When done well, content marketing is a powerful tool for building your business. It can help you to build trust and reach a wider pool of your target audience, as well as engaging your existing ones.
But despite the benefits of effective content marketing, many professionals feel they could be doing better in this area. In a 2020 report by the Content Marketing Institute, 43% of participants – which were from the B2B space – felt as though their company’s content was neither good nor bad. In addition to this, only 7% believed they were ‘exceptional’ in this field.
There could be a number of reasons that a lot of marketers out there struggle with content. Limited resources, a lack of planning and not understanding their audiences to name a few.
Today, you’ll discover the benefits of a high-quality content marketing strategy – as well as what the consequences of a bad one could be. But first…
… Let’s start by defining what ‘content marketing’ is.
As mentioned by Lexico, content marketing is:
“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
Although you’re not jumping in front of someone and saying “here I am, buy me” in its rawest form, your ultimate goal is still to eventually drive sales.
From their perspective, it’s like dating. Rather than walking up to them and saying “shall we have babies right now?”, they’re finding out more about you and whether or not you’re a good fit for the long-term.
Now we’ve cleared that up, what are the drawbacks of bad content marketing?
A loss of trust. When people buy a product or service from you, they’re parting with their money. And that’s a big commitment, so they need to be able to trust you first.
Pieces infested with grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies and just generally sounding like you don’t have a clue will quickly turn people off. On top of that, it will cause sizeable damage to your industry reputation.
Remember – you’re not the only brand in your field. There are plenty waiting behind you to snap up your customers. If a user chooses to go elsewhere, it’ll be difficult to win them back.
Lower profit margins. Content marketing, albeit a worthy long-term investment, is not cheap. You need to factor in the cost of hiring a good writer and content management system, along with potentially a social media manager, designer, potentially paid advertising and so on.
Even if nobody engages with your content, or your target audience happens to dislike what you’re putting out, those costs don’t go away. You still need to pay that writer for their time and those Facebook costs won’t be refunded if poor performance is your own fault. Then, you need to factor in fewer people seeing your website, wanting to buy your product, etcetera.
Creating an effective strategy might seem both time-consuming and difficult and… well… it is. But it’s a lot more time-consuming and difficult, as well as costly, if you make a bad job of it.
Right, so we’ve got the negatives out of the way. How can a good content marketing strategy benefit my business?
Generate more leads. In the same CMI report we mentioned in the introduction, 70% of respondents said they had successfully generated demands or leads through content marketing in the 12 months prior. This isn’t difficult to break down – providing more value to your target audience equals getting more in return.
High-value content does more than just engage readers and viewers. It gives them more of a reason to revisit your page, follow you on social media, subscribe to your social media accounts and – hopefully – invest in your services at a later date.
Just as poorly-produced content can be detrimental to your industry reputation, well-written (or shot and edited) work has the opposite effect. More eyeballs will be drawn in front of you, resulting in a larger pool of potential customers and clients.
It puts you in the driving seat. You know what’s great? When you’re not the one having to go out and look for people to do business with, but instead they come to you.
Much of the time, users already know what they’re looking for when they visit your website or social media channels. Because of this, capturing their attention in the initial research phase is imperative to winning their loyalty.
How do you do this? By educating them. It’s up to you to highlight why the kind of product that you sell is the right choice for them. If your product or service is more expensive, for example, you could explain how in the long-term it’s cheaper because you a) constantly update the backend so that it runs smoothly and b) customers won’t need to upgrade in a few years and therefore pay more in the long run.
Through educating your audience while they’re still making a decision on who to give their money to, you’re the conversation driver – not them. And since you’re in control, convincing them to seal the deal becomes easier.
Everybody is doing content marketing these days, but not everyone is doing it well. And those who aren’t doing it well are missing out on scaling their business to the next level.
A good strategy takes time to both build and implement, but the long-term benefits are significant. Your return on investment will be higher, as will your revenue. Through building credibility, your search engine rankings will also increase – meaning that you’ll continue to attract more traffic to your website.
It can be tempting to skimp on content marketing, especially if this isn’t your area of specialty. But you will regret it, while you’ll also make life more difficult for your sales team.
Spend the necessary time to get your content marketing strategy on point. If you don’t have the time to work on this, then outsource it. But regardless of how you develop and implement it, treat content marketing as an important area of your business – because that’s what it is.
Now you’ve learned about how effective content marketing can grow your business, why not discover useful techniques to maximise your potential in this field? Ugenie.io Founder Susan Kabani will be hosting a free content marketing masterclass at the Digital Marketing Mixer on 30th June. You can RSVP for free here.