Whether you're just starting to consider marketing strategies for your business or are evaluating your current efforts, it's essential to understand what content marketing is and why it's important.
Why Content Matters
Content marketing is the most effective way to build brand loyalty, rank well in search engine result pages, generate leads, and ultimately, drive conversions. Creating custom content as part of content marketing affords you many opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and authority in your company's field, and consumers are much more likely to trust your brand and buy your products if you regularly provide educational or entertaining content prior to pushing a sale.
Eighty-two percent of consumers feel more positively about a company after reading custom content provided by the company. Content marketing is efficient and effective -- but how do you leverage it for your brand?
What Is Content Marketing, and Why Is It Important?
Content marketing is the practice of serving consumers informative or entertaining written, visual, and/or audio content rather than advertising your products or company directly. Such content can consist of how-to articles, buying guides and reviews, engaging customer stories, or other types of content that lets you showcase your expertise and brand identity. Publishing regularly helps your site stay "fresh" and continually provide value to consumers.
This form of marketing has been shown to be both effective and cost-efficient, with 78% of consumers preferring to get to know a company via articles compared to being exposed to ads. Consistently producing engaging and high-quality content has a bigger impact on consumer decision-making than any other marketing or advertising technique. However, there are several aspects to the importance of content marketing and what makes it so advantageous.
Establishing Trust and Becoming an Authority
Content marketing builds trust between your company and your audience. Prospects are much more likely to turn into leads and then customers -- even repeat customers -- if they've had a chance to get to know your company via consistently good and timely content.
Consumers have gotten very savvy about identifying sales pitches, and they do not regard them favorably. Consumers have also learned to tune out or use technology to eliminate advertising such as banner ads and ads in tv shows or online videos. However, many customers perform online searches to solve problems, and content marketing gives you a chance to garner trust by helping consumers find solutions.
Content marketing also gives you a chance to express the full range of your brand identity, such as through prose and stylistic choices that make you sound casual and fun or professional and capable, as suits your brand. You can also use photographs, charts, infographics, and other images to carry through your brand's aesthetic.
Finally, 72% of businesses surveyed by CrazyEgg have found that video content provides an excellent return on investment and increases conversions, and you can use video content to showcase your brand's aesthetic even more and establish yourself as an authority in your subject area.
Content marketing is important because it gives you a chance to do all of this while building trust with consumers rather than turning them off with more overt forms of advertising. What's more, content marketing also drives higher search engine result page (SERP) rankings.
Improving Findability and Driving Traffic
When you regularly provide fresh, quality content, incorporating many keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your potential customers, search engines will rank your site higher. When consumers perform searches on how to solve their problems, brands with an extensive content marketing strategy perform better and receive more traffic.
Keyword density (without triggering keyword-stuffing detection) and lower "bounce" rates, or longer times on your site all increase your SERP rankings. The naturally high concentration of keywords in well-executed content marketing combines with users staying on your page longer to read your content to drive your SERP ranking higher.
Once you're highly-ranked, content marketing encourages consumers to stay on your site and, eventually, choose your product. Providing helpful how-to answers, discussing trends in your industry, and providing honest and useful product evaluations can all serve to keep consumers clicking within your site.
As consumers explore your site and get to know your company via your content, the odds of them following through with purchasing your products or services increases. This is true no matter at what step of the marketing funnel they start at, as long as you provide content that helps them solve their problems.
Impacting Consumers at Every Step of the Marketing Funnel
Content marketing can make an impact at every step of the marketing funnel. The "marketing funnel" represents a consumer's trajectory in changing from a prospect to a lead and then a conversion. At the beginning of the process, the broad end of the funnel, consumers are only beginning to be aware of an issue and that there might be ways to address it. At this stage, content marketing such as blog posts and infographics can provide general information and demonstrate to consumers that you are aware of whatever problems they need to solve. This encourages users to come to you at the next step.
At the middle of the funnel, consumers are starting to evaluate their options. They have moved beyond general awareness of their problem and potential solutions into comparing potential approaches and products. At this stage, content marketing such as educational resources or social awareness campaigns can help establish your brand as knowledgeable and principled. At this point, content marketing excels in trust-building as you showcase your expertise in the subject matter or relevant social issues.
Finally, at the last step, the narrow end of the marketing funnel, content marketing facilitates conversion. Here, customer stories and informative or entertaining videos that show your product in action can be the final step in convincing customers to choose your company to address their issue.
However, this conversion will have been built on a consumer's journey in getting to know and trust your company. This also means people who become your customers at this point are also more likely to be repeat customers because their decision to choose your company is built on such a solid foundation. Repeat customers provide approximately ten times the value of a single-instance customer not just through repeated sales but also through their recommending your brand to others. And content marketing is the key.
Content Marketing is Essential
Taken all together, the impact of content marketing has been demonstrated to be considerable across every axis of marketing metrics. Between the chance to deeply engage with your brand identity, establishing your company as a trusted authority in your field, and continually building relationships with consumers, content marketing is an indispensable tool in your marketing toolbox.
This essential strategy leads to both breadth and longevity of conversions while costing less to execute than many other forms of marketing. In the end, the importance of content marketing is impossible to overstate.