That email you got this morning announcing new products from your favorite brand… that’s content marketing. The Instagram post where the influencer you follow recommended a new curling iron… that’s content marketing too. And the blog post that answered the question you Googled… you guessed it! It’s content marketing.
Content marketing is sharing relevant and valuable content that helps business owners engage with and educate their audience. It’s about sharing information that serves your audience’s needs, enabling you to connect with them.
While content marketing assists the audience, it also benefits your brand by helping you do things like drive more traffic to your website, build trust with your audience, and generate strong leads.
This post delves into the question, “What is content marketing?” and explains why you should use it to help grow your business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is sharing valuable content in different forms through various channels to help the audience answer questions or solve problems. In short, content marketing is when you help people by providing them with valuable information they need. Instead of explicitly promoting your brand, products, or services, you distribute relevant and helpful content related to your business and industry that focuses on customers and their needs.
Although the ultimate goal is to increase sales, content needs to engage, educate, or inform your audience rather than just trying to sell them something. Your audience should actively seek out the content, not avoid it like unsolicited advertising.
Content marketing works to stimulate interest in your brand. But content marketing also:
- Attracts attention and builds brand awareness
- Educates your audience
- Establishes you as an authority in your field
- Enhances SEO and generates web traffic
Types of Content Marketing
There are numerous types of content marketing, and each one has strengths and limitations, depending on your audience’s needs. Most companies use a mix of content that best serves their audience.
Content marketing includes:
- Websites, including product or service pages
- Blog posts
- Lead magnets
- Social media promotion
Let’s review each of these types of content marketing and why they’re valuable.
It sends up all kinds of red flags today if your brand doesn’t have a website. Less than 30% of small businesses don’t have websites. All other businesses do. Since 81% of consumers research a specific business online before buying from them, you can understand why having a website complete with strong product and service pages is necessary.
Product and service pages help people decide if they want to buy from you. They also use SEO content marketing tactics to help those searching online find your business. Since 65% of people do research online before buying, it’s vital to be there and be an option for them.
And developing your website pays off for you. You own your website, so you must treat it like your home base. It’s your little piece of the internet that no one can alter or take from you. It’s where you invest and show the best of your brand.
Blog posts that you distribute through your company’s website are the most popular form of content marketing. Nearly 90% of marketers use blog posts as part of their marketing strategy. The reason? Blog posts convert.
Blog posts are the most effective way to turn casual website surfers into customers. Business websites with blog posts get almost 70% more customers than those without.
By having a blog, you can write about useful and relevant topics and help answer your audience’s questions about your industry. In addition, blog content helps keep your customers interested in and engaged with your brand. Blog posts also are great for SEO and can bring new customers to your site via search engines, which is the most common way people find new businesses.
Email newsletters contain update-to-date information for your customers, written in one place and delivered via email on a weekly (most common), monthly, or quarterly basis. Email newsletters include promotions, updates, news, research, etc. Basically, your newsletter can contain any information you think will serve your audience’s needs.
Your business needs a newsletter for many reasons, primarily building an ongoing relationship with your customers. Email newsletters make customers feel like part of your business’s community. Your newsletter helps them feel valued and keeps your products or services at the top of their mind when they’re ready to make a purchase or make a recommendation to a friend.
Just in case that reasoning sounds too soft, how about this? Email marketing has an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent. That’s a return worth the time and effort.
Lead magnets are incentives that inspire customers to engage with your brand, potentially becoming paying customers. They come in various forms but almost always require the exchange of viewer information (an email address, for example) for content of value.
Lead magnets include items like:
- Case studies
- Ultimate guides
- Gated video content
Lead magnets help you demonstrate your knowledge and become a thought leader in your industry. They also help your business because when people trade their email addresses for your lead magnet, they give you permission to contact them.
In this way, lead magnets and email newsletters work hand-in-hand because you add the emails received for the lead magnet to your email newsletter list. You then send your regular email to lead magnet viewers, keeping your business top-of-mind and building a relationship.
Social Media Promotion
Social media is where you build relationships with your audience and share your content with them, hence the promotional aspect of the medium. More than four billion people worldwide use social media, which allows you to speak directly to a potentially massive audience about your brand.
To use social media effectively, you should research where your audience already gathers and work to connect with them there. Regardless of which social platform you choose, you need to show up, engage, and share to get the most out of it.
Remember that social media doesn’t belong to you. So, we encourage you to spend your time and the majority of your resources on your website and blog, then promote that content via social media as a supplement.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Now that you have a better understanding of content marketing and why you might want to use some of these tactics, let’s discuss the benefits to your customers and business.
Benefits of content marketing for customers:
- Answers their questions
- Solves their problems or helps them find products or services that will
- Provides information that helps minimize the risk of purchasing products or services
- Helps customers support brands that share their values and beliefs
- Builds trust between customers and brands, creating better, more informed buying decisions
- Generates greater satisfaction with and more confidence in purchasing decisions
- Increases happiness with products or services
There are many benefits to customers, and that should be the focus of your content marketing efforts. But of course, businesses wouldn’t use content marketing at increasingly greater rates if it didn’t benefit them too.
Benefits of content marketing for businesses:
- Creates Brand Awareness. People can’t consider your product or service if they don’t know it exists. Content marketing makes your brand more well-known.
- Lower Cost for a Greater Return. Content marketing costs about 60% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
- Increased Online Traffic. On average, 54% of a website’s traffic is organic. That means it comes from search engines, not people going directly to your website. SEO content marketing helps Google recognize your site’s content as valuable and recommend it to people searching online.
- Become an Option in Search. More than 90% of online experiences start with a search engine. People use Google to find what they want and need — to answer their questions and solve their problems. Content marketing lets your brand be an option.
- Helps Build Brand Loyalty. Loyal customers repeatedly buy from your brand and recommend it to their friends. Content marketing helps build brand loyalty, resulting in word-of-mouth recommendations and sales.
- Builds Reputation. Content marketing helps you establish your brand so people think of it a certain way. It helps you build trust and be seen as an expert in your field.
- Creates Relationships. Content marketing can help you create relationships with your customers and build community to connect like-minded people and serve them long-term.
- Generates Leads. Content marketing costs less and generates more leads than traditional marketing, so you’ll spend less with a more significant ROI.
How Content Journey Can Help
The benefits of content marketing are many. And while content marketing done right always works and continues working for years, the only real limitation is that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes research, strategy, and implementation to create valuable content to serve your audience and your business. Content Journey does just that.
All of the content Content Journey produces is well-researched and expertly written, focusing on providing your audience with valuable information that establishes you as an authority in your industry. What is content marketing? It’s the key to serving your audience and growing your business. Book a call, and let’s chat!
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