Content marketing was once considered an "extra mile" by businesses that wanted to stand out from their competitors. Today, that's no longer the case – it has become a necessity that can't be neglected if a business wants to remain relevant to its target market.
Coming to think about it, you'll find that the most successful businesses are those which generate content that clicks with their audience.
But how did that shift from the extra mile to necessity happen? More importantly, why did it happen? And why is content marketing considered essential to that extent? To help you better understand its importance, instead of just having to do it, we've put together a simple guide on what a substantial investment in content marketing can offer to your business.
What Is Content and Why Is It Important?
Before we get into content marketing itself, let's take a step back and revisit what content is. Known to be the buzzword of the era, content is any information you share or present to your audience, for a purpose, in some form, through a given channel.
Those are five elements, and fully understanding them will give you the key to unlocking the benefits of the content marketing world. Let's discuss them briefly.
Information can be anything and everything. Whether you're announcing a new product, a new business branch, a new sales promotion, or even just a simple "did you know" about the history of your brand, that's all information!
However, before just clicking publish, you need to be concise on what you want to share with your audience and its key details. Being concise is vital to avoid confusing your audience or giving them content they aren't interested in knowing.
You were probably just wondering what we meant by "content they aren't interested in knowing," and that's what we'll discuss now. Before posting or sharing the same piece of information on all your platforms, you must take a moment to understand who the target audience is for that piece of information and who are the buyer personas.
Are you targeting students who are about to go back to school? Mothers who had just had a newborn? Businessmen located in the area? You need to pinpoint their demographics to be able to choose how you'll present the information to them. What tone will you use? Which visuals? What time will you share the content?
Skipping this step can be very costly – if your message is sent to the wrong target audience, you'll lose customers along the way. So, take all the time you possibly could to understand your potential audience, and the rest will come naturally.
Content is best produced for a purpose. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn't be continuously creating content just for the sake of it or because everyone is doing it. Content isn't cheap, so you might as well achieve a goal with it.
Not to mention, when you have an explicit goal or purpose, you'll better be able to tailor the content around it and communicate its information the way it should be to resonate with your audience. Ask yourself, "what do I want my audience to feel, think, or do after they receive my information?". That should be your guiding point.
The purpose could be brand loyalty, making sales, getting clicks, encouraging people to subscribe to a newsletter, and much more.
After you've identified your target audience and your business's purpose, this is where the content form or type comes in. By form, we simply mean the final deliverable. Does your audience best respond to photos? Or do they prefer video content? Better yet, do they prefer blog posts?
Then, take a step further and think of the content details. Say it's a blog post; what about its length? What tone should you use; is it informative, humorous, authoritative, or other? If it's a video, how long should its duration be? What colors should you use?
Basically, this is where you "style" your content to present in the most appealing way.
Last but not least, how will you distribute your content to the right people? If you're targeting business professionals, maybe you shouldn't be posting your content on Instagram but rather on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Similarly, if you're targeting teenagers, LinkedIn wouldn't be the best way to go – maybe Instagram would. Check your analytics and see the most channels that your target audience tunes into and for what purposes.
That way, you'll match your purpose with their most preferred channel for it, be that social media or other, ensuring maximum exposure for your content.
Now you know the steps to creating content, but why should you apply them? Why is content important in the first place? As we've discussed, content has a purpose. And that purpose almost always serves your business goals in one way or another. Most purposes fall under three categories: awareness, marketing, and sales.
Do you want more people to know about your business? Done. Persuade more people to consider opting into your newsletter? Done. Pay the money and purchase your product or service? Done! Search engine optimization through traffic to your website? Also done! Content can help you with everything.
So, while you may think that content is just a matter of daily social media posts or frequent blog content on your website, that just isn't it. There's always something in it for you, too. That's precisely why content is dominating the scene and is all around us.
In fact, great content gives you the upper hand. You get to persuade your target customers to think, feel, or do actions the way you want them to, both consciously and subconsciously. That's the enduring power of high-quality content!
Why Is Content Important for Business?
Over the years, content marketing has been proven to be a cause of resonating success for businesses, and what's content marketing without content? Content is the prerequisite for effective content marketing, so without it, establishing a brand presence, driving sales, and working on search engine optimization won't be possible.
Customers have questions – there's no denying it. From why to buy your product instead of the competitors' options to details about that service you just released, they need answers. Content is the way to answer your customer's questions and build trust with them.
And in doing so, your conversion rates are guaranteed to skyrocket since you're building your leads on connections. Remember the infamous pull vs. push strategy? It's still applicable today. Content can help you "pull" the customers towards your business and build trust and relationships with them instead of merely pushing your offerings at them.
That's not to say that the push strategy is a failing technique – far from that. It's just that in today's era, customers see through the pushing. And they don't like it. They want high-quality content relevant to their needs, and they want to see consistency. Certainly, the push strategy doesn't work that way; it's the pull that does.
To recap, by continuously crafting high-quality content that your consumers want to see, you're impacting their decision-making process. Meet your customers at every touchpoint you can and at every stage of the marketing funnel, and take it from us; your credibility and brand perception will be taken to a whole different level.
What Is Content Marketing?
Now that you've gotten the gist of content, what about content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
As you see, when you create content that's valuable to your audience and consumers and use content marketing strategies to spread the word, you end up with a win-win situation that fulfills both your customers' and business' needs.
You'll notice that there's an emphasis on the words "relevant" and "valuable" – and actually, that's where the importance of content marketing lies. For the longest time, ever since traditional marketing came about, we've been bombarded with information. If you take a minute to think of it, you'll find that most of that information was "selling."
How many times did you unsubscribe from a newsletter because the content was trying too hard to sell you something? How many times did you block a business number because you were getting too many sales messages? That's what differentiates relevant content marketing from irrelevant content marketing. Content marketing is important only when it's done right.
You wouldn't have blocked that business number if it offered you a promotion on a product you happened to need at that very minute, would you? Nor would've you unsubscribed from that newsletter if it offered you a tutorial on how to use that camera you've left unboxed because of its complexity, right? That's what valuable and relevant content is – it's content that helps people.
The idea isn't about showcasing your products or service offerings, but instead, showcasing (through great content) to your consumers that your business has the sufficient expertise that empowers it to deliver exquisite products and services, and the difference is huge.
Types of Content Marketing:
Today, content marketing is part of all marketing campaigns and is embedded in nearly all efforts. Here are some forms of content marketing efforts that we encounter daily:
- Social Media Marketing
- SEO Campaigns
- Public Relations
- Educational Blog Posts
- Pay Per Click Campaigns (PPC)
- Inbound Marketing
However, you shouldn't go with a trial and error process with your content marketing strategy or digital marketing strategy. Neither should you try out traditional winning "marketing tactics" because there's no one-size-fits-all.
For your piece of content (or content pieces) to be effective, your content creation process should be part of a documented content marketing plan – tailored for your consumers.
How Does Content Marketing Help?
In a nutshell, content marketing, if done right and consistently, keeps your consumers happy and your business thriving. But that's rather generic, so here's precisely how content marketing can help your business.
Strengthening Your Brand
If you want your brand to stand out from the crowd, you need to keep them "coming back for more" by continuously giving them nothing short of a positive experience whenever they make contact with your business. And how best would you do that other than content marketing? By consistently providing them with the great content they want to see, you keep your customers hooked.
Over time, you'll become their go-to; better yet, they'll anticipate and wait for your content. Whether it's your next big deal, your upcoming blog post that has the answer to their lingering questions, new product collection, or your creative videos, using the right content marketing tools can build a positive brand impression that secures your customers for life.
How do you do it, you wonder? Provide the right type of content, at the right place, at the right time, to the right audience.
When your content strategy prioritizes creating quality content, you simultaneously build your online authority by establishing your credibility and driving customer engagement. And in doing so? Yes, you guessed it right – you rank higher on search engine results.
Therefore, the content you create doesn't only lead your customers to trust you and view you as an industry expert. You're also getting the advantage of appealing to search engine algorithms by answering the questions that users ask and providing content on topics that matter in an effective way.
Remember, the word "authority" here isn't just a catchword; you really need to showcase that you're an expert in your content, reflecting on the expertise you have in the field of your business to achieve domain authority and build a superior brand reputation.
So, how do you know whether you're doing well? Simply, you need to have set metrics to measure your audience's responses to the content you're producing. If you don't like what you see, analyze their responses to see the areas of improvement you can work on, and work on them!
Generating New Leads
When your audience grows fond of your content, and you gradually establish your domain authority, leads begin to get generated on their own. Why? Because you're already on their top-of-mind awareness. In other words, when the industry you operate in is mentioned, your business is immediately thought of as one of the best.
Accordingly, when you're viewed in that light, your leads will become customers when purchasing decisions are involved. You'll also find that call-to-actions (CTAs) will become much more effective when you have consistent content.
Besides, you'll have many more opportunities to subtly include the CTAs in your content – in the middle of a blog post, on a social media post, on a site sidebar, at the end of a video, on-site pages, and more! The more you keep your audience happy, the higher the leads and conversions. Do you see how content helps?
Ranking Higher on Search Engine Results Pages
Consistent, relevant, high-quality content works wonders when it comes to search engines and how high you rank on them. Search engines like Google are becoming smarter than ever, and today, their number one goal is to fulfill users' intents. That means that if your content is outdated and generic, search engines won't rank you high no matter what you do.
In contrast, if you're genuinely exerting effort to connect with your customers, provide them with valuable content, and build meaningful relationships, you won't have to worry about search engines. With a proper content marketing strategy that's customer-centric, you'll attract more website visitors, and accordingly, you'll start ranking and generating valuable leads!
By now, you're creating a positive experience for your potential customers, creating useful content for them, ranking higher on search engines, attracting more website visitors, and generating leads. What's next? The customer action, a.k.a the purchasing decision!
This is where your business and marketing team start to hit it big with the sales. Believe it or not, those customer relationships and engagement rates you've been trying hard to build eventually do work and influence conversions.
While potential customers simply observe for a while, at the end of the day, their educated purchasing decision involves choosing you over other businesses with less consistent content marketing efforts. All this time, you've been implicitly guiding the audience through their customer journey to this very moment where they finally convert, bringing your marketing campaigns to fruition.
Succeeding at Content Marketing
Now, you have a full understanding of the lingering question of, "why is content marketing important." To wrap-up, content marketing is important because it's one of the most effective approaches to kill two birds with one stone; you provide a remarkable user experience for your target market while making headway with your business.
With that said, great content takes a lot of dedication to be crafted, along with a lot of work behind the scenes to understand what questions your audience has in mind and how they'd best like to get the answers for them – be that through social media, blog posts, video content, e-books, or more.
But, once your content marketing strategy is set in place, you'll get to create content that never fails you and only takes you higher on search engines, giving your business the exposure it needs and putting you in front of the right people.
The end result? More quality site visitors and traffic, generated leads, higher conversions, more sales, and countless brand advocates, thanks to cultivated customer loyalty. That's the importance of content marketing, or shall we say, the power of content marketing!
So, yes, the content marketing field is challenging to navigate, but despite that, its influence can't be understated when it's done right. It's precisely for that reason that content marketing has and will remain at the core of almost any digital marketing strategy today for its undeniable driving force for businesses of all sizes and types.
Ready to get your share of success through marketing content that converts?