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6 Indisputable Benefits of Content Marketing

6 benefits of content marketing – header image

Benefits of Content Marketing

What are the benefits of content marketing?

Although in the history of advertising, marketing and business promotion, you can find innumerable examples of entrepreneurs using content marketing to its utmost advantage, people are still sceptical about it.

And this is when, everything that exists on the web is content. According to this description of content marketing on Moz:

Every email, every tweet, every landing page, and every product description—they’re all examples of content, and one of the best ways of describing what they all have in common was summed up brilliantly by Ian Lurie, of Portent, Inc.:

Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’
Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.
— Ian Lurie, CEO, Portent, Inc.

Also read What is Content Marketing? Explained in detail

One of the major reasons why people cannot make sense of content marketing is that its benefits are not immediate.

For example, if you get a website designed, after a couple of months, you will have an online presence and you will be able to see the various parts of your website. Whether you like it or not, the website will be there right in front of you. You will be able to look at it yourself, and you will be able to show it to whomever you feel like.

Beyond the basic content – the text and the images and the videos that you have on your website – the benefit of content marketing is not visible. You can either predict it or imagine it.

Content marketing benefits seem very far away

Content marketing benefits seem very far away

To an average businessperson, concepts like building an audience, providing good quality content and expanding presence on the web, seem like “big business”-talk and consequently, intimidating. But they are not.

Just like these concepts work at the macro level, they also work at the micro level.

Also, most of the content marketers cannot guarantee success, primarily because the clients are reluctant to invest enough money (within appropriate budget, content marketing success can be guaranteed).

Unless all the parties involved are on the same plain and totally understand what they are trying to achieve, it is very difficult to experience success in content marketing.

Fortunately, there are various organizations, evangelists and interest groups that are constantly endeavoring to educate business managers and decision makers about the power of content marketing.

Doing research on the same topic, I came across an interesting graphic. I didn’t want to use the graphic so I reproduced it by slightly altering it. The graphic below summarizes the 6 indisputable benefits of content marketing.

6 Benefits of Content Marketing

Benefits of Content Marketing

When we talk of the benefits, we assume that everything necessary to carry out a well-defined content strategy is being done.

Below I’m going to describe these individual content marketing benefits and will also tell you how you can derive these benefits for your own business no matter what size your business is.

Benefits of content marketing

1. Increased website traffic

Website traffic

Website traffic

90% of Credible Content clients hire us because they want to improve their search engine rankings, which means, they need more website traffic from search engines.

This is the most sure shot advantage of using high-quality content to create your presence on the web.

To rank your website or individual links, Google needs to access,  crawl, index and rank your content. Without content, Google has got nothing to process.

How the strategic content marketing increase your website traffic from search engines and other sources?

Improving your search engine rankings has multipronged benefits. You begin to get more search engine traffic. More people are able to find your content.

When they find your content on search engines, they don’t necessarily do business with you. They may simply link to your content, which sends you direct traffic and also improves your SEO.

If it is interesting and useful, they may also share your content on their social media and social networking profiles, giving you a social presence.

Google takes your social presence into account when writing your content.

The marketing part means that you distribute your content through as many channels as possible.

Once you have published a blog post, for example, you share your link on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. You may also republish it on Medium and LinkedIn.

You may also encourage other influencers in your industry to share your content.

This way, Google has multiple opportunities to come across your content. If somehow its crawlers are not crawling your website, they will be able to find and index your links from other sources, mostly from social media and social networking websites.

Google+ is Google’s own social networking platform so even if it doesn’t look for your content on other social networking websites, it is definitely going to find it on its own network.

2. Brand awareness

Brand awareness with content marketing

Brand awareness with content marketing

Again, branding isn’t just for big businesses.

If you come across some reference of Credible Content on another website or a blog or a social networking platform and immediately you know that it is an agency that provides quality content, it’s branding.

Read Statistically most B2B enterprises use content marketing for brand awareness

Whether you realize it or not, whether you admit it or not, an average customer or client has multiple choices these days. Your competitor’s website is just a click away, or a new Google search away.

Unless you give them a reason to remember you or recognize you, they’re going to forget about you. Persistent content marketing creates an awareness of your brand and people always remember what you stand for.

If you regularly publish a newsletter, say, one broadcast every week, when people recognize your newsletter, when they know and remember who has sent the newsletter and what the newsletter contains, that’s brand awareness.

3. Customer engagement

Content marketing for customer engagement

Content marketing for customer engagement

Why should people do business with you? Especially for the first time?

Why should they choose you over another business?

Through content marketing you can keep your customers engaged in conversations.

If you offer a solution, if you offer a suggestion, if you offer some sort of help, people are going to respond, in whatsoever manner. This is engagement.

Read 10 ways to write highly engaging content

You need to engage your prospective customers and clients positively. This way, the more you engage them in meaningful conversations, the more eager they are to do business with you.

How do you engage your customers with quality content?

I will cite the LongtailPro example.

A few days ago I purchased a LongtailPro subscription. Before I had purchased the subscription, I had used their trial version.

After using their trial version, I didn’t purchase the subscription for more than two years. But, to be able to use their trial version, I had given them their email ID and once in a while they used to send me some data about my website and also, how I can use LongtailPro, if I start my subscription, to improve my search engine rankings.

These were not just promotional messages. Their messages were constantly helping me.

After I purchased a subscription I still get tutorials on how to make the full use of their app. They have uploaded numerous YouTube videos and they keep prompting me to have a look at them to properly understand how to use the app.

I can also give you my own example. If you have been an old subscriber of my Credible Content updates, you may have noticed that I have started broadcasting my newsletter regularly after quite a while.

Ever since I started again, I have received 5 queries from my subscribers (it has just been two weeks or even less) and one among these 5 queries has turned into a paid assignment (Hello Francis!).

This way, content marketing helps you keep your audience engaged.

4. Leads and conversion

More leads and better conversion

More leads and better conversion

This is quite simple. As your website traffic increases, as your brand becomes known, as you engage with your target audience, you naturally get more leads and these leads naturally convert more.

5. Your own broadcasting channel

Develop your own broadcasting channel

Develop your own broadcasting channel

When you publish a blog regularly, when you send out your email newsletter regularly, you build an audience. People start paying attention to you.

Whenever you publish a blog post, you draw people from the search engines. If you post your updates on social media and social networking websites, people either respond to you on their own timelines, or they visit your blog. They become a part of your audience.

Since you are constantly posting quality content on your social networking profiles and people are constantly engaging with your content and interacting with you, your friends and followers go on increasing.

Since more people land on your blog, more people subscribe to your updates and hence, you grow your mailing list, and when you grow your mailing list, you grow your email newsletter audience.

These are all your broadcasting channels.

You can use these channels whenever you launch a new product or a new service or you launch an update or you add a new feature to your product or your service.

Since you have got an audience that pays attention to you, whenever you need to broadcast the message, you will be able to do so.

This brings to my mind an incident that one of my clients had with one of his customers. The customer left a very bad review on Yelp, despite it being her own fault.

My client used his blog and his newsletter to explain his point of view and a lot of his visitors and subscribers took a personal initiative and left positive responses on Yelp.

You can use content marketing to build such a broadcasting channel for yourself.

6. Competitive advantage

Competitive advantage

Competitive advantage

Although many of your competitors might already be using content marketing, there might be many who are not. If you pursue strategic content marketing, you will not just have a competitive advantage over your competitors who are not using content to promote their businesses, you will also have competitive advantage over those competitors who are.

Content marketing sort of, democratises marketing. It’s all about innovation, ingenuity and initiative. If you use these three traits with sincerity, you can compete with IBM despite being a small IT firm (that is, if you want to).

A good thing about content marketing is, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality and uniqueness. Okay, sometimes quantity does triumph over quality, but in most of the cases it does not.

Joe Pulizzi’s book, Epic Content cites a nice example. There is a River Pools and Spas company that installs fiberglass swimming pools in the Virginia and Maryland areas. In 2009 they were in deep trouble. Some sort of recession was going on and people were requesting their deposits back. The company was over drawing its checking account. the closure of the business seemed imminent.

When the CEO, Marcus Sheridan decided to use content marketing to promote his fiberglass swimming pools business, they were drawing approximately $4 million in annual revenues and spending $250,000 on marketing.

With two years of content marketing, they brought down their marketing cost to $40,000 per year, and by the end of 2011, they were selling more fibreglass poles than any other fibreglass poles installer in North America.

Marcus Sheridian’s content marketing was so successful that he started traveling the world lecturing other business owners on how to use content marketing.

You can read the Marcus Sheridian content marketing case study.

This is just one example. There are many.

Does content marketing just mean publishing a blog post?

Although blog publishing is a big part of content marketing, many small business owners confuse blogging with content marketing. The entire ecosystem of content marketing includes and involves

  • Understanding what type of content your target audience is looking for
  • Creating/writing high-quality content that informs, engages and if possible, entertains – on an ongoing basis
  • Analysing incoming website traffic to find out what sort of content is attracting people to your website
  • Making changes to creating/writing high-quality content according to your findings
  • Using the right content dissemination channels to distribute your content
  • Search engine optimizing your content so that it is easier to find it on search engines
  • Updating and repurposing existing content on an ongoing basis
  • Publishing a regular newsletter or email mailing list

So, basically, content marketing consists of continuously publishing valuable content and then making an all-out effort to make it easy for people to find it. Sometimes, you have to deliver the content where your audience is. For example, if your audience is on Facebook, then you have to post links to your content on Facebook. Similarly, on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Content marketing at the outset may seem like very hard work and this may undermine whatever notion of benefits you have in mind, but actually when you get down to implementing your content marketing strategy, to your pleasant surprise, you will find that it is not that difficult.

Besides, the benefits are so great, as you have seen in the case of Marcus Sheridan and his fibreglass swimming pools, that after a while, the effort and investment tend to move towards practically zero.

 

Why the Samsung India Service ad is a great storytelling example

Samsung service India ad YouTube screenshot

The Samsung India Service ad generated 150.3 million views, becoming the most watched ad on YouTube.

I got the update from this Marketing Land update and I’m not clear whether this was the most watched ad of November 2017 or the entire 2017 year. But that’s not the point of my this post.

First, watch the video…

//youtu.be/779KwjAYTeQ

The video shows a Samsung Service van driving through very rough terrains while the technician continuously reassures some “ma’am” that he is going to reach soon.

“Ma’am” needs a reassurance that he is going to reach before 7. He commits that he will. He and his van driver overcome multiple obstacles on a mountainous terrain.

She keeps calling and he keeps reassuring that he is going to reach on time.

Near to the climax we discover that “ma’am” is a young, visually impaired girl.

As soon as the technician realizes that, he has this wondering look, something like, why is she in a hurry to get her TV repaired, even when she cannot watch it?

The suspense keeps on building as he repairs the TV.

Finally, he is able to repair it and the young girl calls out to everybody in the house. Apparently it’s a hostel or a shelter for the blind. Young, smiling and laughing kids run into the TV room.

The girl asks for the TV remote, switches on the TV and there is this reality TV show, a singing competition, in which a blind girl is mellifluously singing a haunting Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan rendition.

It’s one of my favorites, so can’t resist putting it here for your pleasure…

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV7_YJf1BBw

The blind girl in the room very proudly tells the Samsung technician that the girl on TV is from there, and she is her best friend.

In content marketing we’re constantly talking about telling stories.

In this ad Samsung India, through a very touching story, tells how important giving such a service is, once people have invested in one of their products, and how seriously they take their customers.

They could have used the usual, run-of-the-mill advertising line showing a family in a metropolitan city having problems with their TV set and how Samsung Service quickly solves the problem.

Although this would have delivered the message, it wouldn’t have made the sort of impact that this ad makes.

How does the story make an impact?

  • People should relate to it
  • The storyline should be fluent and simple
  • The core message should be clearly delivered without overtly expressed (in terms of advertising and content marketing)
  • It should leave an imprint

Through this ad Samsung India Service successfully conveys that once you have purchased a Samsung appliance you are never on your own no matter where you are.

Through a single storyline the story manages to deliver the entire essence of Samsung India Service

  • They provide after sales service everywhere, so people should be able to buy Samsung appliances anywhere.
  • Their support staff and technicians are punctual.
  • They have launched a Samsung India Service van that can easily travel to remote locations.
  • The Samsung staff is committed and well-equipped.
  • Samsung Service is a part of your life story.

An emotional angle is added by showing that the place where the service van is going is full of blind kids and one of the inmates has made it to the national TV through her talent despite having no vision.

The story-line does not want to arouse a feeling of pity by showing a house full of blind kids who are very cheerful and full of jest and enthusiasm.

This spirit also rubs onto the technician from Samsung who is initially a bit puzzled by all the excitement and all the blind kids running around and later on, although subtly, he understands why the TV needed to be repaired urgently.

This, should be the essence of content marketing – tell meaningful stories that don’t just convey the business message that you want to convey, but also touch people deeply in a manner that they remember you and they want to associate with you.

Why isn’t content marketing working for you?

Why isn't your content marketing working?

No matter how “new age” content marketing may seem to some, it is very hard to make it work for you unless you completely know what you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy.

In fact, “strategy” is the keyword here. All those people who say content marketing doesn’t work for them, don’t have a strategy.

They want to benefit from content marketing because they have read or heard about companies and businesses benefiting from content marketing.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to benefit from something the others are benefiting from, it’s just that people want to use content marketing without actually understanding it, and then when it doesn’t work, they are disenchanted.

Why content marketing doesn’t work for some businesses?

Content marketing doesn’t work for some businesses because they carry it out half-heartedly, or they think that it is a template that can be implemented as it is.

They think once they have published 5-10 blog posts it should suffice as content marketing.

Content marketing, contrary to the prevalent belief, is a full-fledged business component.

It is not something that you do just because you want to do it as a novelty.

For example, if you need to have an office or a workplace for your business, there is no other option but to have it.

If you need electricity, then it is not an option.

Some business managers think that content marketing is optional, whereas, it is not.

What is content marketing?

It is, promoting your business on the strength of your content rather than conventional advertising.

Read What is content marketing: 15 definitions from industry experts

Who are more likely to do business with you? People who have come to your website via an advertisement or people who like the content that you publish and distribute regularly?

Obviously, it is the latter.

Your content nurtures familiarity. Your brand becomes recognisable when people come across your content at other places.

Content should be published and distributed for its usefulness and not because you want to cover all your keywords or you want to create an ongoing buzz on your social networking profiles.

It should provide answers to people’s questions.

If your prospective customers and clients have problems regarding your business, your content must provide solutions to those problems.

Your content must be the information they need to be able to decide whether they should do business with you or not.

Your content should help you establish yourself as an authority in your field or profession.

When people consume your content they should be able to make out that you are the right person to seek right information from.

It doesn’t work for some people because they think that content marketing is a one-off activity.

They think that they can start or stop content marketing as and when it is convenient to them.

It doesn’t work that way.

One needs to be consistent otherwise each time you start, you have to start more or less from scratch. When you have to start from scratch repeatedly, you tend to think that it is not working.

For content marketing to work for you, stop thinking that it is an activity that is optional.

Publish useful, high-quality content and then make sure the right audience can access that content not just on your website but also on other websites and social networking platforms. Do this consistently.

Focus on purposefulness and quality.

Don’t publish content just for the heck of it.

Your audience these days accesses content on multiple platforms according to individual preferences of your customers and clients.

Some may prefer your blog, some may prefer Instagram posts, some prefer LinkedIn updates and some would like to interact with you on Facebook.

A good thing about quality content is that it can be repurposed according to the platform you want to use.

The same blog post can be turned into a presentation and hence a YouTube video. You can take out individual points and post them on Instagram. You can post useful paragraphs on Facebook and encourage your contacts to respond.

So basically, content marketing means, constantly communicating to your prospective and present customers and clients in such a manner that it is a fruitful interaction and not one way promotional exercise..

Content marketing always succeeds when you publish useful and relevant content and then use appropriate channels to publish it and distribute it. People will always respond.

If you are regularly interacting with your customers and clients through your blog, online forum, social networking platforms and/or email newsletter, you are already doing content marketing.

Radical Ways to Use Content Marketing Today

radical-ways-to-use-content-marketing

With over 3.7 billion internet users today and at a 50% penetration rate, the word wide web’s rapid growth has marketers on their tiptoes looking for new and innovative ways to catch the attention of their target consumers.

E-commerce trends in 2017 show that 51% of American prefer to shop online with Millennials and Gen Xers spending up to six hours per week in this activity, thereby providing a great potential businesses to convert their customers online. However, conversion rate optimization is easier said than done. With the ubiquitous ads peppering the internet, it is very difficult to capture your consumers’ attention.

This is where content marketing comes into play. It is no longer enough to provide traditional content, even if it’s written by professional writing service, where marketers keep on pushing products and services to their audience with hard sell ads that interrupt their user experience. It is the age of inbound marketing and creating value for your customers.

Content marketing doesn’t only create brand loyalty, but also a builds a wider community for customers who would like to speak up about their experiences or thoughts. Through content marketing, companies are able to increase their online sales, gain possible insights to improve themselves, and even create an urge for customers to consider buying their products.

Here are five radical ways to use content marketing today:

 

Speak the language of your target audience and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Be informal from time to time to appeal to the customer’s taste. Informality can come in any form of media—webcomics, memes, or plain twitter statuses.

Content marketing is not always formal, there are times that companies make witty remarks and humorous jokes despite their online presence to help improve their image and warm-up to their consumers.

wendys content marketing example

Wendy’s is a brand that understands this so well. Their Twitter account is a gold mine of witty tweets and banter. With their bio, “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint,” you know you are in for something special. In fact, Wendy’s witty repartee with its followers has generated a viral life of its own.

wendys humorous response

As a caution though, despite the humor, one must always remember that the jokes must be clean and connected to the product they offer.

Add Value to your customers by providing solutions to their needs.

One of the most mistakes that brands do is that they keep on talking about themselves and products or services that they offer. The sheer amount of information that a person gets exposed to on a daily basis is enough to give your target audience cognitive overload. Hence, the challenge is to create content that will cut through all of that clutter.

The best way to do this is to anticipate the concerns and needs of your customers and provide solutions for them. This way, you position yourself as both a thought leader and a solutions provider. Further, it adds value to target audience so that they look forward to getting content from your brand.

American Express does this so well. Instead of pushing their products to their customers, they instead created an engaging and value-laden community that provides meaningful insights and inspirations for their customers to help grow their business.

American Express open Forum content marketing example

Leverage multimedia content.

Content marketing shouldn’t only be a web page or a blogpost. Not a lot of companies practice the art of podcasting and because of this, they do not realize the opportunities they are missing.

In fact, 9 out 10 marketers would agree that podcast advertising is an untapped territory.  Statistics shows that consumers ages 18-34 are most likely to listen to podcasts. Further, monthly podcast listeners belong to the affluent group where 16% have an annual household income of $150K or more.

General Mills wanted to provide its customers with an in-depth look and understanding of their brand. To achieve this, they launched “A Taste of General Mills” podcast series. It’s in an interview-style modeled after NPR’s This American Life.

General Mills content marketing example

Tell a great story.

Marketing is a story well told. The human brain loves good storytelling and we cannot underestimate the how powerful a well-constructed narrative can be in motivating, persuading, and changing our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

General Electric understands this well and ensures that they remain true to their promise: Imagination at work. In 2016, the brand produces a series of “Unimpossible Missions.” In their own words, “Every day at GE, we do things that supposedly can’t be done. By taking the smartest minds and giving them access to the most cutting-edge technology available, we’re solving the world’s toughest problems. In other words, we take the impossible and make it unimpossible.”

In the episode A Snowball’s Chance in Hell, the mission is to send a snowball to Hell and bring it back safely. The video garnered over 900 thousand views in YouTube to date. The brand even took this campaign to the next level by engaging their audience and leveraging user-generated content through their Unimpossible Missions: The University Edition Contest.

 

GE content marketing example

Create opportunities for interaction with your audience.

Content marketing does not need to be a one way street. Create interactive ads and surveys to engage your audience and keep them coming back for more.

Brandeis International Business School’s quiz helps students get into the right career for them. Renowned for their academic excellence, the school successfully used this content marketing strategy to guide their students and glean valuable insights and analytics from their target audience as well.

Brandeis business school content marketing example

The Takeaway: Creativity is Key

Content marketing should not be a buzzword that brands and marketers should just drop as a form of lip service. At the end of the day, it will all boil down to how creative your team can be in grabbing the attention of your target audience. It might not be easy, but it will be definitely be worth the rewards if you are successful.