Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Content Marketing

May 26, 2020

9 mins

You don’t have time to waste on marketing that’s not profitable. The stakes are high and the brands that communicate clearly and consistently are the ones that will come out on top.

The problem is that oftentimes marketing is done haphazardly or piecemeal, without much thought to how all the different pieces work together to produce results. Everyone knows it’s dangerous to put all of your eggs in one basket, yet when it comes to marketing, many people do exactly that and end up confused when their new website or SEO strategy isn’t working. 

If you’re just joining us, we are in the middle of a series about the elements of a successful digital marketing strategy. We want to help you see the value of each individual part of the plan and understand how these elements work in harmony to win more leads and grow your business. Our approach to digital marketing includes, lead-converting websites, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, social media, and pay-per-click advertising. In this post we’ll dive deep into the world of content marketing and explain what it is and why it matters to your digital marketing strategy.  

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing encompasses all the various ways marketers create and distribute information that is both relevant and valuable to customers—emphasis on relevant and valuable. People often think of content marketing as writing blogs or articles for websites, but the written word is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. The various types of content marketing can include any or all of the following: 

  • Blogs 
  • Articles
  • Brand Videos 
  • Video Testimonials 
  • Podcasts 
  • Vlogs and YouTube channels 
  • Infographics
  • Case studies 
  • Ebooks or downloadable guides 
  • Checklists 
  • Online courses or “How-To” videos 
  • Influencer marketing 

Content marketing is different from traditional marketing in that the endgame of content marketing isn’t closing a deal. Traditional marketing generally includes making a pitch that leads to a sale. On the other hand, content marketing isn’t singularly focused on the sale, but on building a relationship between the brand and the audience. 

Creating and distributing a wide variety of relevant and valuable content positions a brand as a thought leader, an authority, and a guide that is helping the heroes (i.e. customers) win at life. Remember, it’s important to always position your product or service in the context of “benefits provided” rather than “features offered.” Communicating in benefit-focused language better positions the brand as a guide, which puts the customer at the center of the narrative.  

Why is Content Marketing Important? 

Content marketing is important because it meets the needs of customers searching for your products or services, it improves your website’s SEO, and it positions your brand as a trusted authority that provides useful information, making it easier for customers to want to do business with you. Let’s dive deeper into why content marketing is important:

1. Content marketing is important because consumers are expecting it.

Shoppers are the heroes of their own stories, searching for products and services to guide them to greatness. Brands are the supporting characters helping shoppers win the day. Creating and distributing relevant and valuable content proves that you have the ability and authority to make their lives better. And while that may not be a revolutionary idea, our access to real time information has redefined our expectations towards businesses asking for a sale. Simply put, your customers want more from you before they’ll agree to do business with you. Without equipping them with valuable and useful information, your messages will only contribute to the noise in an overcrowded inbox or social media feed. Consumers have a “seeing is believing” mindset and content marketing helps build that trust between you and your customers. 

2. Content marketing is important because it supercharges your website’s SEO.

Producing content that is rich with relevant information on specific topics or “keywords” improves your website’s visibility to search engines. In our last post we talked about what search engines are looking for and how to optimize your website content appropriately. Simply put, content marketing provides the search engines what they’re looking for when scanning the web to match a query. There are a myriad of considerations that come into play here but at the end of the day you can’t have good SEO without content marketing. 

Your website should contain the content the search engines are looking for on terms relative to your product or service. Perhaps you’ve come across a website that is “stuffing” keywords near the bottom of the homepage. This is a stale tactic that search engines recognize as someone trying to outsmart the algorithm. Search engines have a wide array of criteria they use to determine if a website matches a user query and they know when a page is stuffing keywords rather than providing real content. Moreover, search engines give preference to sites that have a variety of content in addition to actual words. Videos, infographics, and other interactive content improves your website’s score and leads to better search engine results page placement (SERP). 

3. Content marketing is important because it helps businesses build trusting relationships with leads that eventually become customers. 

Take travel agents for example. The internet made it easy for travellers to plan their own vacations so what can travel agencies do to attract and sustain business when people think they can do it themselves? Enter content marketing. Running ads may have worked in the past but now it’s the travel agents who are blogging, podcasting, or vlogging who are building their reputation as an expert with a wider audience. Offering unique content that is useful and valuable (e.g. checklists, ebooks, or an online course) positions them as helpful and resourceful. 

In this example, the travel agency must prove that they offer something that people can’t—or aren’t willing to—do for themselves. So when that person who’s trying to DIY their dream vacation to Europe suddenly doesn’t have the time to do the research themselves, who do you think they’re turning to for help? The agency with an ad in the local hometown magazine or the one with the useful content that helped them get this far into the planning process? Content marketing helped this travel agent build a profitable relationship with a new consumer. 

How Much Content is Enough?

In our opinion, you can never have too much valuable and relevant content on your website. There is always room for more brand or testimonial videos, an in-depth blogging series, or a downloadable infographic to enrich your website visitors’ experience. More content always ups your chances of being found by people who are searching for the products or services you offer. 

That said, there really isn’t a magic formula to prove how much content is enough but a good place to start is by evaluating your website traffic. If you’re unsatisfied with the volume of traffic your website is receiving on specific terms, you probably could use more content. On the other hand, your content may not be written in a way that search engines recognize as relevant and you need to optimize your content. 

Another way to determine whether or not you have enough content on your website is to look at your sales funnel. What kind of leads are you nurturing and where are those leads in the buyer’s journey? If your sales funnel is clogged at the top, you may need more relevant and valuable content to help your customers move through the stages of the customer journey. The sales process is all about relationships and content marketing helps businesses build the relationships that lead people through the funnel and to the sale. 

How to Get Started With Content Marketing 

You may be eager to get started with content marketing but don’t rush into it without a plan. Content marketing is largely dependent on the other elements of a successful digital marketing strategy and that is a service we offer and are ready to help you with. But beyond strategy, you may be ready to start a blog or take the leap into incorporating more video content into your marketing strategy. It takes time to build out these processes and the technology that powers it all, so it’s a good idea to go ahead and schedule a call so we can start working together on your strategy, technology, and tactics. 

There’s so much that goes into marketing a business, just know that you don’t have to do it alone. Wherever you are in your content marketing strategy, we can help you ensure that it fits into an overarching digital marketing strategy. Let’s set up a call and discover how we can work together to grow your business!

Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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