This is Part Two of a two-part blog series on why content marketing matters for your business. Read Part One.
Most marketing and advertising strategies were designed with short-term goals in mind.
For example, you post a pay-per-click ad on a highly-trafficked website. But it seems you're not getting much value for money. One-third of your viewers clicked through by accident (and yes, you still pay for those clicks).
Switching tactics, you decide to put a popup ad on your own site. But then you notice that your bounce rate hits a whopping 81%. Apparently four out of five people are exiting your page because of your popup ad.
To be fair, traditional advertising isn't completely dead; it's still a great tool to complement your core marketing efforts.
But if you're in this for the long haul, your main strategy needs to take a long-term view as well. In today's digital landscape, the best way to accomplish this goal is through content marketing — here's why.
1. Attract new site traffic
Nowadays, when we run into a problem they don't know how to solve, one of the first things we do is Google it.
You want to be where your prospects are, which means you want to be easily found on Google.
By producing helpful content that directly addresses your target audience's concerns, your site will rank better on Google and you'll begin attracting qualified traffic: folks with a problem that your product or service directly resolves.
2. Build up your brand's reputation
People are often turned off by a hard sell. (When was the last time you were excited to get an unsolicited sales call?) But content marketing allows you to position your brand as helpful — not intrusive.
If people like the info you're providing, they'll be more inclined to trust what you say. And if people consistently see you providing useful answers to their questions, they'll start keeping your brand in mind as a go-to resource.
3. Generate qualified leads
Even if your prospects aren't ready to buy yet, they might be open to giving you more information about themselves — and in doing so, convert into a lead.
In other words, people who already know that you're offering something of value are more likely to respond to a well-timed call-to-action (CTA).
Once this happens, you can start nurturing the relationship by offering personalized touches to move your leads further down the buyer's journey.
4. Develop stronger relationships with your leads and customers
When you're producing lots of solid content, it's likely that you'll hear from more prospects who have already seen some of that content. After all, 47% of buyers will view 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a sales representative.
This means that by the time someone contacts you, they've already seen your expertise in your field, and know that you're qualified to help. They already trust you — and trust is a key cornerstone of any long-term relationship.
Before your first personal interaction even happens, your content strategy has already helped you to win half of the sales battle.
5. Enjoy long-term traffic boosts
At Sprk'd, our undisputed "greatest hit" is the blog post How to Clear Your Gmail Inbox in 8 Simple Steps. We wrote this post two years ago and it's been our greatest source of organic traffic ever since.
Once you've published something to the internet, it's going to live online forever (short of your website going down or the end of the world arriving). This means you can continue to reap its SEO rewards for a very long time — certainly far longer than the time you'd have to put in to create it.
Oh, and if your post gets linked to from an authoritative website? That's basically like striking the SEO jackpot.
6. See compounding returns on investment
Ever heard of banks that use "compound interest"? As you earn interest every month, your base sum grows, causing the amount of interest you get in each subsequent month to increase as well.
Content marketing works in a pretty similar way. Because great content can last forever (as we discussed above), the results it can bring to your brand actually get better over time as your site's authority increases and your SEO rank improves.
HubSpot is a great example of how this works: 75% of their blog views and 90% of their blog leads come from old posts.
7. Get your money's worth
Of all the marketing strategies out there, content marketing provides some of the highest ROI.
The numbers don't lie:
Content marketing generates more than three times as many leads as traditional advertising methods — and costs 62% less. (Source: CMI)
Companies that regularly update their blogs generate, on average, 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. (Source: IMPACT)
- 6 out of 10 consumers are inspired to check out a product after reading useful and relevant content about it. (Source: Demand Metric)
Start creating kickass content for your brand today
We're just gonna say it: Creating effective content is an essential part of any effective digital marketing strategy. You have to prioritize it. No excuses.
And because content marketing takes time to work (you can typically expect to start seeing results after about 6–9 months), you should begin as early as possible.
Totally new to the world of content creation? We've put together a FREE email course to whip your writing and design skills into shape — in just six weeks. Sign up now to get started right away!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2013. It has since been updated to reflect industry changes.