Many marketers don’t understand why content is critical in digital marketing. They ask the question, “Why is content marketing important?”
Their next question is usually, “Can’t I just run ads to save all the time and hard work content marketing requires?”
Of course, you can run ads. Full-funnel content marketers often use digital ads to cover their market more entirely and generate revenue while their content gains traction and builds brand awareness. But if you neglect content marketing, you’re ignoring the majority of your market.
You fail to build critical marketing components like brand equity and recognition that increase ad effectiveness. Other opportunistic marketers who use content marketing will have better ad performance making it difficult to compete.
Content marketing has proven so effective that 90% of businesses use some form of it. Here's a look at what content marketing is, the benefits, some successful examples, and reasons why content marketing sometimes fails to deliver the desired results.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is all about building relationships to increase brand recognition and equity, translating into increased sales. Today’s consumers are more marketing savvy than in the past. They can smell a sales pitch coming and have the option of clicking away to content that’s more informative and more fun.
Ads targeting masses that shout to get attention are no longer effective. Customers now want to be informed and nurtured. They want to grow relationships with brands that care about them. Consumers also believe businesses are more effective at bringing social change than governments, so they search for brands whose social values align with theirs.
The value of content marketing is that it’s ideal for growing the brand image and voice that customers in your niche are looking for. Your content can take many different forms depending on your audience preference, including:
Video consumption is continually growing and recently surpassing blog posts in consumer popularity. The 5G revolution promising immersive experiences, 360-degree content, and virtual reality will only keep video growing in importance.
Google, the information resource most people turn to when they have a question about anything, focuses on ranking blog posts as its primary content type — making it crucial for appealing to those who turn to the search engine to answer their questions.
Social Media Posts
A variety of content works on social media platforms, including:
Email and Newsletters
People still love getting emails, and it remains the preferred communication type for businesses to deliver personalized information to their prospects and customers.
When people want to know how to do something, they search Google for a how-to guide. Publishing a guide enables you to be seen as an expert and steer consumers to your product.
You can establish authority while delivering in-depth information with an ebook.
Webinars are good for reaching a broad audience with an educational or business presentation. More personal and interactive than video, participants feel a real-time presence with a webinar. An SEO summary enables Google to rank your webinar.
Case Studies and White Papers
Used primarily in B2B marketing, these professional, informative documents work well to move prospects through your sales funnel to the conversion stage.
Press releases are affordable, informative, and provide broad coverage. They are an authoritative tool to get information in front of your target audience.
Google ranks sales pages created for SEO. You can get precisely targeted traffic hitting your money page without paying for ads.
You’ll enjoy the many benefits of content marketing by using the content types your target audience is most responsive to.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Successful content marketing creates meaningful conversations consumers can participate in to discover more about you. The engagement between your business and consumers is the most significant benefit and where the value of content marketing is.
Big brands also know that content establishing a consistent voice and brand image on every channel you use and at every customer touchpoint will grow consumer trust and brand equity. You’ll enjoy the instant recognition that increases productivity across all your marketing efforts.
To understand more about why content is vital in digital marketing, you only have to look at its many proven benefits. When you know the advantages, the value of content marketing becomes apparent.
Consumers start trusting you when your business demonstrates that you care enough about people to provide free, beneficial, and informative content. That trust grows over time and with each prospective customer contact.
Old-school marketing says that consumers need to see your message at least seven times before making a first-time purchase. Content on Google and social media pages keep your presence in front of prospects so that your brand becomes familiar enough for trust to grow.
Authority and Expertise Become Established
To display your expertise and build your authority, you’ll need to share your knowledge freely. Creating the best content establishes you as the go-to source in your industry. Trust grows, and consumers want to buy from you because they perceive your brand as the best.
The best formats for building authority and expertise are:
- Long-form blog posts
- White papers
After creating your content, you can drive traffic to it with:
- Press releases
- Social media
Brand Personality Shines
When stellar content renders your brand personality crystal clear, you only need minimal product advertising for launches. Consider Apple compared with Samsung and Xiaomi.
Everyone has a clear image of Apple. Most people know that Samsung is a big, foreign company that makes a lot of products. Xiaomi is often only known to phone aficionados and industry experts.
All three brands sell smartphones, but which phone would you (and most people) feel most comfortable buying without further investigation?
Organic Search Traffic Increases
Organic search traffic is free traffic that keeps coming. If you produce evergreen SEO content, all you need to do is update it occasionally to maintain your search engine ranking and keep traffic flowing.
SEO and content marketing are separate but closely intertwined. Quality content and a good link structure get you the highest search engine ranking positions. To produce the best content, you’ll need to include all your competitors’ information, plus your insights and original research.
The Importance of Links
BackLinko research reports that content exceeding 1,500 words dominates Google page one rankings, but a high word count isn’t enough. Google also looks at the topical authority, which means your content must have the best information.
Search engines consider backlinks to be votes regarding which content is best, but nearly all the content businesses post fails to have backlinks. This is an opportunity for you. Top search engine rankings and free traffic are available if you write the best SEO content and build a link structure.
Full-Funnel Marketing Becomes More Effective
- In the awareness stage: Publishing helpful content lets you cast a wide net to reach more prospects with blog articles, videos, and social media posts.
- In the mid-stage: Case studies, white papers, and personalized emails educate and move prospects to the conversion stage, where you make the sale.
- Across every stage: Killer content makes all your sales funnel stages work with maximum efficiency without losing hard-won prospects to competitors.
Conversion Rates Increase
Your sales pages and teams enjoy better conversion rates because high-value content answers consumer questions and sorts out leads willing to buy before they reach the conversion stage.
Customer Retention Improves
Keeping your customers so that you can continue marketing to them is crucial for maintaining your competitive advantage. Consider these statistics from SmallBizGenius:
- A majority (82%) of businesses say that retention is cheaper than acquisition.
- Over half (65%) of business comes from existing customers.
A well-documented onboarding experience, personalized emails, and informative blog posts work together to increase customer retention.
While knowing the many benefits of content marketing helps you understand its importance, seeing the current statistics and successful examples below will clarify why content is essential in digital marketing.
Who Uses Content Marketing?
Post-covid marketing is increasingly difficult. Cord-cutters are failing to return to brick-and-mortar business in pre-covid numbers as they continue their pursuit of online experiences. Broadcast audiences are shrinking, and digital ads are losing potency.
These facts have caused nearly everyone to jump on the content marketing bandwagon. Consider these impressive stats from Demand Metric.
Content Marketing’s Status
Current content marketing statistics reflect the wholesale acceptance and use of custom content for marketing. Everyone can see the importance of content marketing.
- A majority (80%) of organizations say custom content is central to marketing.
- A staggering 80% of people like learning about a brand through custom content.
- Over half of people (68%) read about companies that interest them.
- More than six in 10 (62%) businesses outsource content creation.
Why Content Marketing Is Important in Digital Marketing
These statistics drive home the value of content marketing.
- Most TV watchers (86%) tune out TV ads.
- Custom content leads to an average of 62% realized savings over traditional advertising.
- Nearly seven in 10 people prefer getting information about a business from reading articles than traditional ads.
- More than half (60%) of people search for a product after reading about it.
Content Marketing’s Greatest Power
Building mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and consumers is the principal benefit of content marketing. People want meaningful personal relationships that recognize them as individuals and provide choices in today’s impersonal world.
- Nine in 10 people think custom content is useful.
- A majority (82%) of people report more positivity about a business after reading custom content.
- An overwhelming 78% of consumers feel a relationship with a company after consuming content.
These impressive statistics drive home the answer to the question, “Why is content marketing important?”— content marketing is essential because it’s what consumers want and respond to best.
Successful Content Marketing Examples
Marketing’s bright spot is content marketing in alignment with Google SEO. Of chief marketing officers, 78% see custom content as the future of marketing. The companies below are excellent examples of businesses driving measurable results with content marketing.
Outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia has consistently been a leading example of content marketing featuring authentic, user-generated images and blog posts.
Throughout its content, Patagonia has maintained a consistent brand image as a company that cares about and protects our environment. This stance resonates particularly well with their market of outdoor enthusiasts.
Comprehensive, evergreen blog posts that need minimal annual updating form the core of MintLife’s successful content marketing effort.
Many of MintLife’s highly informative and helpful personal finance articles are high in search results, driving a profitable flow of organic traffic to its site.
Resource guides help Red Stag Fulfillment drive highly targeted, organic traffic to its site while establishing a brand image of helpful expertise.
Marketing its service set to small and medium-sized businesses becomes far more manageable with credibility established by its guides.
There’s no shortage of content marketing examples to inspire you. To see them, all you need to do is look at Google’s page one search results for any keyword.
Why Content Marketing Fails Sometimes
More businesses turn to content marketing each year because the benefits keep growing. However, there are several reasons why some businesses fail to attract more sales with content.
Lack of Commitment
A surprising number of businesses only pay lip service to content marketing. They produce a few short blog posts or videos without putting in the effort to create the exceptional quality consumers are now accustomed to. WIX research shows that content with 2,400 words is the sweet spot for SEO and engagement.
The ongoing production of stellar content that gets noticed, consumed, and shared requires a budget commensurate with the expected results.
It can be a bit of an investment, but the payoff in quality content is well worth it for the returns.
Lack of Professional Help
A common mistake new content marketers make is assigning responsibility for production to current employees who may not have the time or required expertise to create the best content. Hiring a full-time content strategist will go a long way toward increasing the returns from your efforts.
Outsourcing content production to professionals is another viable option. Over half of companies outsource content. Using an agency lets you have all the benefits of content marketing while reducing your headaches. You can:
- Enjoy professionally produced content that boosts your brand image.
- See increased sales and ROI.
- Save the expense of having more full-time employees.
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