No matter what size your business is, you’re probably interested in knowing how to increase sales. In fact, even businesses with a strictly local reach need to reach out in order to remain relevant. And increasingly, those marketing efforts are turning digital. As the saying goes, you meet people where they are. With the mainstream nature of social media and web browsing, this was inevitable.
As a result of this “digital first” shift, content marketing has become critical. Content is the currency of digital marketing, so without content, we simply can’t digitally exist. In fact, content has become so critical in marketing that we have a new generation of content entrepreneurs who have built businesses solely from content. This phenomenon is similar to the media entrepreneurs of yesteryear, and it includes a variety of enterprises ranging from affiliate marketing to subscription services.
What does this mean for business owners? Simply put, it’s critical that we learn to leverage the power of content marketing. Understanding the benefits of content marketing will help you understand the reason that it’s so important. You’ll also get a sense of which benefits you should be pursuing for your business.
The 14 Benefits of Content Marketing
While content marketing is essential to digital success, these stand out as being especially crucial and valuable benefits that content marketing can have for any company. Most of these will apply across industries, though a few might not be key to your business’ digital strategy. In addition, a proper digital strategy will emphasize some of these benefits over others.
The Visibility Benefits
The top of the sales funnel begins with brand awareness. With a properly-executed content strategy, even the smallest business can help people discover their brand. At the same time, the increased visibility of your brand will allow for a greater role in industry discussions. This is true even for businesses that primarily serve a local population, especially since there is usually competition even here.
1. Increases visibility and brand awareness
One of the benefits of content marketing is that it makes your business more visible by publishing content into channels where people are searching and consuming content. Over time, you undoubtedly will become known by more people. For instance, let’s say you’re a boutique retailer. Most people in your market know about the large players. But if they see your content, for instance, on Facebook then they’ll be more likely to check out your selection.
2. Lets you control the narrative of what your prospect is searching for
Controlling the narrative around your brand is important. The way that digital marketing helps is by having your content found instead of your competitors. In turn, they’ll realize that you are an expert in whatever niche you occupy. When expertise isn’t as much of an issue, then you have an unrivalled opportunity to tell people why you are the most important voice for them to listen to.
3. Helps you develop more and deeper relationships.
Your content provides more ways to digitally engage with Internet users and allows them to get to know you better. It also encourages them to consume more of your content. This can take many different forms, depending on the types of content you choose, the forum, and your industry. One example would be a hobby shop. As a rule, people who pursue a hobby will need advice on materials or techniques at some point. If the shop demonstrates their expertise, it can become a destination.
Further Reading: 11 Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From
4. Builds deeper trust and helps grow loyal fans through your content.
Another one of the benefits of content marketing is building trust. The more content you have, the more people will find ways to trust you and become your fan. After all, who is going to trust a company that doesn’t have any content on their website? Customers have no way to gauge how much you know about your topic without visiting. And if they have a choice, they’ll probably go elsewhere. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have “fans” of your content? Their influence is very valuable.
Further Reading: 7 Simple Ways to Produce Content That Builds Trust
5. Develop more authority for your brand.
The more consistently you publish content around your companies’ topic of expertise over time, the more you will be considered an expert on the subject. This will help you build authority both in the public and in the eyes of search engines. From a human standpoint, people are more likely to seek out your content for the answers on what matters. And in turn, Google and other search engines will increase your ranking as people visit more often.
6. Generates referrals.
If there is a piece of content that a customer, visitor, or fan likes, they can simply share the link and refer it to others. The same is said for those that link to your content should they find it valuable. Having content yields the potential for generating these types of content referrals. When people share the content you’ve produced, there is potential for consumers to buy things.
While this sharing is among the important benefits of content marketing for B2C brands, it’s even more important for B2B companies. One reason for this is the high level of research that the typical B2B decisionmaker carries out before contacting sales staff. These buyers often like to be convinced that a given product or service is the right one for their company upfront.
Further Reading: How to Create an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy in 8 Steps
The Tactical Marketing Benefits
Overall, the benefits of content marketing extend far beyond simple visibility. It’s one thing to get your name out there, and another to establish your brand as noteworthy. Doing so requires strategic marketing, because your content and other efforts need to be distributed in the right way. Overall, however, the research proves that content marketing = good marketing.
Further Reading: 7 Creative Ways to Increase Your Content Distribution and Promotion
7. Improves SEO.
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing, especially on your own website, is the improvement in SEO. In fact, studies have shown that websites which publish blogs have a whopping 434% more pages that are indexed by search engines than business sites which don’t have blogs.
There are a couple of reasons why this is the case. For one thing, there’s more opportunity for these sites to use keywords. Product or service descriptions can only get you so far: even if you put keywords into them, there won’t be much space. This could lead to keyword stuffing, which backfires. For another thing, Google and other search engines typically favor long-form content.
Further Reading: How SEO and Content Marketing are Linked
8. More website traffic.
Website traffic is another one of the benefits of content marketing. While you should never produce junk content (it ruins your credibility), you also shouldn’t ignore the importance of content. Here, I’m talking mostly about long-form written content that brings people to your site. While ads are important, people do need a reason to stay on your website, or to visit it spontaneously for information.
The efficacy of this technique is evident. If a business publishes 16 or more blog posts monthly they stand to gain nearly 3.5 times more traffic than competitors publishing four articles or fewer. Why does this work? Simply put, your website becomes more than a place to get basic information. It becomes a destination. In turn, you have the best opportunity to make an impression on customers.
9. More leads.
Here’s the thing. People love to get to know a company or a product before they buy it. While samples and other methods work on some level, they aren’t perfect. On the other hand, content marketing gives people something of value that they can access anywhere, any time. Even if it’s just a good laugh (witness the pandemic humor last year), these impressions are important.
Here’s the other thing: some content can even be used as a lead magnet. For B2B brands, this often involves giving out a whitepaper or seminar access. On my website, you can get a free chapter of my latest book. Either way, your customers get a chance to try something at the low cost of lead information. That’s why we have found that content marketing gets brands three times more leads than other marketing methods.
10. Helps educate your customers to improve conversions and generate more sales.
Would you rather buy something that you’re unsure will work, or go with an (almost) sure thing? For most people, being able to research the possibilities that are available, then pick the one that appears to best meet their needs, is very important. This is true for B2C marketing, especially in areas such as electronics, personal care, automotive, and others where the purchase price is high or the choice is hard to make. For instance, it can be hard to find the right skincare products for some people.
Likewise, B2B brands rely heavily on content marketing. If the stakes for certain consumer goods are high, then with businesses it’s even higher. For this reason, high-quality content marketing is the most influential technique. This is why the average B2B business spends 29% of its budget on content marketing.
Not convinced? Content marketing generates inbound leads. These have an almost 15% conversion rate, as opposed to the 1.7% rate realized from outbound leads generated. Especially considering the cost of outbound lead generation, the high conversion rate is among the best benefits of content marketing.
11. Helps support your social media presence.
Content gives you something to talk about – and be talked about by – in social media, increasing both the number of people who engage with your content as well as followers. Whether this involves your content being commented on, shared, or even criticized, this activity provides much-needed visibility online. Plus, as your follower counts increase your brand is more likely to attract the attention of influencers and other important contacts.
The Financial Benefits
Like any other investment a company makes, content should be considered no different. That being said, when you think about it, content marketing provides tremendous financial benefits that speak to a better bottom line. The financial benefits of content marketing ultimately include the possibility for better lower lead costs and better profitability.
12. Content marketing helps you build an increasingly valuable digital asset: Content.
Once you build content, you can continue to revise and repurpose it so that your ROI increases exponentially over time. In the industry, we refer to this as evergreen content. Here, the advantage is twofold. First, evergreen content remains relevant over time, so its impact on sales for the dollars spent improves. Second, you’ll spend less staff time working with evergreen content. Even when the content needs revisions or alterations, it’s faster than starting from scratch.
Further Reading: Content Marketing ROI: 10 Essential Metrics to Track
13. More efficient spend of marketing budget
I think everyone can agree that marketing is expensive. This is especially true with print and broadcast media, where you’re essentially paying for the production costs. At the same time, these media don’t always generate immediate results, though in the right format they do bring inbound leads. By contrast, content marketing is cost-effective at 62% cheaper than other marketing methods. It also gets triple the leads per dollar than paid search campaigns. Overall, it equates to more bang for your buck.
What does this mean in terms of strategy? Simply put, you need to include plenty of content marketing. This way, you can enjoy relatively inexpensive leads and, in addition, have a very visible brand. You never know who might need your products and services. As word spreads, they’ll find you, not vice versa.
14. Better performance marketing
Finally, the benefits of content marketing include overall better performance. This is enhanced through more effective retargeting, with every additional website visitor or email subscriber. Cookies, at least for now, are your friend because they will help you follow leads around the Web. In many cases, this lets you be in the right place at the right time. Often, customers think to look something up when they don’t have time to do so. And as a result, they don’t do it. With retargeting, you can send reminders which can arrive at just the right moment.
The Final Word on the Benefits of Content Marketing
By now, you’ve seen that content marketing is highly effective. More and more, it is becoming an indispensable part of any marketing strategy. Don’t just “do” content marketing because it is the current trend or some expert said you should. Consider the above benefits of content marketing and make sure you don’t miss out on reaping the potential rewards!
Hero photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash