Content marketing isn't about selling.
Content marketing has the potential to help your business build a devoted following and even sell more, but it isn't an immediate direct sales tool. Though some companies use content marketing service providers to push certain products or make direct sales, the most successful content marketers aren't directly selling anything at all. The most successful content marketers exist to educate, entertain, and inspire their readers—and they see conversion into sales as a happy by-product of their work instead of its primary purpose.
It's difficult for most people writing about their businesses to step back from the mentality that everything they write has to be about selling something. But if you can make that leap of faith, you'll find that readers are more likely to appreciate your content and trust your brand when you're giving them helpful information instead of selling them something around every corner.
Content marketing comes in different formats.
Although you’re probably familiar with the content in blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts, did you know there are several other formats? Content marketing isn’t just about the written word. As your customers move through the sales funnel—and as technology changes—you want to provide them with valuable information that helps them make decisions about their purchases.
As an example of potentially less-familiar types of content: infographics help deliver complex information in a digestible way and can be saved/shared across social media platforms or used in emails or on websites. Research also shows that social media posts with images have more engagement than those without. And email newsletters are still a practical way to communicate directly with your current and potential customers who have subscribed to receive them.
Content marketing can help build your brand.
Whenever someone comes across a piece of your content, they'll begin to associate that feeling or tone with your company. This is why brands spend millions on Super Bowl ads: It's an easy way to build a brand by associating certain emotions with your company in viewers' minds. The same principle holds for content marketing.
Content marketing service providers create content that's consistent and genuine. People will begin to associate those feelings and elements with your business, which can help build relationships with customers over the long haul and make it easier to win their loyalty.
Content marketing helps build trust with customers.
Content marketing's primary goal is to build trust with your audience. The more confidence you gain from the people who follow you and buy from you, the more loyal they will be through thick and thin.
You can also use content marketing service providers to build credibility. By providing helpful information to your followers, you show you’re an expert in your field. They see you as a trustworthy source of information about your industry, which means they're more likely to make a purchase decision. How do you make content marketing work?
Content marketing is a long-term investment.
You might worry that content marketing will not yield results for a long time, and you would be mostly correct. Before you see results, your audience needs to get to know you and trust that the advice in your blog posts or ebooks is reliable. That means consistency—regularly posting high-quality content over an extended period—is key to a successful strategy. Plus, since people don't always act right away when they come across a piece of good content, it can take months or even years before they're ready to take the plunge and buy something from your site.
However, given enough time and consideration, the payoff can be enormous; building a relationship with your audience through high-quality content helps them see you as an authority in your industry. When they decide it's finally time to purchase from someone like you, guess who comes to mind first?
SEO matters, but your content still needs to be helpful.
SEO is undoubtedly essential, but you also need to write helpful content. Google can recognize when someone clicks on an article and then immediately goes back to search results, which it considers a “short click.” This tells the algorithm that the user didn't think the content was relevant or valuable. The most effective way to optimize your SEO is by writing helpful content with naturally-used keywords. However, nothing will help your ranking more than solid and shareable content. No matter how perfectly you've optimized your page for SEO, an uninteresting article or blog post will never outrank a good one.
Content marketing will help you show up in search results.
As briefly mentioned above, content marketing is an effective way to make you more visible in your industry. How so? Well, let’s back up a little bit first.
Search engine optimization was pretty straightforward: buy links, post hundreds of pages on your website with your keywords stuffed into them, and write content that included these keywords as many times as possible—boom! You had an optimized website. The truth is that this strategy may have worked for a little while, but it doesn’t work anymore (and never really did). These days, if you want to rise in search engine rankings and get more traffic to your website—a must for any business—you need high-quality content.
Content marketing is about building relationships.
Content marketing is all about building relationships. When you publish content regularly, you'll see your readership increase, your credibility rise, and your audience's trust in you deepen.
But there's more! You can also use content marketing to build relationships with customers and prospects, influencers and other businesses, and even your employees.
Find a content marketer who cares about your business as much as you do and will build a relationship with you and your customers.
It’s time to decide what kind of content marketer you want. What is important to me? Do you want someone motivated by a challenge? Or someone who is more laid-back? What character traits are essential to you in a partner?
Does this mean that you should only work with people who share the same beliefs and values as you do? Not necessarily. But it does mean that if some specific issues or topics are fundamental to your customers (e.g., environmental sustainability), working with someone who shares those same priorities can be beneficial because they will better understand how best to serve them.