Content is fundamental to any marketing campaigns success. Period.
The towering billboard of the latest film you're itching to see. Content. The bus stop McDonald's ad creating the cerebral war between a Grand Big Mac and an egg salad. Content.
Billboard and bus stop ads change and this form of content comes and goes. Their durability is limited but their impact is huge.
If you're the owner of a growing business, realism should be part of your mantra. Big-budget, elaborate adverts are out of reach.
You're more likely to hit goals that are attainable, so you need an advertising budget that is stable and sensible. That doesn’t mean you can’t make an impression with high-quality, valuable marketing material.
But how? Surely it’s impossible to compete with the big-bucks advertisers that dominate the high-streets and the web. Incorrect.
If you understand the advantages of marketing, you can grow your small business quicker than you think.
What is Content Marketing?
The internet has changed marketing. Not so long ago, call centres distributed scripted sales pitches to disgruntled people tucking into their spag bol on a Monday evening.
But it worked. A lack of quality information meant companies could corner a market and give you the information they felt was relevant.
Not anymore. The internet made information available to everyone and buyers are savvy and willing to carry out their own research.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Picture this. You're in the middle of a sales pitch and the salesmen tells you to take out insurance with your new phone. You Google it, compare a quote and get it cheaper elsewhere.
If you take anything away from this article, remember, the power is with the buyer. They don't want you telling them what to do, they'll make up their mind with their hard earned cash.
Shrewd Marketers Develop the Inbound Method
Realising the shift in power, marketers developed the inbound method. Positioning your company as an attractive investment, instead of desperately vying for customers' attention.
Inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads. An example of an inbound lead might be from search engine optimization. An outbound lead might be from a cold call - Search Engine Journal
Inbound is the philosophy; content marketing is how you practice the philosophy. Blog writing, social media posts, webinars and ebooks are all targeted content marketing methods.
We've compiled a list of the top 7 benefits of content marketing, and how they can help you scale your business;
1. Content Marketers have endless skills!
Entrepreneur state that if you want to grow your business, you need to hire. You may have taken on some employees already. Or quickly dismissed the idea after looking at the responsibility and price of employing somebody!
You may outsource your marketing to an agency or do it yourself. Or maybe (hang your head in shame) you don't have a marketing strategy!
If you understood the value of a remarkable content marketer, would you consider hiring one? Content marketing is a vast field and it can be tricky hiring when there are so many areas to penetrate.
One skill all content marketers own? A creative, idea-spawning thinking process. Give a content marketer an idea and they'll give you 15 more, all from different angles and perspectives.
When growing your business it's important to stand-out. Content marketing is a fantastic way to be unique.
Let's say you have a large following on Instagram. You could look for a content marketer with video production and Photoshop expertise.
If you're a growing publishing outlet that posts long-form articles on Longreads. Consider hiring a marketer with a journalistic or creative writing background.
If you don't know your needs or want to keep your options open, contact an inbound marketing agency. It's hard to find a content marketer with the full skill-set at a reasonable price.
Agencies have skilled staff with plenty of experience across the content marketing spectrum. So you get proven experience without the responsibility of an employee.
Top-tip: Consider your needs when recruiting for content marketing. Learn how to set SMART marketing goals, you can use our template if you like! Then plan your hire around what you want to achieve.
2. Build Credibility & Authority
As a growing business, you'll have overcome challenges with credibility and authority. So we're sure you know its importance!
Regardless of whether you're struggling to grow or not, content marketing will enhance these business qualities.
Ever had a salesman approach you and pitch an idea, then get tangled in a web of lies and deceit? Us too.
Content marketing is the opposite! By distributing information that is credible, you're building trust. There's nothing more persuasive than the truth.
By building trust you're gaining credibility and brand authority. This is a little tricky to define. If you look at some of the most authoritative content marketing organisations in the world, they have huge brand authority.
For example, HubSpot are the biggest inbound marketing agency in the world. Why? They provide marketing tutorials, free advice, and a philosophy on how to market your organisation. And it works!
How have they created their brands authority? By creating a feeling among their customers. There's no better feeling for a customer than getting a freebie, right?
Wait! Stop! Don't give everything away for free! Do give your customers something of value to build the foundations for solid customer relationships.
There's nothing more persuasive than the truth.
3. Build Something That Lasts
Why is content marketing important? Quality content still runs long after everyone has finished the marathon. It's the Willy Wonka everlasting gobstopper of the marketing world.
It's adaptable, you can change its flavour or make it more colourful. It can never be finished, never gets smaller, and some say it's indestructible!
It's the golden egg...okay. We'll stop with the Willy Wonka metaphors. But seriously, if you want a marketing method with longevity, content marketing is the method for you.
Quality content generates traffic long after it's published, stretching years if updated regularly. To create mainstay, evergreen content think about what's relevant to your target audience.
If you're growing a bike manufacturing business, what topics are relevant to bike traders? For example, they'll want information on biking trends to impress customers with inside knowledge.
As a growing business you want a marketing method that can go the distance. Constant change doesn't breed consistency. Stability and commitment will help your business grow.
Content marketing is like an everlasting gobstopper, evergreen, changeable and durable.
4. Enhance visibility, increase traffic and build your online reputation.
Many growing companies suffer online business failure. Lack of knowledge, plan and budget are causes of this.
If you get it right, content marketing can reap huge rewards. It increases your visibility, which should be first on your checklist.
If you start appearing in search engines, it means your content and your business are being recognised.
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. - HubSpot.
As your content starts to crawl up through the results it gets more traffic, meaning more visitors to your website. This creates more leads.
As your website gets more hits and you distribute more authentic content, your business's reputation improves.
If you can create this domino effect, you're well on your way to achieving the next benefit, which will blow your business's growth out of the water!
5. Increase your conversion rate
Increasing conversion rates should be a staple of any growing company. After all, you'll only continue to grow if you make more sales!
Because your business is growing, you'll already have a solid market understanding. There's no reason why you can't add value to your knowledge with content marketing.
See the benefits of content marketing and increase conversions with the buyer's journey guide.
Create content tailored to each stage of the journey. For example, a bride-to-be may type in Google 'what are the best materials for wedding rings?'. This would be an awareness question.
As they learn more about the product, 'how much are diamond encrusted gold wedding rings?' This would be an example of the consideration stage.
If you've been part of the previous two phases of the journey, you'll want to be in the hat for the last! We call this the decision stage.
Nurture customers with quality content and your business will grow, as well as your knowledge of your customers.
This is useful for content distribution. For example, someone who views your blog post about wedding ring materials is a visitor.
Someone who's had a call with a member of the sales team about your wedding rings is an opportunity.
Know which stage of the buyer's journey your customers are at and what type of lead they are. You'll spend less time chasing uninterested leads, and more time growing your business.
Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopter - Kapost.
6. Content Marketing is Cost Effective
Firstly, you have to remember that content marketing is a long-term marketing technique. But so is growing a business. If you want overnight success, good luck playing the lottery!
The fact that your business is growing means you've already experienced some setbacks. They happen to everyone.
When you reap the advantages of marketing, you'll start to see it's much cheaper than outbound.
While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads - Content Marketing Institute.
This isn't to say you should abandon paid advertising. Advertisers like Facebook and Google make the process simple, after all, they want your money!
It's no secret that it takes time (Google's secretive nature means they don't give specifics) for content to rank.
As a growing business you'll know that risk taking is part of the game. To see the benefits of content marketing, you have to invest your time and commitment. In the long run, you'll be rewarded.
Paid advertising is useful for immediate traffic and extended reach. But it works better bolstering a long-term content marketing strategy. As your organic presence increases scale it down and cut your costs.
At first, content marketing may seem like a large portion of time consumed with little to show for it. But you'll yield results in 3+ months, so it's important to implement a proper plan and be patient with it.
7. Create unique connections and experiences
Human nature means every buyer's journey is different. That's why company/product reviews are always different. Opinion matters.
As a growing business, you'll be aware that you have to keep moving in a fast-paced business environment. Content marketing can keep you one step ahead of the game.
How can you cross-pollinate two ideas to create a unique connection? For example, HubSpot founder Brian Halligan wrote a book about marketing lessons we can learn from the band The Grateful Dead.
Analysing your customer feedback and engagement is a great way to do this. Received a comment saying female entrepreneurs are underrepresented in your 'top businessmen of 2018'?
Change it to the top business people and include some females that are owning the world of business. There you go. A new connection, a new lead, a new customer?
When you read this article, have we missed any connections? Are there questions unanswered? Are there points we've missed?
Leave us a comment, send us an email. The fact you're here now means that content marketing works.
If you want to grow, come and be part of the journey.