In the contemporary world there are two ways you can promote your business: through conventional advertising or through content marketing.
If you plan to use a mix of conventional advertising and content marketing, then there are three ways of promoting your business.
Most content marketers claim, and perhaps rightly, that content marketing is far better than conventional advertising because through content marketing you build relationships and through conventional advertising you simply push your marketing messages in front of people whether they want to see those messages or not.
Due to the Internet and the waning popularity of TV channels, most of the advertising is shifting to the Internet.
This is good and bad for advertisers.
Good, because advertising can now be more scientific and data-oriented. Targeting is better on the Internet due to technology. You can create various versions of your advertisement to target very narrow audiences without incurring much cost.
Massive amounts of data are available to advertisers for better targeting. Social networking platforms like Facebook and Google know practically everything about you and they share this data with companies and businesses that want to advertise on Facebook and Google. This brings down their costs and improves conversion.
The bad thing is, if I don’t like your advertisement, I can block it. I can use an ad-blocker plug-in for my browser and refuse to see any advertisements. There are many alternate browsers available that block all sort of advertising.
Image credit: Search Engine Land
Since most of the people are consuming digital content they can easily skip advertisements.
Online video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are a hit mainly because you cannot only control what you want to watch you also don’t have to see the commercials.
This also tells us one more thing: people don’t want to see advertisements and given a chance, they take measures to avoid them.
This is why businesses need content marketing.
Content marketing is nonintrusive. It is non-invasive. It doesn’t annoy you. Ideally, it doesn’t hard sell.
Why content marketing is better than conventional advertising
Content marketing allows you to build relationships with your current and prospective customers and clients.
In case you haven’t explored other sections of my website and blog where I have repeatedly explained what content marketing is, in simple terms, it means giving very useful content to people so that they are grateful for your help and appreciate the knowledge, the information, and the wisdom that you regularly share with them.
High-quality content allows you to keep in touch with your prospects without annoying them.
Everybody appreciates timely help. I will give you a small example.
Recently I subscribed to LongtailPro (disclaimer: it is my affiliate link). As the name suggests, it is a long tail keyword analysis tool that tells you which keywords to target for, to improve your search engine rankings.
Whether you opt for their trial version or buy the premium version, from day one they start emailing you tips and tutorials on how you can optimally use LongtailPro to improve your search engine rankings.
Just imagine, you have purchased the subscription hoping that in the coming days you are going to improve your search engine rankings and consequently, generate more business from your website, but you are unaware of most of the features of the app. Many people find using the app quite overwhelming.
It helps you greatly if you continuously receive tips and tutorials in your inbox.
Not just in the inbox, even on their website they have lots of videos and blog posts explaining how to do keyword research and how to obtain more suggestions for your content marketing campaigns.
People who really want to work hard and using the app, want to improve their search engine rankings, really appreciate this useful content and don’t mind if they continuously get the updates by email.
What’s the benefit for LongtailPro?
With the help of the useful content if you can use the app more productively, you will have a greater satisfaction level.
Having greater satisfaction level means you will be actually using the app to improve your search engine rankings.
You will not unsubscribe in a couple of months, totally disappointed.
If you are disappointed because no help was available, you will think that the app is lousy and you will tell the same to the others.
But if you are happy you will not only remain subscribed (it’s a monthly subscription), you will also recommend LongtailPro to the others.
So, it is of immense importance to the promoters of LongtailPro that you are able to use the app optimally.
This can be applicable to any business. If your business depends on people being constantly interested in your brand, then your useful content can help you greatly.
It gives people a reason to visit your website or blog regularly. Your brand becomes familiar to them. They enjoy getting updates from you. They even recommend your business to their family and friends.
Advertising on the other hand is totally opportunistic and emotionless. If people come across just your advertisements, they don’t give a damn whether you exist or not. But if you send them useful content regularly, it’s in their best interest that your business sustains.
The biggest benefits of content marketing for your business
- Improve your search engine rankings: Content marketing, done properly, makes you publish high-quality content. When you publish content regularly you tend to cover all the topics concerning your profession. Also, continuously covering different topics increases your overall keyword density. It also gives people a reason to link to your website and promote your content on you social media websites.
- Increase referral traffic: A big benefit of publishing high-quality content on an ongoing basis is that other websites have a reason to link to your website. This increases referral traffic. Referral traffic is the traffic that comes straightaway from non-search-engine sources.
- People have a reason to visit your website: Do you needlessly visit a website unless it is your own website? No, you don’t. But then, there are many websites that you regularly visit because they have great content, or they have some interesting activity you like to participate in. The point is, continuously publishing and marketing content brings repeat traffic to your website. When people repeatedly come to your website they are more inclined towards doing business with you.
- Due to your educational content people are able to make better use of your product or service: As you have seen the above LongtailPro example, they make sure that you are able to use the app properly through multiple videos and blog posts. This can be done with every product or service. Suppose you sell mobile phones online. You can publish lots of tutorials on how to take care of your mobile phone, how to solve various problems and how to make sure your data is safe. There can be hundreds of topics related to having a good experience with one’s mobile phone. Similarly, if you are selling a subscription-based service people will stick to you if they constantly hear from you and if you are always there with helpful information that they can implement fruitfully.
- Expand your brand presence on the web: The Internet is constantly buzzing with activity. New content is constantly being published. People are addicted to social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are constantly being bombarded with all sorts of messages. In so much noise, how do you make sure that people are able to notice your brand? By expanding your presence on the web through quality content.
- Increase brand loyalty: Have you ever seen Open Forum? It is an online publication catering to business owners, business managers and entrepreneurs. Lots of business-related tips and suggestions. Open Forum is published by American Express, a financial services company. All the people making use of their information would rather do business with them than with another financial services company that simply asks for their business without giving them good advice or without being there to help.
- Lower advertising and marketing costs: Why do you need to spend money on advertising and marketing? Because you need to maintain your visibility. You want people to remember your brand. If they want to buy a washing machine, they should remember that you sell washing machines. Conventional advertising is unscientific, unreliable, haphazard and very expensive. Also the cost involved in content marketing is not as exorbitant as advertising and every piece of high-quality content builds up lasting relationships for you.
- Every business can use content marketing: A great thing about content marketing is that it can be easily scaled. Whether you are a large corporation employing thousands of professionals or a one-man-woman show being run from a basement or a balcony, you can use content marketing according to your size and budget. The key is, use it in the right way. Don’t indulge in copycat tactics.
How to do basic level content marketing for your business?
There is one important thing that you need to understand: content marketing is not a one-time affair. It is an ongoing process. Just like you have to take care of your business, you need to take care of content marketing.
But don’t worry, once it begins to pay you, you will enjoy doing content marketing for your business. You may indulge in the following activities to content marketing for your business:
- Publish a regularly-updated blog covering your niche topics
- Post useful content on social networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
- Build your own mailing list and send regular updates to your subscribers
- Publish informative articles and web pages on your website
- Offer to write for other websites and blogs
- Write an e-book and offer it for free
- Publish case studies on your website
- Make your existing content available in different formats such as YouTube videos, PowerPoint slides and infographics
These are all quite doable steps. You can either hire a small agency like Credible Content or you can do content marketing on your own at this scale.