'Content is king.' A well-known phrase used as a marketing buzzword. This year, it has become more relevant than ever before. In today's times, when consumers have become more demanding and tech-savvy, businesses must up their content marketing game to attract, inspire, engage, and convert their prospective customers.
Content is and will always remain the heart of marketing. You can never challenge the power of words. Content is indeed the best and most efficient way to connect with your audience, create brand awareness, showcase your brand's authority, and build trust.
The power of content marketing can be recognized from this fact: in 2016 more than 90% businesses decided to turn to content marketing. More companies were planning to join hands with content marketers to get on the bandwagon and keep up with the fast-paced digital world in the years to come. In short, there's no exaggeration in stating that every successful business today uses content marketing to climb the ladder of success.
There are tons of reasons why content marketing will always remain relevant to promote your business. But before we dive into that information, we should take a brief look at what content marketing really is. Does it really mean anything or is it just a fad? Does this cool buzzword offer exactly what it promises? And how can it help you achieve your business goals?
This article will reveal everything you want to learn about content marketing. From learning about the basic idea behind the terminology to using content creation tools to how you can implement it as a crucial aspect of your business communication strategy, and the top seven reasons why it is still the most relevant part of your digital marketing – we will discuss every detail here. So stay hooked!
What is content marketing, really?
Content Marketing Institute has given a very in-depth detail of what content marketing really is. To sum it up in a sentence, we can say it's an effectual marketing strategy focused on developing and distributing consistent, relevant, and valuable content to engage and retain prospective customers and target audience.
This strategic approach is carried out to drive profitable actions from customers in the long run. It requires setting a clear goal and deciding the movement of your content and how it should be taken closer to your digital marketing strategies. Next, the content you create must also possess benefits for your targeted audience. This requires you to think beyond demographics. What are the needs, wants, concerns, interests, and questions of your prospects? What role does your service or product play in their lives? What expertise do you possess that could benefit them? What type of content are they looking for that would engage, entertain, and inform them about your brand in a meaningful manner?
Last but not the least, the content you create must be consistent, relevant, and valuable to your prospective customers!
- Consistency: engaging content distributed promptly to keep your brand remembered and recognizable. The tone, style, and feel of your writing should connect with your customers, so they become more familiar with your business.
- Relevancy: the content must be relevant for your customers by matching their interests, needs, and wants. Become that brand they would instantly think of when they need a trusted expert. Your customers need to believe; you understand their specific requirements.
- Valuable: the information you distribute should be worthwhile for your customers. It should contain something that instantly connects with them. After watching a video or reading your blog, your customers should feel as if they have learned something new or have been entertained in some way.
If your customers give back a profitable action, it's a clear indication that your content marketing strategy is working.[thrive_leads id='17102']
Why content marketing is vital for 'consumers.'
With so much data accessible on the internet, consumers are becoming more demanding about getting good information about the product or service you are trying to sell. If you fail to convince them, you lose customers.
Think of yourself as a consumer. We now go through as many details as possible before making a purchase. We compare prices, check reviews, study different products, and compare features before we could make our mind. From buying latest gadgets to grocery shopping, the variety encourages us to examine the deals and prices before we are ready to lock our money.
Good content matters to consumers because it helps them make informed decisions. Instead of feeling sold to the organization, consumers are more responsive when they can access good and informative content.
A Roper Survey of business decision makers revealed that almost 80 percent consumers prefer more information about a prospective purchase through articles than traditional methods of advertising. According to the same survey, around 70 percent consumers believe content makes them feel closer to the organization and helps them in making better buying decisions.
Role of content marketing for search engines
Search engines - like Google - are the go-to place for every consumer in search of answers to their questions. Most consumers are looking for your products and services using search engines. To ensure your prospective customers reach you, it's important to be present when they Google it.
For businesses that use content marketing also usually have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan in operation. Search engines, on the other hand, are more inclined towards providing better and more improved services to their customers. Therefore, they keep updating their algorithms to enhance the quality of results they display at every search. Good content and a strong SEO strategy go hand in hand. This is why it’s important for businesses to consider SEO service cost as well.
Unfortunately, the majority of the people wouldn't even consider going to the second page of Google search results. And if that's where your content fails, your entire content marketing strategy would crumble down too.
The rule of thumb here is not only to identify Google's red flags but create killer content that is both SEO and user-friendly.
Content marketing and its benefits to your business
Engaging content is the key to establishing stronger relationships with your customers. Without implementing any hard-sell techniques, your company is still able to draw traffic to your website through great content on social media platforms, web-directories, and other sites. This helps boost your ranking on search engines. Last but not the least, it also gives your audience the opportunity to share your content on their respective online platforms.
Content marketing is crucial to business' success. Organizations that work with high-quality content naturally attract more inbound links and visitors, who later change into customers.
Content marketing: how to get started
While the importance of content marketing is not hidden from marketers or business owners, many have yet to experience what it really is. Many businesses are into 'content marketing' but are not following a defined strategy.
Following are the major steps that would help you craft a proper content marketing plan. Follow this framework as your guide:
- Planning: setting a business vision will help you design a direction for your strategy. You can set your entire content marketing plan around it to achieve them.
- Prospects: what type of audience do you have? Do you have multiple segments or a homogenous audience? Use content marketing to create a match with your audience's needs, concerns, and interests.
- Content development: determine the kind of message you want your customers to receive. Once you know what you want to communicate, it is easier to come up with relevant content. Use a consistent feel and tone to represent the value and expertise of your business. Great content should be optimized for your business goals, search engines, and audience.
- Implement: what methods are you considering for distributing your content? Will you set up a blog or publish articles on your website? Are you going to utilize different social media platforms? What topics will you cover and how often will they be updated? In addition to answering all these questions, also set a consistent schedule to establish familiarity with your prospects.
- Keep track of your results: is your content marketing strategy working as you have planned? Does it have any impact on the search engine ranking or your website traffic? If yes, what and how much? Are you getting more conversions? Is the content able to resonate with your audience's needs and requirements? Tracking the results is one of the best ways to find out how your audience is reacting to your content. Use that information to learn and improve what you have implemented.
All of the steps mentioned above offer you great opportunity to establish, improve, and monitor if your content marketing strategy is working. With all of that information in hand, now you are ready to learn about the top seven reasons why content marketing is still the king in 2018 and will remain the same in the years to come.
Top reasons you still need content marketing in 2018
Every successful digital marketing campaign owes its triumph to valuable and quality content. We have narrowed down 7 reasons that will help you understand why content is relevant to the digital marketing landscape of 2018:
- Content improves brand recognition
Great customized content enables you to know your audience and establishes trust with them. The reputation-building qualities of content marketing cannot be ignored, especially in today’s fast-paced digital marketplace where businesses are competing furiously to secure that coveted first-page place on Google. One of the most effectual ways to gain this prestigious position is to woo your target audience. The more they trust and communicate with you, the more Google will love you. So, the question now is how do you create content that speaks to your customers and in turn motivates them to talk to you? Here are some efficient ways to do that:
- Custom content: content that is specifically designed to answer your customers’ queries and concerns is an instant trust-builder. And for that, you need to find high-quality resources who understand your customer base and what they require from you. Avoid using automatic content creation tools. They may be a cheap option, but they cannot deliver customized content for your audience.
- Educate & inform: your content should educate and inform your customers about your product/service and how it benefits them. Don’t just stick to the safe zones and toot your horn. Answer the burning questions about your goods. If there is a controversy going on surrounding your product/service, you can use this medium to dissolve it and turn customers around to your side. Convince them through your content why they should prefer you over other brands.
- Invite influencers: consider publishing content through third-party publishers or ask other influencing parties to share your content. When people see your content being shared by other industry influencers, they will trust you too by association. Not only will this build trust, but it will also expand your customer base.
Remember, a strong, positive brand reputation is the product of a good content marketing strategy.
- Build a relationship with customers
As discussed above, content helps build trust and brand reputation, helping you acquire more new customers. But what about the ones who have purchased from you before? Would you let them go or make them come back for more? There’s no denying the fact that repeat customers are the backbone of a business. BIA Kelsey reports that 61% of small businesses claim that repeat customers are responsible for generating half of their revenue. Likewise, Marketing Tech Blog also states that a repeat customer is worth 10 times their first purchase.
It’s evident that returning customers make up a huge part of a business’s revenue. This is why it’s essential to find ways to establish a strong relationship with your customers so that they don’t hesitate to come back for more.
This is where content marketing enters the scene. Great content not only brings new customers, but it also retains the old ones. It helps you establish strong brand advocates that offer value to your consumers and encourage repeat sales.
Here’s the type of content that can help you retain customers:
- How-to and step-by-step guides
- Brand guides and comparisons
- Informative and promotional visual content
This type of content empowers customers to make informed purchase decisions, building trust and encouraging them to purchase from you again.
- A cost-efficient way to generate leads
Lead generation is significant for businesses, especially start-ups. The challenge for start-ups is to get more traffic in limited resources. This is where a strong content marketing strategy plays a crucial role. Through good content marketing, small businesses can generate consistent traffic, acquire new leads, and consequently boost sales. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of money, unlike other marketing platforms.
According to a survey conducted by DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times more leads on every dollar spent. The affordability of this marketing method makes it an essential strategy for a small business that wants to make the most of their budget.
However, content marketing is a time-intensive process, which means that it may take some time to come up with promising results. The content quality also plays an eminent role in this regard. The higher the quality, the faster you will generate leads. According to Social Media Examiner, over 81% marketers experienced an increase in traffic by spending as little as 6 hours/week in generating their social media content. Nevertheless, the ROI on content marketing is worth the time and efforts.
Here’s how you can maximize ROI through content:
- Create a content marketing strategy that focuses on your target audience.
- Do not create content just for the sake of writing something, make sure it offers value to your audience.
- To get your money and time’s worth, create content that complements your other promotional methods.
- Content influences conversions
If you still doubt the effectiveness of content marketing, take a look at these conversion statistics, and you’ll see how valuable quality content is for marketing strategies.
- In a survey, 74% companies attributed their increased leads, both in quality and quantity, to content marketing. (Curata)
- Conversion rates for content marketing are around 6 times higher than other digital marketing techniques. (ABG Essentials)
- HubSpot states that inbound marketers were able to increase their conversion rate from 6% to 12% partly due to content marketing.
- 61% U.S. consumers purchase a product or avail a service after reading recommendations on a blog.
The statistics mentioned above show how relevant content is for conversions. The reason it works is that content helps you connect with your potential leads and educate them. Consequently, this fosters an honest relationship. Plus, it encourages conversions by giving the power to consumers to make an informed purchase.
How can you optimize your content for conversions? It’s simple, by including a strong and clear call-to-action (CTA). It tells the consumers what they need to do to make the purchase, guiding them step by step through the conversion process. Converting can mean different things to different businesses. For some it denotes getting in touch with the sales team, for others, it means getting more information. Clarify it to the potential customer what exactly they need to do to close the conversion process through CTA.
- Customers want more quality content
Have you ever thought why content marketing even works? Well, that’s because people WANT to read good content. This is evident from the fact that:
- 20% time of internet users is spent reading online.
- 68% people are interested in reading about the brands they like.
- 80% internet users find information about brands through their custom-created content.
Give the people what they want through valuable content that makes your target audience want to communicate with you. Take it as an opportunity to show your audience what your brand is all about. Give your content a brand voice and WOW your audience.
When creating content, select topics that help you establish a connection with the audience who is eager to read content about you. Keep in focus their interests, challenges, and requirements. Find that one element that represents your brand and sets your content apart from the millions present on the web.
- Optimized content improves SEO
SEO plays a vital role in making your business appear on top search engine results. And good SEO relies on great content. Without optimized content, your website has no chance of making it to the top.
Tech Client declares content creation as the most effective SEO tactic. According to another source, business websites that post content consistently get their pages indexed by search engines 434% more than the sites who don’t publish anything. This shows that the more content you have on the site, the more feasible it is for Google to index your pages and make your website appear in the first page results.
How does it work? By creating more optimized content, you are increasing the chances of ranking your website for more keywords. For this, you will have to create blogs and articles using keywords that are relevant to your target audience. So, the more people search for those keywords, the higher your website will be in the search results.
Not to forget, more content on your website gives a chance for your potential customers to stick around and explore your products/services. This means a high stay time, which has a positive impact on SEO.
- Stand out from your competitors
It’s important for a brand to stand out from the crowd, and content marketing helps you do just that! It shows the world what’s special about your company and why the customer should purchase from it.
When people are searching for a product or service, they a looking for a solution to their problem(s). And the company that explains best how their product/service can solve that problem wins over the customer. Content marketing gives you the opportunity to not only address the issue but also tell the consumer how it can benefit them in some ways.
Simultaneously, you can set your brand apart from the competitor’s by adding a unique flair to your content. The language, tone, and word choice of your content can be fundamental to your brand personality. Through these elements, you can tell what your brand is all about. Is it serious and factual? Or is it funky and hip? You can tell all about your brand through the voice of your content and set yourself apart from other businesses.
The bottom line
All the reasons mentioned above show that content marketing is going to stay at the forefront of the digital marketing scene this year and for the many years to come.
Businesses of all sizes will need to tap into the content pool to make their brand visible and profitable. Simultaneously, it will also help brands establish a stable and long-term relationship with their customers.