I always like to begin articles like this one with a definition of terms. This ensures that we’re all on the same page, talking about the same thing. The “thing” in this case is “content marketing.” Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it (please bear with me for including a rather long quote):
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Businesses often use it to:
Attract attention and generate leads
Expand their customer base
Generate or increase online sales
Increase brand awareness or credibility
Engage an online community of users
Content marketing attracts prospects and transforms prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. Content marketing helps companies create sustainable brand loyalty, provides useful information to consumers, and creates a willingness to purchase products from the company in the future.
This relatively new form of marketing does not involve direct sales. Instead, it builds trust and rapport with the audience.
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new requirement.”
You might think that Wikipedia has done my job for me. But no. Despite the many great points about content marketing that Wikipedia has made, there is still more to be said about why you should be investing in content marketing. There is some overlap between Wikipedia’s top five reasons (see the five bullets above), which I will expand upon, and my top 5, as well as some new territory to explore.
Reason #1: The Bang for Your Buck
I definitely count this as my very top reason, because content marketing costs nothing. Of course, that may be overstating it a bit, because time is money and it does take time to develop valuable content and your time is valuable. Still, if you are creating the content yourself, your only cost is the cost of your time as opposed to any actual dollars spent.
So, let’s say that you spend an hour writing a blog, and it generates one lead that closes. And let’s say that the average price of your product or service is $500. You have now spent zero dollars to earn $500. Even if we ascribe a dollar value of say $100 to an hour of your time, you will have spent $100 to earn $500 with a net profit of $400.
Alternatively, if you farm out the writing to a blog writer who charges say $150 per blog, in this scenario, you will have spent $150 to earn $500 with a net profit of $350.
And in none of the above scenarios have we even looked at the long-term value of that single new customer, which could be significantly more than the initial $500.
The bang for your buck makes content marketing a significant investment.
Reason #2: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Whether you are posting content on your company website or on social media platforms, the search engine web crawlers are always on the lookout for new content. If they don’t see new content on any one of those platforms, they will rather quickly bounce off your site or your social media accounts to look for new content elsewhere.
Ultimately, your SEO ranking moves up a bit each time the crawlers find your new content. Here again, this is a rather simplistic explanation of how SEO works, but the simple truth is that new content enhances your web presence and helps your prospects find you. Without any dollar expenditure on your part. Without paid advertising. And without paid, “retargeting.”
All it takes is a couple of blogs a month on your website and a few social media posts, which can link back to your blogs.
Reason #3: Thought Leadership
As just one solution provider in a large field of solution providers, how do you set yourself apart from and above the rest? The answer is content marketing. All your competitors can boast their years of experience and expertise, just as you do. So, although experience and knowledge are essential, they’re not a differentiator. What about all your awards and certifications? Your competitors have those, too.
Content marketing is the easiest way to demonstrate your leadership by blogging and posting relevant material on all your platforms. Every piece of free content that you post testifies to your knowledge and your thought leadership. Relevant content makes you the “go-to” provider of solutions in your areas of expertise.
Reason #4: Establishing Trust
Buyers of software solutions and management services want to know that they can trust you to optimize their investment. Trust is a hard-earned commodity. How do you earn trust? Your clients trust you because you have successfully implemented projects for them, on time, and on budget. But new prospects don’t have any tangible reasons for trusting you. Now yet. You must find a way to win their trust before they can even decide to become your client.
How do you accomplish that? Once again, content marketing is a free and easy way to earn trust. You can blog and post about your successful projects with testimonials from your clients. You can case studies as the basis for blogs and social media posts. This kind of content adds to your credibility and engenders trust.
Reason #5: Content Marketing Is Sustainable
When you think the methods available for marketing your company, ask yourself if they are sustainable. What happens to your email marketing once it has reached the inboxes of your target audience? How long will an email be in those inboxes? How long before the recipients delete it or before it is buried beneath the onslaught of emails that they receive every day? Think about your own inbox. How many marketing emails do you receive from companies you know absolutely about? What do you do with those emails? Do you read them or delete them? I know what I do. Delete, delete, delete.
I am not saying that email marketing is ineffective. It is a numbers game. A small percentage of your emails will be opened. An even lower percentage will reply.
When you post a piece of content marketing on your website, it stays there. No one, but you can delete it or file it away where it is forgotten. It continues to exist in a place where the web crawlers can find it and where it comes up on the search engines when your prospects type in the relevant search terms.
Every piece of content marketing that you post is sustainable.
Content is king! It is free. It enhances your SEO. Content establishes your thought leadership and engenders trust. And it is sustainable.
About the Author
Jon Rivers – Jon has been recognized as a pioneer within the partner channel as a digital marketing expert for his leadership in helping partners develop social brands, marketing strategies, and content to drive successful marketing campaigns.
Before starting Marketing Monarchs, Jon spent many years working in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP ecosystem system. Jon serves on various boards, including Directions North America, IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners), and CMA (Channel Marketing Alliance).