Content marketing is to your business what a well-informed and friendly local merchant is to the community: it builds trust, creates loyalty, and encourages new business.
Your presence in the content marketing space is like an educational institution (an expert) and promoter (a company or business).
We expect content marketing to do three things: keep us informed about what’s going on; provide helpful advice and give us some entertainment along the way.
It’s good for us, and it builds our trust in the businesses we like.
So how do you make sure your content marketing is doing what it should do?
The following five benefits of content marketing will help drive audience engagement and ultimately boost your bottom line:
1. Builds Trust
Your content allows prospective customers to learn about you. It also allows them to build a relationship with you as an educator and advisor, not as a salesperson pushing products on them.
You can answer their questions if they have any or provide authentic reviews on your products or services. You can also highlight what you do best and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Do this, and your prospects will feel more connected to you, thus increasing the trust factor.
2. Increases Brand Awareness
That’s why it should be consistent with your logo design, color scheme, tagline, etc.
It’s also an opportunity for you to provide helpful information about your industry or niche. Educating people on something they are passionate about is a great way to get them interested in your brand.
3. Provides Valuable Information That Your Prospects Can Trust
Why do people value content marketing? Because it offers valuable information that they can trust and find helpful for their specific needs or problems.
That is what makes your content trustworthy. Why? Because you have the experience and expertise that only time can provide.
You know what you’re talking about, and that’s more important than anything else.
So, create content that offers information that your prospects can trust, be it a simple tip or a full-length how-to article. This way, they’ll get the answers they need without having to leave your site or blog—and still come back.
4. Builds a Community of Loyal Fans
If you’re offering people something they find truly valuable, it’s not surprising that you’ll have a community of loyal fans who religiously follow your blog or social media updates. They read your posts and comment on them because they want to know more about the topic at hand, not just because it helps them support you.
Having a community of loyal fans means you won’t need to keep pushing sales messages all the time. They will be your best salespeople and share their experiences with others, which in turn strengthens relationships and builds trust.
5. Drives Traffic to Your Site
Content marketing means you get to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry or niche.
That’s why your content marketing efforts should be focused on building authority and visibility to attract new prospects, move them through the buying cycle and eventually drive traffic back to your site.
If you can combine search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other strategies like email marketing to help you nurture prospects into customers, then that’s great. You’ll have a never-ending stream of qualified traffic coming to your site.
6. Improves Conversion Rates
Remember that this is also about building your credibility, so your content should be focused on providing quality information and resources.
Meaning it must be easy to read, understand and even share with others.
It’s also about building trust, so be transparent and authentic. Be sure to share your opinions, and most importantly, make sure facts back them up.
If you take the time to create valuable content for your prospects or customers, it will dramatically improve your conversion rates when you start pushing your sales messages again.
7. Help You Save Money on Your Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is still the most cost-effective and cheapest marketing strategy out there.
The upfront cost for creating content may appear steep, but it’s also an investment that will repay itself not just once but time and again.
You don’t have to spend a lot on paid ads, banners, or other types of online advertising—and you certainly won’t need to invest in direct mail campaigns or any form of offline marketing.
Just take the time to deliver quality content that will educate and inform your prospects, and you’ll see your business thrive.
8. More Visibility for Your Brand, thanks to SEO
Creating content and publishing it online will naturally increase your brand’s visibility and reputation. You get to showcase what you know and become the go-to person in your industry.
The more people see your posts, videos, eBooks, or any other type of content, the more they get to learn about your business. Lots of exposure means better SEO rankings which translate to more traffic to your site.
The perfect storm is when you have a high volume of blog posts that you’re constantly updating, as it will fuel even greater visibility for you and your brand.
9. Circumnavigate Ad blockers
According to GlobalWebIndex, more than one-third of internet users use ad-blocking software on their computers and mobile devices.
People mainly use ad blockers because they hate ads that disrupt their online experience. However, you can circumnavigate these negative feelings by creating valuable, original content for your prospects or customers.
Just make sure your content isn’t an ad in disguise. It must be helpful, educational, and entertaining—something that people will happily share with others because it helps them be better.
If you can circumnavigate your prospects’ or customers’ negative feelings towards ads, then you’re onto a winner because they’ll be more than likely to interact with your brand.
10. Develop a More Engaged Audience
Remember that content marketing is about developing a more engaged audience to become loyal, repeat customers.
That means creating valuable content that can be shared with others while fostering solid relationships with your prospects and customers through social media.
You need to find ways to constantly engage with your audience, such as quizzes, polls, giveaways—any content that helps you interact with them and keep the conversation going.
11. Content Marketing Keeps Your Business Ahead of the Competition
Research from Incite Media suggests that, on average, businesses that blog have three times more traffic than those that don’t.
To survive in today’s competitive business environment, you need to ensure your business is always one step ahead—and content marketing offers just that.
It allows you to keep up with the latest industry news, developments, and other important happenings to help you stay ahead.
The more clued-up you are in your industry, the better for your business because you’ll be able to anticipate changes and even create new business opportunities for yourself.
12. It Educates Your Customers
Education-based marketing is highly recommended because it will help your prospects become better informed about which solution is right for them.
By helping them make an informed decision with helpful, non-sales information, you’ll be putting yourself ahead of your competitors and working to ensure you stay at the top of your game.
That’s why it’s important to create useful content that teaches, informs, and, most importantly, educates.
13. It Provides a Good Return on Investment
In an age where consumers have more choices than ever before, it’s important that your prospects and customers feel like they’re investing their time wisely by engaging with you—and content marketing is one way to get them to do this.
For instance, if you share a series of stunning infographics, you’ll attract more website visitors interested in that particular topic. That’s an excellent strategy to develop your reputation as an industry thought leader. It also encourages people to share your content, extending your reach and brand visibility.
Similarly, if you offer one amazing piece of content in exchange for someone’s email address, they’re more likely to give it—and don’t just use a generic template.
14. It Increases Your Site’s Dwell Time
According to HubSpot, you should always encourage readers to take at least one action on your site.
That could mean subscribing to your email newsletter, downloading a free eBook, or attending one of your webinars—or it can be something else entirely. The point is to try and get your prospects or customers to complete an actionable goal.
So, why is this important?
When your prospects or customers visit your site, you want them to spend as much time there as possible.
Well-written content that’s helpful and relevant should keep them on your site for longer—and the more dwell time they have, the more they’re likely to complete an actionable goal.
15. It Helps You Build Backlinks
As mentioned above, content marketing is mostly about developing a more engaged audience so you can convert them into loyal, repeat customers. That means creating valuable content that can be shared with others while fostering strong relationships with your prospects and customers through social media.
One way to do this—and potentially increase your search engine rankings—is to encourage your audience to link back to you.
That is known as building backlinks, and it’s an excellent strategy to generate more traffic, increase domain authority and improve search engine rankings.
When someone links back to you from their website or social media profile, it will tell Google that they enjoy your content and are happy for others to see it too.
16. Helps to Move Buyer’s Through the Buyer’s Journey
A recent study from Salesforce suggests that B2B customers are more likely to share your content and spend more time on your site if it helps them progress through the buyer’s journey.
In other words, they’re more likely to do this if you offer lots of great educational articles which help them become better informed—thus ensuring they’re making informed decisions.
That is easier said than done, especially when competing with other businesses offering similar products and services.
Don’t be afraid to do something different—share content that truly helps them learn more about their business pain points and find the solutions they need. For example, if you’re a web design agency, help them understand what web design is, how it can improve their business, and which options are available.
17. It Works for any Industry
You don’t need to work in a creative, technology, or digital-based industry to enjoy the benefits associated with content marketing.
It can be used by any business, regardless of the industry and at any stage of the buyer’s journey—from pre-sale to post-sale.
For example, you might use it to build your brand awareness with people who are just beginning to think about their business pain points and possible solutions.
Then, once you establish your authority within your industry or niche, you can use it to build trust with prospects further down the buyer’s journey—so they’re confident that you’re the right choice for them.
18. Inspire Emotions and Create Attention
Content marketing isn’t just about sharing information. It’s also about inspiring emotions—engaging your prospects and customers, giving them a reason to share your content, all while also grabbing the attention of potential leads within your industry.
For instance, if you’re an accountant or financial adviser offering advice on managing money, you might want to consider creating infographics and videos about the spending habits of an average consumer.
If you’re a web design agency, create case studies about websites that have made the headlines for their success.
The point is to try and use your creativity to demonstrate what you do best while ensuring that it appeals to your audience.
19. It’s the Glue that Integrates Different Marketing Channels
Without content marketing, your social media and SEO campaigns would be missing a key component—putting them at risk of underperforming or even failing.
That is something that Paddy Morgan understands well. As the founder of Improve Digital, he says:
“Content marketing isn’t just about creating great blog posts and case studies to attract new visitors. It’s also about using your content to power your SEO and social media campaigns too.”
For example, you could share blog posts on LinkedIn and boost them with ads and sponsored messages. You could then use the articles to attract new website visitors who land on a specific page, such as an ‘about us’ or ‘services’ page.
That will help you build authority and trust with your audience while also helping to demonstrate your thought leadership.
20. It Incites Action
Content marketing isn’t just about encouraging your audience to take action—it’s also about creating content that helps them make informed decisions.
Whether you’re tackling an issue that affects businesses in your industry or offering tips and advice on how customers can solve their business pain points, it needs to provide real value.
For example, if you’re a web design agency, share your industry knowledge by creating helpful articles about how to make a website. These could focus on everything from choosing a domain name and hosting to using online tools, such as Adobe Photoshop.
21. Makes Your Brand Personable
With the likes of Periscope and Instagram Live, it’s easier than ever to give your brand a human touch.
Content marketing is all about telling stories—so by sharing behind-the-scenes information about your workspace or office life, you can encourage prospects and customers to feel like they know you.
If you’re struggling for inspiration, sharing a series of how-to videos is a simple way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a more relatable way.
For instance, if you’re an accountant firm offering advice on tax returns, create videos that show how to complete different tasks.
22. It’s an Asset You Can Build on
Believe it or not, content marketing will directly affect your search engine rankings.
When you create fresh and original content for your blog posts and articles, Google views them as assets demonstrating your expertise in a topic area. That is because the pages are packed with information that both answers question and provides value.
As a result, your rankings will improve, allowing you to attract even more visitors to your website in the future.
23. You Can Be Proactive with Your Marketing
Content marketing means being proactive rather than reactive—allowing you to enjoy greater lead flow simply because you’re putting yourself out there.
Many businesses fall into the trap of creating content to generate leads—which is why their efforts lack direction and quality.
On the other hand, content marketing ensures that you’re providing value to your audience while also encouraging them to take action. Even if leads don’t come flooding in straight away, it will put your brand in good stead for the future.
24. It Sets You Apart
Content marketing will help you stand out from your competitors—something that’s crucial in today’s crowded marketplace.
Instead of simply providing details about your services and products, tell stories that offer real value to prospects and customers.
For example, if you’re a web design agency offering responsive WordPress websites, blog about how to create one. That way, you can offer something that your competitors don’t—helping to strengthen your brand and improve your customer relationships.
25. It Saves You Time and Money
Since content marketing can help you build relationships, you won’t always need to go back to the drawing board.
Gone are the days when you needed to spend hours at a time creating new products and services—while also spending thousands on advertising campaigns. Content marketing allows you to create an asset that you can draw on for months or years to come.
Similarly, instead of sending prospects and customers cold calls or spam emails, you’re providing value to them—encouraging them to take an interest in your brand long before you reach out.
26. Better Customer Relationships
Last but not least, content marketing helps you to develop better customer relationships. You can tap into the sentiment of your audience through social media comments, reviews, and polls—and this is priceless information that will help you adapt to what your customers want.
You also have an opportunity to offer assistance or advice if anyone has a question or problem—which results in your prospects or customers feeling valued and loved.
So, there you have it—26 benefits of content marketing that can increase your overall audience engagement.
It might take time for you to see the benefits of content marketing, but it will become a core part of your overall business strategy once you do.
You’ll hit new heights with traffic to your site, gain more recognition as an industry expert and watch your customer numbers grow.
Content Marketing Channels to Increase Audience Engagement
Now that you know the benefits of content marketing, it’s time to think about how you can supercharge your efforts.
When creating blog posts or articles for your website, don’t limit yourself to one platform—spread the word across multiple channels.
That way, you can help extend your brand to new audiences as you work on building relationships with those you already have.
Here are 15 key strategies that can help you boost audience engagement:
Guest blogging is a great way to share your knowledge with other audiences and introduce them to your brand. You could write a guest post for another website or blog, ensuring that your content lands directly in front of their target audience.
Interviewing Authority Leaders
Conduct interviews with other leaders in your industry to create valuable content. Just make sure their answers don’t overlap or present the information you’ve already mentioned.
Do you have an engaging infographic you’d like to share with the world? Then be sure to submit it to infographic sites and directories. Alternatively, pitch it to other infographics blogs and websites.
New Tips and Tricks
If your audience is always looking for new tips and tricks, how-tos are a great way to make that happen. You could create a quick-fire, 5-minute video that provides a step-by-step guide to solving a problem or achieving a goal—helping viewers master the task in next to no time.
Add Podcasts to the Mix
It’s not just text posts and videos that you should be adding to your content marketing strategy. Consider adding podcasts to the mix, too—providing your audience with a new and dynamic way to connect with you.
Open a Community for Other Bloggers and Content Creators to Share their Opinions and Ideas
Let other people add their content to your blog. For example, consider running a regular community or guest post series—offering different bloggers or vloggers the opportunity to share their opinions with your audience.
Leverage Social Media Hashtags
Turn to social media hashtags to help extend your reach. It’s your way of telling Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook that you’re looking for photos with a particular hashtag—to draw in even more attention from different demographics of people.
Photo and Video Contests
Let consumers share their own experiences by creating photo or video contests—offering prizes for the best submissions. Not only does this encourage new content to your blog, but it also helps create more awareness around your brand too.
Look for Your Niche Subreddit and Get Active
If you’re looking for even more fresh and engaging content to share with your audience, then look no further than Reddit. There are thousands of subreddits available on various topics, which means there is always something relevant that you can share.
Take Advantage of Social Listening Tools
It’s important to monitor what your audience is saying online about you, so be sure to turn to social listening tools. You could also use these platforms for research purposes too—learning more about your target demographic without the need to ask them directly.
How-to videos are great for people who have a short attention span and prefer watching over reading. Consider adding a video to your website’s homepage—providing a quick summary of what you do or who you are while offering a gateway into other content too.
Record Your Events and Release them in a Podcast
During events such as webinars or seminars, it can be challenging to keep people focused since online participants will lack the energy of in-person attendees. Solution?
Record your event and release it as a podcast, so people can listen when they’re on the go or find something to go back to and listen to again.
Partner with Other Websites
There are many reputable websites that you could partner with—offering them a piece of content each time and vice versa. That ensures you’re getting a broad reach and having your content viewed by a different audience.
Write an eBook
People who enjoy reading can sometimes struggle to switch off, making them the perfect target market for eBooks. You could write a short eBook discussing a topic that you’ve not already covered or give readers an insight into the research you’ve done—helping them feel more involved in the process.
Host a Live Chat or Forum
If you’re looking for a new way to engage with your audience, then consider hosting a live chat session or forums discussion—offering people the chance to ask questions, give opinions, and connect with people from all over the world.
Link Your Website with Social Media Accounts
It can be difficult for your audience to keep up with everything that you’re doing, so include links to all of your social media profiles on your website. This way, viewers can easily click through and access more of your content or subscribe to updates if they like what they see.
Add a Quote or Statistic to Your Infographic
Rather than adding enormous amounts of text to infographics, consider adding a quote or statistic. That is easier to digest, especially for those who prefer watching over reading.
Automate Some of the Processes
If you’re struggling with time management, try using an automated system as a shortcut. Many different platforms allow you to schedule posts in advance, leading to more efficient social media management.
Examples of these tools include: Hootsuite, Buffer, etc
Share Your Audience’s Post
If you’re struggling to find engaging content, then consider sharing your audience’s posts. Not only will this save you time, but it also allows you to show that you support their opinions, too—encouraging more engagement from their end.
One of the best ways to increase your blog’s traffic is by using time-sensitive content. Whether it’s a holiday or a trending topic within your industry, these high-interest topics will encourage more people to visit and engage with your website.
Track Your Audience by Tagging them
It’s a challenge to track what your audience is saying about you, but tagging people in your social media posts can help. This way, they’ll be notified that you mentioned them and will hopefully take the time to check out your profile too.
Content Scoring: what’s it?
Content scoring is a way of identifying and assessing each piece of content you have. It can be done by asking the following questions:
- What is your Content Objective?
- How many social accounts do you own under your personal or brand name?
- Who is your audience demographic (by age, gender, location)?
- Where does your audience live online?
- Do you have a content distribution strategy for each social account?
- What is your budget for Content Marketing? For example, ad-spends and funding for other things relevant to Content Marketing, e.g., surveys, interviews, etc.?
- Who is going to do the actual writing or producing of content?
- How will you determine the success of your content marketing, i.e., how will you measure its ROI?
- What is your attribution policy for using other’s/third-party’s material?
- Who owns all the content created under Content Marketing? – Company/Brand/Corporate? – Individual/Author?
- What is the policy on terms of service in Content Marketing? For example, Creative Commons, etc.?
- How will you distribute your content marketing with other stakeholders in your organization, i.e., legal, compliance group, etc.?
- How will you use the content in Content Marketing with other marketing activities?
- What is your overall content strategy in the context of your marketing initiatives, i.e., do you have a cross-over plan that might be synergistic or create efficiencies through collaborative efforts?
- How will you measure success in Content Marketing? – For example, survey, etc.?
- How do you want to make people feel with your Content Marketing messages? – For example: happy, excited, inspired, empowered, informed, connected to the brand/company/corporate?
Cognitively, humans are loss-averse. We hate losing something more than we value gaining something of equal or greater value. Thus, when considering whether to do business with you, your audience will put far more weight on the risks of doing business with you (losing) vs . the benefits (gaining).
When developing content, consider the risks that your audience is facing in doing business with you. Content must be developed to overcome those risks and highlight the benefits of working with you.