Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword; it’s an effective way to connect with new customers and cultivate brand loyalty.
If you aren’t investing in this marketing strategy, you might be missing out on some of its biggest benefits that are sure to make your business thrive.
Keep reading to discover the 10 biggest benefits of content marketing that you don’t want to miss out on.
What is content marketing?
In content marketing, you create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. It's not rocket science, but it does take thoughtful planning, targeted strategy and an investment in resources (people and technology).
If you're spending more time blogging than building new products or pitching customers on deals they really need, your content-marketing initiative is either dead or dying.
Read also: 7 Secret Marketing Tips for Success
1) Building trust.
Content marketing is all about building trust with customers and prospects, so it’s important that you stick to these principles: always be honest and transparent, be ethical, don’t overpromise and under-deliver.
If they suspect you’re trying to pull a fast one on them, they won’t buy into your message—and won’t return for more.
The benefits of content marketing are huge. From more sales to more traffic and conversions, and most importantly, a better reputation in your niche.
But not every company succeeds with content marketing—and some might even get away with it for a while before their lies catch up with them.
Learn how you can use the power of content marketing ethically and effectively by following these basic rules: always be honest and transparent, be ethical, don’t overpromise and under-deliver.
2) Engaging customers.
Social media is great for engaging customers, both existing and potential.
According to Sirius Decisions’ 2017 CMO Survey, social media is the leading tool for building and strengthening relationships with current customers, with 80% of marketers saying it has contributed positively to their relationship with customers.
Social media also allows businesses to address customer complaints in real time and build strong bonds by showing customers how much their feedback matters.
Additionally, brands are increasingly turning to blogs and other forms of written content to reach customers. Research from Forbes Insights shows that over 40% of B2B marketers use content creation in their overall strategy, and almost half (48%) plan on increasing their investment in content marketing in 2017.
The combination of social media engagement with quality, relevant written content should make it easier than ever for brands to build strong relationships with customers.
Read also: The Top 10 Traits of a Successful Social Media Content Creator
3) Changing perception.
The benefits of content marketing are many. It is changing perception; it is creating a positive conversation around brands and products; it is bringing more people into your company and its culture.
A recent study found 68 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 91 percent would switch brands if given negative feedback.
Content marketing is critical for generating leads and growing sales, but also for brand awareness.
According to a recent survey conducted by CMO Council and MarketingProfs, more than half (56 percent) of marketers say generating new leads was their primary objective in their last content campaign, and nearly two-thirds (62 percent) used content as an educational tool.
4) Improved search ranking.
Because search engines favor sites with lots of user-generated, relevant content, they also rank pages with lots of user-generated content higher on their SERPs.
Search rankings are critical for businesses seeking new leads, so a strong content strategy is an important part of a digital marketing plan.
Content-marketing efforts also tend to pay for themselves, at least regarding their cost per lead.
According to Content Marketing Institute, businesses are generally able to generate 1:2 ROI on content-marketing campaigns within six months.
Read also: Your Complete Guide to Search Engine Marketing
5) Generating leads.
Companies with a strong following have an easier time developing leads because their customers are already interested in what they’re selling. Creating and promoting high-quality, helpful, and entertaining content is one way to boost lead generation.
If you follow your buyer personas on social media and write regularly on their interests, you’ll develop a positive relationship with them and make it more likely they’ll buy from you—in addition to sharing your posts with friends.
Focus on attracting and nurturing leads using highly effective tactics like e-mail automation, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO).
By implementing these strategies in a smart way, you’ll connect with buyers as soon as they show interest in what you have to offer and nudge them toward a purchase.
6) Creating brand awareness.
One of top benefits of content marketing is brand awareness. Customers tend to like businesses more if they read positive, trustworthy information about them online, and consistent postings and publishing provide businesses with free exposure and free visibility.
This builds brand recognition for your company among current customers as well as new prospects. If a customer trusts a certain brand, he's more likely to choose that brand again in the future.
What's more, your brand is seen as more relatable and genuine when customers read positive things about you online. The trust they develop by reading your site may eventually lead them to try one of your products or services.
So whether you’re a non-profit organization or a private enterprise, growing brand awareness is an excellent benefit of content marketing.
7) Influencing others' purchasing decisions.
Engaging with influencers within and outside of your organization is another benefit of content marketing because it allows you to reach potential customers when they’re researching, deciding between products or looking for support.
By tapping into existing communities and giving them exclusive insights, answers, and opinions, you can help sway purchasing decisions without putting out a cent on advertising.
Another benefit of content marketing is generating leads for sales. Whether it’s clicking on a banner or signing up for an email newsletter, leads are invaluable in any organization because they indicate serious interest from a potential customer.
In fact, some studies suggest that 47 percent of companies only generate between five and 20 leads per month, while 80 percent generate less than 10.
Read also: What Is Lead Generation B2B? How to Get the Most Out of Your Lead Generation B2B?
8) Developing staff expertise.
The single biggest benefit of content marketing is staff expertise. And it starts with establishing a company profile and an overall brand message.
It’s important to note that these two aspects—the profile and brand message—are really one in the same, particularly in terms of being a conduit for knowledge about your product or service.
If you are able to get specific information into employee's hands through training sessions and webinars, they can become go-to resources for prospects looking for information.
9) Improving brand loyalty.
With companies using content marketing for lead generation, it’s clear there are benefits of content marketing for small businesses. Customers now go online to do their research—and they’re looking at brands through digital lenses.
So if you have a clearly defined strategy and a commitment to creating interesting and engaging pieces, you could soon be reaping enormous benefits from content.
Content creation may seem like a lot of work, but it’s something you should consider if you want to improve your brand loyalty.
A 2012 Nielsen survey showed that 91 percent of consumers search online for local businesses.
That makes it easier than ever for customers to find out who you are and what you offer—good or bad. It also means there’s more power in content marketing than ever before.
10) Increased sales.
The most immediate benefit of content marketing is that it increases sales.
The more relevant, valuable content you provide, the more likely you’ll drive website visitors back to your product pages and/or affiliate links.
What’s more, high-quality content signals trustworthiness and authenticity—exactly what customers look for when they shop online!
And when it comes time to make a purchase decision, it’s no secret where customers are likely to turn.
Read also: The Complete Guide to the Content Marketing Funnel