You may have heard about the countless benefits of content marketing. 82% of companies have some form of content marketing strategy. It plays a role in search engine optimization (SEO), social media engagement, lead generation, and email marketing. These companies create and distribute a variety of high-quality content across their channels — including:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
This incredibly broad field rewards marketers with an equally broad range of returns. Moreover, those benefits overlap and contribute to one another, making an itemized list more difficult.
But it doesn't have to be that complicated. Here are the major areas in which content marketing can help your brand and the top seven benefits of content strategy, creation, and distribution.
This article covers both content marketing advantages and disadvantages. It isn’t the solution to every problem, but it does solve a lot of them.
Top 7 Content Marketing Benefits
1. Brand Awareness
You can’t sell your product or services unless people know about them and your brand. A sound content strategy increases brand awareness, spreading the word to inform or remind potential customers about your business.
Visibility in SERPs
It’s impossible to talk about content marketing without also discussing SEO. SEO benefits are one of the biggest reasons why content marketing brings value. The two are so intertwined that people sometimes confuse them. These are distinct types of marketing, but they do work best when combined.
What Is SEO and How Does It Work?
SEO is the science of appealing to Google’s (or another engine's) search algorithm to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves a slew of technical details about your website’s architecture as well as tactics to optimize your site’s content.
Keywords are the terms and phrases for which people search. You want to appear in the list of results for the keywords that relate to your business.
By producing valuable content for your webpage, you can incorporate more keywords more often and more organically. Blogs, interviews, and case studies provide opportunities to weave your terms into the site.
Google also rewards rich, sophisticated content such as videos. With this type of content, you can work keywords into descriptions and metadata.
Greater Internet Presence
The internet is comprised of more than just Google and search results. Off-page pieces of content contribute to brand awareness, too.
All of the following increase your digital footprint, giving people more opportunities to encounter your business:
- Social media posts
- Guest blogs
- LinkedIn posts and articles
- YouTube videos
- Other relevant content published on a third-party site
This material gets your name out. As people become familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to investigate your offerings.
This off-page piece of content contributes to SEO, too. Google considers backlinks. Linking to your webpage gives interested people the opportunity to check you out — and even if they don’t, you still benefit from an increased presence.
2. Web Traffic
The goal of content is naturally to attract your target audience to your site and turn them into paying customers. You want people to engage with your brand.
Smart content doesn’t just relate to a searcher’s interests and questions. It answers their needs. To maximize the value of content marketing, the best marketers create content with at least one of these goals in mind:
Be intentional about your material. There’s a place for content directly about your business, but something like a company blog is a great vehicle for educational content about your industry.
Bring people to your site by breaking down tricky concepts, reporting industry news, and sharing tips. How-to guides and product roundups are also popular. And unlike paid advertisements, these will continue to work on your behalf long after their first publication.
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Reduced Bounce Rate
A strong content library also benefits you by keeping people on your site. They’re more likely to stick around to read, watch, or listen to the piece that initially drew them in. You can also use internal links to direct visitors around your website, deepening their interaction with your brand.
Like many of these marketing benefits, longer visits have a secondary effect, too. When people view more than one page of your website, it lowers your bounce rate — the percentage of people who “bounce” away after seeing only one page. Google’s algorithm considers bounce rate as an indication of content quality.
3. Enhanced Reputation
Some of the benefits of content marketing concern prestige as well as presence. When you show off your personality or expertise, you establish yourself as a resource for visitors and an authority in your industry.
Growing your content library with high-quality material increases the authority of your domain, which helps with SEO. Eventually, Google will start to recognize you as an authority on your preferred keywords.
More immediately, you leave visitors to your website with a strong, positive impression of your brand. No matter how much material they choose to view, the breadth and depth of your expertise on your chosen subject will affect them.
4. More Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the top factors in Google’s algorithm. The search engine treats them as endorsements of the content’s quality. You’ll also pick up some referred traffic from the sites that link to you.
But link-building isn’t easy, especially for newer sites.
Think about it this way: The highest quality backlinks come from serving as the expert to the experts — the source that other writers will cite as an authority.
To make it a little easier, try creating some of the following types of content (all are prime backlink bait):
- Expert roundups. Look for experts with pages that compile their appearances, people who list, and link to articles to which they’ve contributed.
- Expert interviews. Connect with an expert that's likely to link to your blog. Even if they don’t link you, you can still provide a resource for other writers by asking them new, high-value questions and posting them to your site.
- Long-form guides. Both Google and other writers reward long-form material. Length allows you to provide a thorough overview that includes points that others neglect.
- High-quality infographics. Make them shareable and reusable. The bar is high, so don’t waste your time with simple lists or similarly low-hanging fruit.
- Whitepapers and original research. Contribute new data and research to the vast internet library and watch secondary sources rush to cite you.
Backlinks result from and create a strong reputation with people and search engines.
5. Brand Community
A brand community is even better than awareness — it’s the crowd that forms around your brand as you attract fans, followers, and loyal customers.
Develop customer relationships through content that establishes you as a personally trusted resource. Everyone is more likely to listen to people that have helped them before.
In addition to fully public content, create material that requires something from consumers — whether it's their email address or their participation in an event or a survey.
Use something like an email newsletter to foster the idea of an inner circle. There are particular benefits of content marketing to an audience truly invested in what you have to sell and to say. These people are more likely to be or become top customers.
Social media has become one of the primary places where people expect to connect with brands they admire. They also expect businesses to respond to comments, questions, and complaints posted on social media.
Social media engagement includes several different brand interactions:
- Favorites and follows
- Comments and replies
- Direct messages
- Shares and retweets
These measures indicate the number of people who have taken the crucial step from passive viewers to engaged audiences.
To achieve the full benefits of content strategy for social media, invite people to interact with your posts. Mention people, start meaningful conversations and maintain high standards of accuracy and relevance.
Social shares and referrals can also help SEO, amplifying their positive effect.
6. Increased Sales
Unless your career is, itself, content creation, the ultimate goal of content marketing is the generation and conversion of leads. You want people to do more than visit your website or follow your Instagram account — you want them to become customers.
Complete Customer Journeys
Use content to shape the customer journey and help people make it through the sales funnel: Awareness → Consideration → Intention → Conversion.
- Awareness. Get on the radar of your target clientele. Make SEO a priority as you integrate your chosen keywords and grow your internet presence.
- Consideration. Create high-quality, problem-solving content to increase the likelihood that they’ll visit your website and associate you with the solution.
- Intention. Move on to product or service-focused content that makes them want to purchase. Video demos and customer testimonials can inspire fence-sitters to commit.
- Conversion. Don’t create new content here. Just move the customer from intention to purchase as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Think about which stages of the journey will lead customers to which channels, and create content accordingly.
7. Improved Customer Retention
Stay in consumers' lives as a resource after you’ve made the sale. If you continually publish new material, consumers have a reason to return. It’s better to commit to one or two channels than to spread yourself too thin.
Make Onboarding Easy
Send new customers welcome or orientation emails full of useful tips that will help them get the most out of their purchase.
Develop Exclusive Content Libraries
Provide a free-with-purchase ebook or a subscribers-only newsletter. You can take this strategy further and build an entire library of tutorials customers can access when they register a product or subscribe to a service.
Personalize and Engage
Use A.I. to personalize emails with customer names and stay engaged and responsive on all platforms.
Disadvantages of Content Marketing
While the value of content marketing is considerable, there are a few disadvantages associated with this form of digital marketing. There are certain problems that other strategies may address better, and a diverse approach is always best.
Content Marketing Takes Time
It takes time to create quality material, and it takes time for content strategies to yield results.
When you invest in content marketing and SEO, you’re investing in the long game. There’s no single time frame. Yours will depend on your industry, business model, strategies, and metrics for success. But it often takes six to nine months to start seeing results.
If you need immediate results, you’re better off focusing on paid search or social media advertisements.
It’s Difficult to Calculate ROI
Many of the benefits of content marketing are indirect and/or hard to quantify. This makes calculating the return on your investment difficult.
To justify the cost to stakeholders, be specific about the audience you intend to engage, your goal for the quarter, and the metrics you’ll use to measure your progress. You may not be able to compute “brand awareness,” but you can track social mentions or blog visits.
It Can Require Specialized Skills and Equipment
Technically, anyone can produce content. But SEO-driven content strategy takes a specific kind of expertise. Likewise, good content writing and strong graphic design can make the difference between high-performing and ineffective material.
You don’t technically need to invest in any high-quality equipment — as long as you have an internet connection and a phone or computer, you’re good to go. However, software that allows you to design or edit material can give you an edge over the competition.
Videos and photos look better when created with the right tools. And the price tag increases if you want specially designed applications for project management, social scheduling, or campaign monitoring.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing may not be the answer to every question or an all-encompassing solution for your marketing needs. But it can accomplish a lot for your business and help you connect with new customers, strengthen existing relationships, and encourage sales.
The secret lies in patience and intention. Set smart objectives, and be prepared to wait for their completion. After all, unlike traditional marketing, content continues to serve your needs long into the future.