- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13X more likely to see positive marketing ROI.
- Content marketing not only boosts SEO results — it also fuels your other marketing efforts.
- Content marketing generates traffic, conversions, AND leads for your brand.
- Content marketing creates long-term, sustainable results.
The conversational marketing platform Drift has carved an enormous market space for themselves in just a few short years. In October 2016, the Drift brand flew under the radar with 198 blog readers a month. But by June of the same year, just eight months later, blog readers had skyrocketed to 27,369 customers. The difference, according to Drift, came down to one thing: the benefits of content marketing.
Drift’s strategy focused on humanizing B2B content marketing and prioritizing the things their own audience would love. As a result, they catapulted their brand from an industry newcomer to one of the fastest growing software companies, with clients like Oracle and Grubhub.
According to a McKinsey survey of 27,000 consumers, consistency is the #1 key to customer satisfaction. Is the brand’s voice, messaging, and helpfulness consistent at every touchpoint? Do the brand’s values and qualities reinforce themselves over the long term? Does the brand show up for the customer? Is it there with a solution every time the customer has a question or concern?
A content marketing strategy like the one used by Drift puts that sense of consistency front and center – and Drift isn’t alone. For the world’s most well-loved brands, the best way to demonstrate consistency of personality over time is to actively show it in the content they produce.
WHY CONTENT MARKETING IS IMPORTANT
According to Hubspot, content marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13X more likely to see positive ROI than those who don’t. And why annual growth in organic traffic is 7.8X higher for businesses that engage in content marketing. It’s also why content marketing generates 3X the leads, but costs 62% less than other digital marketing channels.
Content marketing doesn’t just open up a conversation with your audience. It also keeps that conversation fresh, helpful and engaging over time. Great content marketing is not fleeting and transactional, but rather leads to engagement and relationship-building. Most of all, it keeps the conversation wanted. Content marketing doesn’t interrupt the user from their activity — it’s a welcome extension of it.
TOP BENEFITS OF CONTENT MARKETING
1. Boost your SEO and traffic
Anyone who’s serious about inbound marketing knows you can’t win at SEO without a killer content strategy. In fact, effective content creation is a pillar of organic search.
After you address technical SEO issues on your website, do you sit back and wait? Of course not. You continuously generate high-quality content that excites your audience. When you produce useful content that answers searchers questions, Google will reward you with better rankings in the search engine results pages (SERP).
Additionally, backlinks from high-authority websites and blogs boost Google’s trust in your site. But don’t expect anyone worth their link juice to cite generic, watered-down pieces of content. They want unique, data-driven content that excites, intrigues, informs, inspires, and entertains.
Content marketing also adds keywords to your arsenal with every piece of content you produce, helping to strengthen results for your long-tail keywords. Those keywords accrue over time with every piece you create, pulling in a diverse array of hungry, targeted traffic. As a result, your SEO strategy will yield long-term and compounding ROI.
2. Establish E-A-T
Google sums up what it wants to see from websites with one tidy acronym: E-A-T, or Expertise, Authority, Trust. One of the benefits of content marketing is establishing these qualities.
To watch a brand really land this one, search any beginner-related ecommerce topic (example: “ways to increase your ecommerce sales,” or “what should I sell online”). Then, look at the SERPs. We’d bet money that Shopify will show up on page one for at least one of those queries.
Shopify’s goal is to provide a platform that’s simple and beginner friendly. And they reach their target audience by providing expert-written evergreen content that solves pain points and builds customer relationships.
As Shopify establishes itself as a thought leader in the ecommerce space, they’ll earn trusted brand mentions from authoritative websites. That enhances E-A-T, which strengthens SEO.
So, when that aspiring entrepreneur finally decides to stop planning and start doing, Shopify will be their platform of choice because of the expertise and authority it has established through every step of the customer’s journey.
Authority isn’t siloed in the SERPs, either. If you aim to be a thought leader on a trusted industry website, everyone who reads the article will view your brand as a credible, high-authority source of information.
3. Create brand awareness
Mazda is also a great example of how different types of content build brand awareness. Their Zoom-Zoom Magazine is one of the best examples of content marketing in the automobile industry. The magazine offers inside looks into the testing of Mazda vehicles, fun stories about how many states someone could drive through within 24 hours, and employee highlights. The magazine is all about celebrating the Mazda community, and they even get readers involved by asking them to share their Mazda experiences on social media using #ZoomZoomMazda.
Whether someone encounters your content in the SERPs, an industry resource, or a link from a friend, they encounter it. Then they share it and others encounter it. And before you know it, you have a new army of brand advocates.
4. Let your brand personality shine through
Another one of the benefits of content marketing? Brand personality.
The first thing any branding expert will tell you is that a brand is much more than a logo and color palette. Successful brands reach deep into their values to paint a complete picture of who they are, what drives them, their customer promise, their differentiation, their personality, and their values.
Think of Sephora. Their content hub isn’t just run by a bunch of biased employees — it’s also fueled by the customers themselves. In addition to their various effective marketing campaigns that promote inclusivity, body positivity, and similar causes, Sephora also fills their blog with recommendations, tips, and advice from their own customer base.
Besides keeping employees happy and creating great products, the primary way brands demonstrate these values? Their voice. From upbeat and energetic to authoritative and straightforward, your brand voice lays immediate groundwork for the story of who you are. A category page or product page in your website may not afford you a great opportunity to let your brand personality shine through. However, good content gives you that platform in spades.
5. Connect with your audience through multiple learning formats
Your potential customers all have unique needs, and there’s not a universal format that suits every need at once. Some people are visual learners, while others prefer to read. Others only want to skim bullet points, and still others would rather just watch a video or listen to a podcast. One of the benefits of content marketing? Keeping your voice and values consistent throughout while flexibly offering formats that meet many different customer needs.
These may include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Photo essays
- Webinars & classes
- Tools and templates
- Live Q&As
…And much more. The format can change according to what’s most appropriate or useful to the audience, and there’s plenty of room to experiment with how you deliver information.
6. Fuel your social media and PR results
When a visitor lands on a piece of content on your site and finds it helpful, clever, touching, powerful, or entertaining, they become one more possible advocate for your brand. Those people who convert to brand advocates are transformative for your business’s ROI.
Once you create a brand advocate, that person will follow you on social media and genuinely engage with your business. They’ll share your content with their friends (and possibly thousands of their online friends) and make recommendations. And they’ll lend their voices to amplify yours.
These brand advocates wouldn’t be possible without great content. They can’t share your content and help your brand build an army of followers if they have nothing to connect to in the first place.
When you have a content marketing plan in place? That army of advocates doesn’t just happen on the grassroots level. Your PR strategy can work hand in hand with your content strategy so the best of your content gets a spotlight. High-authority blogs and publications are thirsty for information to share. When your content delivers that information, they will reference it.
In doing so, those publications springboard your results from grassroots to top-down. When a top blog or media site has something to share, other publishers perk up their ears. Soon they start linking to your content, too. And that compounding SEO impact amplifies your PR.
7. Support your audience throughout the funnel
Content marketing and SEO are unique in their ability to target any of the three funnel stages: awareness, consideration, or decision. It doesn’t matter where your customer is in their journey or what they’re looking for. You can produce the content that addresses their needs at the precise time they would find it most valuable.
If you’re an apparel retailer like Nordstrom, a customer in the awareness stage might be looking for the latest trends, feeding their interest in fashion, or seeking help with a particular concern. Your content can meet that unique need, offering your own products as examples so you can nudge the customer along in their journey.
A customer in the consideration stage, on the other hand, has a general sense of what they want, but they’re waiting for your content to convince them that you offer the best option. And a customer in the decision phase is almost there; it’s your content’s job to remind them why they can feel great purchasing the product.
Learn more about funnel phases in our post about ToFu, MoFu, BoFu.
8. Improve your conversion rates
A site with a low conversion rate is like a person pouring water into a leaky bucket. They’re working very hard when so much could be accomplished by fixing the bucket!
Whether your conversion rate is low, average, or high, strategically boosting it is always the right idea. Assuming you don’t have a catastrophically weird site design or UX issue, the best way to do that is by leveraging the benefits of content marketing. Your content can:
- Give life to your brand
- Help consumers discover new products or solutions
- Create a story the customer wants to participate in
- Help your audience feel that they belong to a tribe
- Sell the product
- Answer questions
- Address concerns
- Build trust
- Share additional brand incentives
- Form the backbone of attention-grabbing, meaningful calls to action
9. Lead generation
Retailers like Nordstrom have a swift sales cycle. Play your cards right and you can move a brand new customer from awareness to purchase in one session. For brands that sell products or services with a longer sales cycle, like enterprise-level project management software? Your customer will need far longer than a single browser session to feel comfortable making their purchase. For some products and services, new leads need months or even a year to make purchasing decisions.
Top-of-the-funnel content is perfectly suited to B2B lead generation because it captures customers early on and moves them down the sales funnel. In fact, relevant content is one of the most effective nurturing tools available for longer sales cycles to engage them and move them through the buyer’s journey.
Learn more about how to generate leads through SEO.
10. Build brand affinity and loyalty
Don’t you love it when you’re so close with a person, you could finish each other’s sandwiches?
When your brand steps in to offer the exact content your customer needs at exactly the right time? It’s a little bit like having that type of relationship with your customer. You help each customer finish their sentences (or sandwiches), sometimes providing additional information they didn’t even know they needed. Your valuable content gives your visitor a set of tools to use as they navigate their interest or pain point. It can even arm them with a story to tell about it.
Pair that with an interesting (or hilarious, or entertaining, or sassy) brand personality? Soon people will become emotionally invested in your brand, too. Think of MoonPie, which has become famous for its witty Twitter banter. People are devoted to MoonPie not just because they love the product, but because they love the brand, too.
With all of these content marketing benefits, before long, you become 1) the brand that your audience relies on when they need information related to your area of expertise, and 2) the brand that people can’t wait to tell others about, too. That sense of trust sparks loyalty. And a brand with that is a force to be reckoned with.