With the volume of traditional offline marketing decreasing rapidly, more and more businesses know that they need to implement a content marketing strategy yet many shy away from changing lanes to digital as they are unsure of how to plan, implement and measure the results of this type of marketing.
Recent statistics show that Content costs 62% less than traditional marketing, and generates three times as many leads which highlights the importance of exploring content marketing as a strategy for 2015; either through a revision of internal marketing strategy or by obtaining a content outsource solution.
Content Marketing Adds Value
In tangible terms value for business means profit yet content marketing can add value in a number of ways. Some ways have tangibility and are determined and measured by hard statistics whereas others, whilst just as important, are based on building relationships with both potential and existing clients and focussing on the LTV (Life Time Value) of a customer against budget spend.
Whatever the result, they all serve to highlight your business service and branding ethos so we have put together nine highlights of how content marketing will add value to your business.
1. Brand Definition
Whereas with traditional marketing the shelf life can be as short as when a TV ad ends or a magazine is thrown in the bin; content remains on the web forever regardless of the platform it is published on. This means that a business has a wide scope in dictating the brand image it wishes to transmit. Creating content that determines a brand’s, visual look and conversational tone can be implemented in real time and the choice is huge!
Planning is vital to online brand definition and a major part of this is defining clear goals as to what you would like to achieve online. Some goals are based on the aim to:
- Develop loyalty between a brand and its customer
- Protect the reputation and integrity of a brand
- Convert the online consumer from non-customer to brand advocate by providing an enhanced customer experience
- Manage a potential crisis situation effectively
- The positive customer experience leads to recommendation which importantly leads to a natural increase in ROI
2. Website Traffic
The process plan that determines how to drive traffic to your website is most definitely a part of your content marketing and social media strategy. The resulting traffic will only add value to your business if the hits to the website convert to a tangible lead.
This means that if you have put a lot of time and effort into sharing your content online and creating links back to the website then the website has to be strong enough from an engagement perspective to keep them there.
With this in mind make sure that your website has:
- A clear service offering
- Useful content on all pages
- Attractive features and benefits displayed
- Clear CTA ‘s (Call to Actions)
- Google Analytics to garner traffic data and behaviours
These are basic tips that every business should have as a matter of course. To experiment with more advanced conversion testing, take a look at Ian Cleary of Razor Social’s guide to the tools available for this.
3. Search Rankings
The main focus of any content marketing strategy is to create compelling content that will attract your target audience online.
Quality content should attract quality clients and it does. Quality content can also be used in such a way as to increase visibility in search rankings online. This should NOT be the main focus of creation but can integrate well into the content you produce.
So the value is two-fold … you get to write creative content that appeals to your target audience and that same content can have a impact on where your business shows up on search sites. Take a look at CMI’s article on the basics of SEO for content marketing.
4. Connection to your Client
This is an aspect of online that totally supersedes the more traditional marketing promotion; the ability to communicate directly with both potential and existing clients in real time.
The opportunities now available for Companies to track and respond to online conversation and mentions around their brand has denoted a shift in the control of brand sentiment in favour of the Consumer. This shift can only be managed if a Company pro-actively seeks out and manages opinion through the broad spectrum of the digital sphere.
Content Marketing is the spark that ignites a dialogue between the client and the business and the type of content that is published can determine the tone of the conversation. Whilst all conversation may not be positive, the direct communication can add value to a business especially with regards to crisis management.
Whether implementing damage limitation in a crisis or connecting directly as a result of published content, the message you convey in both your content and conversational dialogue should be consistent in both substance and tone.
The ability to respond to brand conversation and use online content to reply either through a message, blog, video or podcast is of great benefit in quickly being able to turn a negative into a positive opportunity.
5. Advocates and Influencers
Having the backing of brand advocates and industry influencers is valuable in so many ways.
Brand advocates are the people who like your brand, your products and your services and they are not afraid to shout about it online!
Industry influencers can make or break a brand as they have such an influence or following that they can ignite a positive trend or dismiss a product or services causing a negative outpouring online. If an influencer warms to your brand and finds enough quality in your content to share it, then you have automatically extended your reach and the interest in your offering; all for the cost of a content marketing strategy.
Creating a community with content marketing has many benefits:
- The online conversation created through comments based on the content can minimise the resource required with more traditional conversational methods such as call centre volumes.
- This can be further minimised as the number of advocates and influencers increase as it is very likely that they will respond on your behalf.
- If the conversation is generated within the content on the website, it means an increase in web traffic and a greater chance of people visiting other pages and utilising the call to action requests.
6. Content that Educates
Creating content that educates can add value to the brand in so many ways.
Providing insight through content increases standing as an industry brand leader and also contributes to brand trust as providing insight that works will drive the online audience to other content.
Posts that impart knowledge will be shared. This increases reach and also engagement and drives traffic to your website.
In the digital age a comprehensive company website will house a wealth of self service information for a consumer to access.
This can be in the form of:
- A FAQ section
- A Blog
- A series of DIY Videos
- A consumer driven Community Forum
All these resources can minimise the resource of expertise needed to provide responses online. An agent will be able to respond with a link directing the Consumer to the correct resource.
7. Internal Organisation
Creating content for your business can also have an impact internally.
Employees who create the content will have an extensive knowledge of your brand, its mission and its values and will be able to communicate this clearly.
Employees who engage online will, in most cases, become natural brand advocates and even invest in promoting the brand outside of working hours.
Creating and marketing content based on your brand will force a business to focus on what its company wants to communicate to the public. Decisions will need to be made on all aspects of brand image and substance and it can only be a positive when content marketing drives that focus!
We have already mentioned the cost benefits of content marketing against the more traditional routes, however it is important to note the mentions we have made on the efficiencies created internally through the management of resources and brand advocates. Managing cost effectively will only increase profits and that’s the aim of the game!
9. ROI Generation
The ultimate goal of the majority of content marketing strategies is to create a tangible ROI for business. We use content to create leads which we can then convert to sales.
This cycle depends on many facets, some already mentioned, which include:
- the production of quality content that will attract the right audience
- the follow on direct dialogue with potential customers
- the ability to create opportunity round negative conversation arising from content
- getting advocates and influencers to promote the substance of your content
- driving traffic to your website where you have a clear message and call to action methods
- promoting the use of self-service content to support customer care channels and reduce cost.
The management of these processes and the creativity in content will all contribute to the ROI. The long term benefits for ROI are there too:
- Content can be evergreen: meaning a piece of content does not die and if the content topic and substance is right, that one piece of published content can serve to attract leads over a long period of time.
- Consistent content of a high quality substance can also aid client retention, minimising acquisition costs and greatly adding to the LTV (Life Time Value) of a customer.
What value have you gained from creating quality content?