Attracting – and keeping – new customers is a vital component to a growing and vibrant company, regardless of whether it’s a mom-and-pop corner store or a large corporation.
Companies that understand this work hard to find the most innovative methods to get their name and their product(s) on the market, balancing their marketing techniques with an emphasis on customer satisfaction.
As the global market becomes more competitive, one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences is with a well-crafted content marketing plan. Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing media and publishing content that is both valuable and relevant to your business or service. Effective content marketing should appeal to a specific audience, with an overall goal of increasing a business’ customer base.
Although content professionals know the overall worth of an individualized content marketing plan, it can be difficult to convince clients that a properly-executed content marketing plan is worth the expense.
There are many reasons why content marketing is the best strategy for any business, but let’s take a look at the top five.
Reason #1 – Consumer Trust in Traditional Media Advertising is Waning
A 2015 study conducted by Experticity revealed the disparity in thinking between marketers and consumers.
A whopping 83 percent of all marketers responded that traditional advertising – TV and commercials, print ads, billboards – was the most effective way to influence buying decisions; however, only 47 percent of consumers polled said they trust brand advertising. The majority of consumers – a full 90 percent of those polled – said they rely on recommendations from friends and online reviews from trusted sources when looking for a new product or service.
Content marketing campaigns, when executed effectively, are a form of word-of-mouth advertising. Consumers are encouraged to engage and to share your brand content with their friends and family, further lending credibility to a business’ brand.
Reason #2 – Content Marketing Delivers Proven ROI
Unlike with traditional advertising, content marketing is more easily measured for effectiveness in promoting a company’s brand. Likes and shares, along with the number of new and returning visitors to your website, easily can be tracked, providing reliable data on whether your content marketing strategy is working.
Companies effectively using content marketing strategies know that hiring professionals to create the content is not cheap. While it is possible to find professionals who promise to create content for bargain basement prices, what businesses quickly will discover is that the end results are not worth the savings.
Quality content must be designed in a way that will not only promote your brand, but also encourage consumers and other professionals in your field to share your content as a trusted source of information. In the marketing world, this is known as “earned media,” which carries the potential of producing significant brand exposure at no additional cost to your company. So while it may be tempting to hire the professional who provides the lowest price for the content, take the time to find a true expert who will provide a good return on investment.
Reason #3 – Quality Content Marketing Increases Traffic
It’s hardly news that having a website is an essential marketing tool in today’s global economy. However, where so many businesses go wrong is in the thinking that a simple home page with contact information is the only online presence needed to drive traffic to their site and increase sales.
Well-crafted content is the best way to not only drive traffic to your website, but the best way to keep viewers actively involved on your website for more than just a minute or two. Online marketing professionals know that ranking well with search engines like Google and Bing is dependent on original, engaging content. The longer a viewer stays on your site, the higher it will rank in search results.
Blogging is an easy, effective way to keep your website relevant with consumers. Hire a writer who is capable of crafting conversational and informative blog posts relating to the product or service in which your business specializes. Posting one new blog a week is enough to keep consumers returning to your site regularly, and sharing valuable information they find there.
If you plan to blog or provide informative articles on your website, be sure to include a way for visitors to like and share your content on their own social media feeds and websites.
Reason #4 – Adding Value to a Product or Service
It is important to note that, if you plan to engage in effective content marketing, the material you produce must be more than a glorified advertisement for your product or service. Consumers are savvy, and they know when they are reading a sales pitch.
For instance, one of my clients specializes in providing downsizing assistance to seniors and boomers. This client has opted to provide a weekly blog as part of their overall content marketing plan. The topics range from those directly related to the company’s business model and services, to helpful tips and tools about a variety of issues affecting their customer base. By offering a voice to senior citizens on a variety of topics, this client has managed to increase its reputation as a leader in the downsizing industry.
Reason #5 – Effective Content Marketing Lends Credibility
Gaining a reputation for creating and publishing useful, authentic content is one of the easiest ways to brand your company as a leader in your business or industry.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, one of the best ways to increase credibility is by turning influencers into partners. If you are creating reliable, informative content on your website and social media accounts, you increase your chances of other providers in the same industry sharing your tips and tools on their own sites, which inadvertently brands you as the expert in your field.
This is going to require you to stay abreast of the latest trends in your industry, and employ a writer (or team of writers, depending on the size of your company) capable of turning the information into interesting, sharable content.
Have a story to share about how effective content marketing has worked for your business? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or send us a note via email.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for over 20 years.