Why is content marketing important?
Content is a fundamental part of all forms of marketing. Today, 93 percent of companies prioritize delivering relevant content when and where a person is most likely to see it. This is because content is an effective way to reach prospective buyers and drive revenue.
Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing relevant content to your target audience. It can be used to attract, engage, and educate prospects so they can make informed buying decisions. Content can be delivered via organic and paid channels. Organic distribution includes your website, email newsletters, and social media channels. Examples of paid distribution channels include search engine marketing (SEM) and sponsored content.
Establishing a regular cadence of blog posts, white papers, videos, ebooks, and other content can help prospective buyers understand how your products and services can solve their problems. It also helps you build loyalty and retention with existing customers. A strategic content program can lead to market leadership and real business growth.
Why is content marketing so important today?
The internet completely disrupted the way customers research products and make purchasing decisions. Historically, companies relied on traditional sales and advertising tactics such as TV and print ads or face-to-face relationship building to drive sales. But the internet made information broadly available so people can do their own research without needing to engage directly with an organization unless they actually want to.
That is why the importance of content marketing has dramatically increased in recent years. Compelling content gives organizations a way to reach buyers who are independently researching a potential solution to a specific problem or need. When companies deliver high-quality content that establishes credibility, this can motivate prospects to reach out to learn more and ultimately convert.
Content marketing is particularly important in B2B where buying is complex and sales cycles are long. B2B buyers often conduct extensive research prior to buying because they need to know they can trust a company before making (often expensive) purchases on behalf of their businesses. The right piece of content can be an important factor that leads a prospect to choose one company over another.
What are some of the benefits of content marketing?
Whether your organization sells to other businesses or to consumers, a well-crafted content marketing program can be an incredibly useful way to attract customers online and motivate them to buy. Here are some specific ways content marketing can help you nurture prospects and customers throughout the buyer journey and ultimately generate more sales:
Grow brand awareness
Content that speaks to relevant, timely, or otherwise important topics can help you boost your company's name recognition. You can use blog posts or social media to join in on conversations that are already happening on these topics to familiarize target audiences with your company.
You can also use content to create demand for your products or services. Create blog posts or long-form content like ebooks and white papers to discuss topics that not only resonate with your target audiences but also create an urgent need for your products or services.
Drive organic visitors
Optimizing content for search can help drive organic visitors to your website, which gives you more opportunities to make sales. Conduct keyword research to identify high-volume keywords that are relevant to your company and what you sell and strategically incorporate them into the pages on your website.
Generate sales leads
One way to generate sales leads through content is by gating valuable content behind a form on your website. That way, you can capture the information of highly relevant prospects who have an interest in learning your company's perspective on important topics.
Content can help you establish your expertise around relevant topics. This builds trust among key audiences and differentiates you from your competitors. Use long-form content like blog posts to go in-depth into important topics to demonstrate your knowledge.
Earn customer loyalty
Educational content like how-to guides or videos about how to get the most out of your product or service can help you support and delight current customers. This keeps customers returning to your site to learn more and increases the likelihood they will make repeat purchases and remain loyal to your company.
How do you create a content strategy?
Sophisticated organizations create a content strategy that supports the overall marketing strategy. A content strategy typically includes audience personas, topics, channels for distribution, and a cadence for publishing. Goals for content marketing might include ranking for specific keywords, increasing downloads, or attracting new prospects.
As part of creating a content strategy, some organizations also develop a content map. A content map looks at what specific content types should be delivered at different stages of the buyer journey. With a deep understanding of their typical buyer journey as well as the pain points and needs of their prospects, marketers can target potential buyers with highly relevant and influential content. Here are some of the common stages in a content map:
Prospects in this stage know they have a problem, but they might not know that your company exists. Typical awareness content introduces pain points at a very high level through educational content that is not aimed at converting or taking action.
In the interest phase, prospects know they have a problem that they need to address and are aware of your company. Effective interest-phase content discusses how to solve common challenges and positions your company as a solution. This is usually achieved through thought-leadership blog posts.
Prospects that are in the decision phase are ready to make a purchase but have not yet decided which company to purchase from. Customer testimonials, success stories, or case studies that validate your company over competitors are great for the decision phase.
Once a prospect becomes a customer, content can help ensure that they remain loyal long-term. Use how-to guides or videos to educate current customers on how to get the most out of your product or service.
Content is the foundation of nearly all marketing efforts today. To get the most value out of your content marketing program, it is important to start with your organization's broader objectives and align those objectives with a content plan that keeps your team in sync. Many forward-thinking organizations use purpose-built roadmap software to visualize how their teams are progressing against plans.
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