Content marketing is a business promotion strategy based on creating useful content for a target audience. This content can be created and distributed in different ways. The format depends on a company’s budget and specific business objectives. Social media, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, media publications, e-books, printed books, case studies, training courses, and events can all be considered content marketing.
The main goal of content marketing is to give people something of value in order to get something in return: subscriptions, requests, loyalty, etc.
Why Content Marketing is Relevant Now
People have always had questions about what matters to them: how something works, what product to choose, what can solve their problems—in other words, how to make their lives better. One of the main ways people find answers to their questions is by turning to the internet for information.
The pandemic has led people to consume more online content than ever before. Average internet use has increased in all age groups since the quarantine began. With content marketing, businesses can answer the questions potential customers ask, which means they can give users something valuable—information.
How Content Marketing Can Help
A content marketing strategy can be multifaceted and include different formats and distribution channels. Even if your company only has a social media presence, creating content takes time and resources. If you want to implement mass mailing, run a blog, or provide content to publications, then your investment will be even greater. Your company would have to put together a team, allocate a budget, and develop new procedures for content creation. So, let’s figure out what goals can be achieved and whether it’s worth getting involved in content marketing in the first place.
Increasing Traffic and Improving Site Rankings
Studying popular Google search queries will help you figure out what information people are looking for and adapt your content to match it. The most important is text content. Informative and relevant content that responds to user requests can be included not only in search results but also in Google’s featured snippets.
If what a user sees in a search result matches their question, they click on the link to get more information. With valuable content, you can continue to engage the user after they enter your site by recommending something else for them to read. Useful content helps to improve your ranking and drive traffic to your site without risking a search engine penalty like you would with grey hat search engine optimization methods.
Expanding Your Marketing Funnel
The ultimate goal of a business is to make money. The user’s journey to making a purchase is presented as a funnel. At different stages, potential customers “fall out.” The classic model of such a funnel is AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
The purchase stage is the last one in the funnel. If you want more people to make it to that stage, then more people should be engaged in the earlier stages. Content marketing helps you expand your funnel. By creating useful content, you can increase the number of potential customers at every stage. You will attract more users, encourage them to buy from you, get them interested in your offer, and also promote repeat purchases. Buying advertisements can be expensive and, at times, ineffective, but content marketing can actually lower the cost per user acquisition, especially when a company sells an expensive or complex product like job training or real estate.
Setting Yourself Apart From Competitors
When deciding to purchase a product or service, users review and compare offers from several companies. Useful content can tip the scales in your favor.
If clients want to read up on a service or company in more detail or figure out how to solve their problem, you offer them information that allows them to make a choice. This sets the company apart from competitors that either do not create content or do not invest in quality content. It also inspires trust when the company helps to solve a client’s problem.
If you communicate with clients by answering their questions in the comments, for example, then this not only gives additional information about the service but also creates more confidence in your business. This kind of communication with the user is a great way to encourage repeat business.
Learning About Your Customer Base
Feedback helps you understand what problems clients come to the company and what in the company needs improvement. You can get this kind of feedback in a variety of ways—one way is by reading the comments under any content you provide.
Users often leave comments about the concerns they have under related content. These comments will help you understand what people worry about when they make their decisions, what could prevent them from choosing your proposal, what problems they have encountered, and what impression they have of the company or product.
Creating an Image of Expertise and Reliability
When a company sells a complex and expensive product, customers have high expectations. If the path to purchase is lengthy, and the product itself is associated with risks or concerns the emotional sphere, then clients need to choose a company they feel they can trust. For example, this applies to medical services, services for the repair and sale of real estate, expensive training courses, and services for children like childcare, youth centers, clubs, and schools.
Expert content helps demonstrate that the company genuinely understands what it offers to clients and employs competent professionals. People trust experts and look for ready-made solutions to their problems. To convince clients that your company can give them that, a content marketing strategy is key.
Recognition helps build trust for a company or specialist. People trust those they have heard or seen more. Expert content promoted through publications on other sites, in the media, and with the help of special projects will help reach many users and clearly connect the brand with its products in their minds.
Users share content on their own through social media and direct messages to each other. Also, users can generate content themselves and promote the company by tagging it in their social media stories to give their followers advice about the products, as well as by posting pictures.
People, promoting your content do not have to be a blogger. A review from an ordinary user without obvious advertising interests can actually inspire more trust. For users to share their impressions, however, you will have to create an engaging content and encourage them to tag the company and leave reviews.
When Content Marketing Isn’t Necessary
Even with all the potential benefits of content marketing, it should only be used if the company has a well-established business with a solid product or service offer. Some businesses may simply not need it. We’ll look at those cases now.
Problems with a Product or Service
If the quality of the product leaves much to be desired, and people are unhappy with their purchases, then content marketing will not force them to think otherwise. How you present your company is also important here. For example, no one expects high quality from products from the 99 Cent Store, and the store does not fight against that expectation.
Content marketing also won’t solve service problems. A product can be of excellent quality, and the company’s blog and social media may be full of useful content, but if an employee is rude to the clients, all that effort is meaningless.
Problems with Internal Processes
Content marketing doesn’t sell anything by itself. A special project, media publication, and social media posts can lead people to want to buy a company’s product, but that’s not enough. You have to actually sell the product to them.
If the entire sales department is on vacation and no one can solve the client’s problem, help them make decisions, or answer questions, then the sale will not happen. The client will take their business elsewhere.
Specific Business Models
There is no need for a local auto shop or fast food restaurant to use a content marketing strategy. Customers come to them in a different way.
If a client needs a minor quick repair or a flat tire, they will choose a nearby auto shop. When a person is hungry, they will buy a burger at the nearest fast food place—they won’t drive to the other end of the city for it.
Think about how customers come to you and then assess whether content marketing would be useful for your business.
Content marketing can help promote a business as long as the company doesn’t have problems with the product itself or with its internal processes. Content helps to answer questions, stay in touch with customers, understand their needs, and offer solutions.
What ultimately sells the product is not the content or some perfect formula for success, but the company’s ability to solve problems. Content marketing is simply a way to communicate how a business can benefit potential customers.