What is Content Marketing—and The 7 Biggest Benefits

Over the last few years content marketing has been one of the fastest growing marketing tactics on the planet, and that trend doesn’t look to change any time soon.

However, a lot of small business owners still don’t know what it is, and don’t know whether they should be doing it or even where to start.

If that’s you, and you’re not content marketing yet, this article could dramatically change the way you promote your products and services online.

So let’s start with a quick…

Content Marketing Definition

Content marketing focuses on publishing entertaining, useful and informative content to both your existing and also your potential customers and clients, with the intention of increasing their interest in your products and services.

Content can be any combination of text, photos, illustrations, animations, video, or even audio-only content like Podcasts.

Effective content marketing can benefit your business in numerous ways, many of which I’ll explain in a moment. However the key difference between traditional marketing and content marketing is this…

With ’traditional’ marketing the focus is all on the features and benefits of your products and services.

With content marketing you may not even mention your own products and services in some of the content you publish!

Now I realise that may sound totally counter-intuitive, but this is where the beauty of content marketing lies. It’s the ‘non-selling’ aspect which makes it such a powerful marketing strategy, and is the reason why it’s so beneficial for companies who do it well.

So with that said, here are…

The 7 Biggest Benefits of Content Marketing

There are huge benefits to performing content marketing if you keep doing it over the medium to long term.

So, ​if you’re either new to content marketing, or you’ve tried it but are thinking of giving up, here are seven reasons why you should keep going….

1. Content Marketing positions you as the ‘Go-to expert’.

Possibly the biggest benefit for anyone who provides high-level, expensive or technical products and services is this… Content Marketing will give you increased competitive advantage as you become a recognised ‘industry thought leader’.

If all your competitors are trying to do is apply brute force selling techniques to anyone who shows even the slightest interest, you take the ‘high ground’.

Prospects will naturally start gravitating towards you, because you’ll be seen as the person who gives advice before you try and sell them anything.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but this is why most of the World’s top advisers and consultants regularly publish lengthy articles, opinion pieces, predictions, commentary, analysis and advice. In other words, they’re performing content marketing.

Now I admit when I first started performing content marketing in the mid 2000s, I didn’t properly understand just how powerful it was.

I vividly remember being surprised at how all of a sudden people started treating me differently.

Within a few months I went from being ‘just another web developer’ to a ‘key person of influence’.

Even more ironic, all I did was start publishing blog posts and emailing my subscribers with links to those posts… that’s the absolute bare minimum of what’s possible these days. (I’ll explain why later in this article.)

The second biggest benefit is that…

2. Content marketing keeps you ‘top of mind’.

A well-worn and possibly overused rule of thumb is that on average, you need to contact a potential customer or client seven times after their initial enquiry before they commit to a buying decision.

However, this can be considerably reduced when you perform content marketing.

By frequently distributing interesting, useful, entertaining and educational content to your followers, blog readers and email subscribers, they won’t forget about you.

If they’ve enquired with your competitors, and those competitors aren’t bothering to follow up their enquiry, while at the same time you’ve been sending them useful content… well, guess who they’ll think about first when they are finally ready to buy!

3. Content Marketing makes your existing clients value you more.

As the old saying goes, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.

Now hopefully your existing customers and clients don’t hold you in contempt!

However, it’s quite possible that clients you’ve been serving a long time may not appreciate you as much as they once did.

It’s basic human nature.

They’ve probably got so used to you, they perhaps take you for granted, and almost certainly don’t know (and therefore cannot appreciate) just how much knowledge, experience and expertise you actually provide.

However, once you start content marketing — and they see you content marketing — a strange thing will happen.

I can almost guarantee they will start to treating you with more respect, patience, and appreciation.

Now there are a number of reasons why this will happen. I think the main reason is simply that once they’re exposed to your content marketing, they begin to understand just how much value you are actually providing, and what goes on behind the scenes to do what you do for them.

4. Content Marketing educates potential customers and clients about your products and services

Content marketing reduces pre-sales questions and actually makes selling easier—because potential clients are effectively able to self-prescribe what they need you to do for them.

Content marketing reduces confusion and uncertainty about what you do, how you do it, and the results you get for people.

Done effectively, it can get complete strangers excited about what you do—before you ever speak to them.

Obviously this all makes it so much easier to close a sale over the phone, Zoom or when lockdown eventually ends… even face to face!

5. Content Marketing increases inbound enquiries.

Potential clients will start gravitating towards you — because it becomes obvious to them that you are the person they need to solve their problems.

One of the best examples I have of this is when a client of my content marketing agency received his first ever inbound enquiry. He was a sales-trainer and taught outbound marketing for a living—so cold calling, negotiation skills and things like that.

Prior to meeting me, he did very little inbound marketing. In fact I don’t think he had ever done anything to generate sales leads online.

My agency had only been performing content marketing for him for a month or two when he told me that he was in the shower early one morning when he heard the phone ring.

He grabbed a towel and dashed to the phone, expecting it to be a member of his family. As he stood there dripping wet, half naked, he fielded a phone call from a key person at one of the largest firms in his target industry, asking if he’d come in for a meeting.

Basically they’d been reading his blogs and emails (i.e. the content marketing my agency were doing for him) and realised they needed him to do sales training for them.

He told me he was flabbergasted. He’d never received an inbound enquiry before.

Obviously from that point onwards he was a true believer in the power of content marketing!

6. Content Marketing allows you to raise your rates.

As content marketing increases the number of customers and clients you work with, you become less available… and this of course allows you to raise your rates.

The more people perceive you as an expert, the more they want you to work for them.

The more people want you, the less available you become, and the higher your rates go.

It’s a simple dynamic, and it happens automatically when you start to become perceived as an industry expert.

Finally…

7. Content Marketing transforms your website

…from an online brochure into a super-useful repository of information that attracts prospective clients, and proves to Google that your site is worth ranking highly in its search results.

Not only does a website with lots of content on it have more keyword phrases in it — which Google can index — but Google also really likes sites with lots of content, which are updated regularly, and which ‘captivate’ readers for longer.

You can see this for yourself. Most of the sites at the top of Google’s results for any common search phrase have lots of content. There’s a very good reason for this.

When someone clicks from Google onto a web site, if they quickly return to Google, that tells Google that the web site probably doesn’t have good content on it… so Google then downgrades its position in the results.

In this way all the ‘best’ — most content heavy useful and engaging web sites automatically find their way to the top of the Google search results.

That’s one key way that Google remains the most popular search engine in the world.

Content marketing helps your web site rank higher in the results, because it creates a growing body of content on your site, which gives people more reason to stay on your site longer. Google will notice this, and your site ranks better as a result.

Content marketing will also increase your incoming links or ‘backlinks’—that’s the number of other third party websites which link to pages on your website—because people are far more likely to link your website if it has great content on it.

Yet again, Google favours sites which have lots of backlinks.

So those are what I believe to be the 7 biggest benefits of content marketing.

In a future post I’ll reveal three additional ‘hidden’ benefits of content marketing that can take you to the next level.

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Ed Rivis