to keep your business on the cutting edge so that it remains relevant, efficient, and effective. In our world today, that means content marketing.
Need an Example?
Here's a really good example. Let's say that you are a personal trainer and your business hasn't really grown as much as you've wanted it to over the past year. You are really wanting to grow your client base, so you decide to start a blog post and insert 2-3 keyword-optimized posts every week explaining how to get fit, eat right, and how you can loose weight. You start to notice that your posts are starting to rank as time goes on. When spring comes around, people usually start searching online about what they can do to get back into shape for summer. These browsers happen to come across your blog, read your educational posts, and end up coming back week after week for more. Some people will choose to make changes on their own, yet others will decide to trust an expert's advice and give you a call to request a free consultation, eventually deciding to sign up for one of your programs.
Content marketing, like the example I have outlined above, is known as one of the most effective ways to get inbound leads to virtually any business out there!
10 Perfect Reasons to Start Creating Expert Content for Your Business Today
1. Construct Trust with Your Visitors
As I have illustrated above, the personal trainer was able to use her expertise to gain the trust of her readers online. Once you start creating more and more content and then sharing it with a desired audience, the clearer it will become to them that you truly are an authority in your field. People have a tendency of trusting experts and hiring them to help problem solve.
2. Build Brand Awareness
To be completely honest, not many people are aware of your business and it's time to change that! If you do it correctly, you will be able to use content marketing to increase traffic significantly to your website so that you will be able to get consistent, quality traffic and inbound links directed to your site, and exposing them to a brand that they never even knew existed. This will allow you to generate much more awareness as well as leads for your business through the use of content and using it to demonstrate your skills and expertise over and over again.
Example: Every week your visitors bureau decides to create a weekly video series consisting of simple 1-minute videos on how you can make the most out of a weekend getaway in town. Your desired audience has the opportunity to see your city and local businesses thriving each week. The more that they get to know your city, the more likely they will visit if they are liking what they see.
No need to create the videos yourself! This gives you an opportunity to partner up with vloggers and travel bloggers to produce this sort of content in exchange for press tips.
Let's say that you are one of the marketing directors for the Vail Visitors Bureau. You give your team the responsibility of putting together a weekly series of 1-minute videos on how to prepare for the upcoming ski season. Doing this will showcase your city and constantly drive traffic to your website, which will contain even more information and reasons why you should visit Vail.
3. Great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Once you open up your browser and begin to type in a keyword or phrase into Google, the search engine is hard at work in bringing you the most relevant information related to your search query. When you create expert content with the intentions of sharing it's useful and valuable information with your potential buyers rather than spammy sales ("look at me!") copy, Google is able to recognize that the content is useful and provides the answer to what people are searching for, which in turn makes it rank higher in search results.
Search engine algorithms seem to always be changing, but as long as you are constantly creating and keeping your content current (up-to-date, not having the tendency of falling behind), informative (problem solving or answering questions), and relevant (relating to the search word or phrase), it will rank much higher and longer within the search engines.
4. Lead Generator
This one is huge, in fact so huge that it should be #1. Let's just say, "you can't beat trust and awareness" and generating leads for your business is the only reason why any of us do any type of marketing in the first place! We are always looking for new leads to come to us and eventually become consumers of our products. Content marketing allows strangers to locate you through your useful and very informative content. This is mostly before they are even considering on making a purchase. This means that your competition is nowhere to be found. Want to know what you can do to draw them closer? Use additional premium content on your website (like ebooks). We certainly need leads in order to make sales, and content marketing is the solution!
5. Captivate Ideal Buyers
Talks about leads are good, but an overflow of unqualified leads will not get you anywhere. Your duty is to start attracting ideal buyers or it will be a waste of your sales team's time.
There is so much beauty in content marketing. While you are showing your proof of expertise to the world, the only ones that will be viewing your content or the ones who are truly interested in what you have to offer.
Only those who have a legitimate interest in your field of expertise will go ahead and conduct a search that leads them to read your blog. Of all these readers, only those who find your brand genuinely intriguing, will go ahead and click through to your landing page. Of those readers who made it to your landing page, only those who truly had an interest in your content will end up filling out a form that contains their personal information in order to obtain more of it (think ebook, video, case study, checklist). You will be able to filter out lousy leads and your sales team will end up selling only to those of the highest quality, meaning less time, money, and energy wasted. Inbound marketing at its finest!
6. Convert More Visitors into Leads Using Lead Nuturing
Never waste your content marketing effort without leveraging it; instead remember to generate leads all through each buyer's journey. The 3 main stages of the buyer's journey are awareness, consideration, and decision. In the descriptions I will be sharing with you below, you'll be playing the role of a tax law firm who will be nurturing a new lead, "John," throughout the buyer's journey. Pay close attention to how the provided content helps him keep on traveling down the sales funnel through each step.
How Do You Nurture a Lead Using Content Marketing?
In the awareness stage, John just realized that he has a huge problem. He just received a delinquency notice from the IRS that is making him terrified, so he decides to google search "ways to reduce tax debt." This search leads him to your blog post titled, "The Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Tax Debt." After reading your post, John quickly realizes what he can do to solve the problem he's dealing with. He begins to have trust in your firm. He then decides to head on over to your landing page in order to download a much more detailed resource, your in-depth ebook, "7 Secrets the IRS Doesn't Want You To Know." Congratulations, you have demonstrated your expertise and won his trust!
John has now made it to the consideration stage, here he is evaluating the solutions to the problem he is faced with. He's at a point in which he decides to check out some of your videos, which tell him ways that he is able to reduce his tax debts. He then goes ahead and checks out one of your case studies on "How Tom's Plumbing Paid Off Tax Debt in Half the Time." John has come to realize that your firm is an expert resource in helping him solve his problem no doubt about it.
As John is ready to enter the decision stage, he's already preparing to make a move. At first, he was thinking about handling the tax problem himself, but after much in-depth research, he decides to hire help. He had gotten a different recommendation about another firm from his neighbor, but after viewing your prices, he goes ahead and clicks on your free consultation offer and contacts you. Way to go! You've just gained another client! It was because of content marketing that John was able to find your business, qualify him as a lead, and easily seal the deal because he had already decided to hire you based off the content and expertise you displayed.
7. Visitors Will Share Your Content on Social Media Platforms
You already know that you are an expert in your field. This means that you are aware of some things that others have no clue about. Is your content able to solve a common problem in a unique way? Does it distribute an important piece of information? If so, it is very likely that other businesses will share content that makes them stand out as being a leader/expert. Social media has been rapidly catching up with search engines as one of the best ways for content to reach consumers.
You should make it your goal to create useful content that people will actually want to read, but if are able to create content that people are sharing, you're way ahead of the game!
You want to get as many people as possible exposed to your content. We now live what is known to be the "digital, mobile, and viral" age. If you happen to post an extremely exciting post, you may end up picking up enough momentum to get it in front of more people than you could've ever even imagined!
8. People Will Want to Come Back
Providing people with helpful as well as informative content will allow a new relationship to blossom. You eventually become a trusted resource where people will want to become return users on your website.
Here's an example, Moz.com has a weekly online marketing segment called "Whiteboard Friday." Every week their responsibility is to deliver helpful, engaging content to their audience. Because of this, readers keep on coming back week after week for more of the good content on their site. The more that you engage with with your audience, the better!
Strive in forming a community around your content.
9. Build Brand Authority
This should be obvious by now. Your content is a representation of your ability to do what you can do better than the rest. Your desired audience is receiving answers to your questions from you. All they are needing from you is to know that you will provide them with the best way to solve whatever problem they may be having. If you happen to show them more than once, that's okay, you'll just simply be reinforcing your role as the industry expert with every video, blog post, ebook, etc. Those that never end up making a purchase, will regard you as the authority in your particular field based on the content you create.
10. Establish Backlinks
If you create expert content, rest assured, other websites will for sure want to link to your website so that they can share what you have to say. Your audience may have the possibility of multiplying by 2,5, or even 100 times depending on the linking site. Want to know what the real benefit is? Backlinking is known to be one of the criteria that search engines use in order to rank your site. Your page authority increases if authority sites start linking to yours and more people visit your website through those specific links. Feeling curious? Here is a really great article about how search engines work since search engines algorithms seem to be beyond the scope of this post. A thing that you will learn from this article is how important constructing backlinks is to help solve a part of the search engine's puzzle.
There are so many reasons why you should consider doing content marketing for your business. To be clear, our #1 reason should have read something similar to this, "because it really works, and in today's society it is most definitely one of the best ways to make your business known as well as driving inbound leads."
Don't get me wrong, tactics are always going to be there to produce fast, short-lived spikes in traffic and leads. Methods that might have no impact at all will also always be there as well. A great deal of time and money has been invested in helping your business prosper, so I highly recommend investing in proper content marketing now. It will end up rewarding you for years to come.
About the Author
Malinda is a Content Creator @ Troyer Websites, a full service Web Design and Marketing firm in Orrville, OH.