11 Reasons Why You Need to Start Content Marketing Right Now

Hardly a day goes by where we don't read a piece of content online. In fact, the average adult in the UK spends over 20 hours a week online, much of which is spent reading articles and blog posts and using social media. Yet many small business owners and managers still ignore the power of content marketing. If you're one of them, here are 11 reasons you need to start doing content marketing right now.

1. It'll generate leads

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it will generate leads for your business. Content on your website, such as regular blog posts, will help you appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase traffic; if your content is good, some of this traffic will take the action you'd like them to, such as signing up for your newsletter or sending an enquiry form, turning into leads.

Plus, you'll be able to see where these leads came from using tools such as Google Analytics. This wasn't possible with traditional forms of marketing, where it would often be almost impossible to tell which ads were attracting leads and why, making planning, budgeting and strategising difficult.

Research by Google also found that in the B2B sphere, buyers are now already over half way through the decision making process by the time they contact you, having already done most of their research online. By investing in content marketing, you can help ensure they are aware of your business before it's too late.

2. It'll increase sales

Many of the leads you generate will convert into sales. With a clear content strategy in place, the content you produce will help you move potential customers through your sales funnel. You can use your content to attract web browsers and turn them into customers, making them aware of your brand, sparking their interest, helping with their decision making process and gently pushing them to take action.

3. Trust in advertising is falling

Trust in traditional forms of advertising has fallen dramatically, with a report by Nielsen finding that only 10% of OECD consumers trust messages from display advertising, whereas 90% trust brand recommendations from users online or friends. This means content marketing is essential for modern businesses to keep growing and stay relevant. You can use informative blog posts to help buyers in the research stage and encourage customers to leave reviews and testimonials on your site, social media and review sites.

4. You can become an authority

If you produce quality content in the form of blog posts, infographics, ebooks and the like, it will help you stand out from the competition and show that you are a market leader. By providing real value, potential customers and others in your industry will trust what you have to say, and by extension, the products or services you provide.

5. It helps with SEO

Content marketing is an invaluable tool for boosting your SEO. With every piece of content you publish, you increase your chances of being found by prospective buyers and increase the amount of content search engines index from your site. With more quality content, more people will visit your site and stay for longer, improving your site in the eyes of Google, and pushing you up the SERPs.

6. Consumers desire more information

By producing content, you meet consumers' desire for more information. As technology has improved, consumer behaviour has changed; nowadays, people consult 10.4 sources of information, on average, before making a purchasing decision. People look at more information than ever before prior to making a purchase - your content can be part of this information, helping users to make a decision and hopefully choose your product or service in the end.

7. You need it for social media success

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand, and neither will be quite as successful without the other. Your content feeds your social media presence; great content is what makes people engage with your brand on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. If you currently have profiles on the major social media sites and post on there from time to time, this won't be effective on its own. By doing content marketing and posting about it on your social media pages, you can increase followers/fans, engagement, brand recognition, leads and sales. Consistency and frequency are vital with social media, so make sure you follow a content calendar.

8. You can enjoy a strong ROI

High-quality content published online will last a long time, without needing any further investment - unlike most traditional forms of marketing. The best content will be shared and mentioned by many people and other brands over time, meaning you stand to gain lots of free exposure.

Research by ELOQUA has also shown that three times more leads are produced with content marketing than SEM, and it costs 30% less, so you can expect an excellent return on investment.

9. It builds your brand

People seem to always be talking about the importance of branding in the modern world. And although it may not be the be-all and end-all of marketing, it certainly plays a significant role, and content marketing can help with it. With regular top-quality content that plays to your strengths and displays your company's knowledge, you can increase brand recognition and build a brand that stays in people's minds. For this to work, you need to ensure the focus is on quality and you have a consistent tone of voice and graphics across all media and platforms.

10. Customers will love you

Great content marketing aims to inform, entertain, excite, help and inspire people, so if done correctly, it will make customers and potential customers love your company. Unlike some other forms of advertising, it won't be disruptive or consist of a sales pitch, it will simply be there for people to discover when they need it. At the heart of this is a concept called 'Youtility', which is all about aiming to be useful to people rather than trying to offer them the hard sell.

11. It will improve retention rates

Content marketing will help you in the long term. With your content appearing in front of customers regularly in the form of emails, blog posts and social media posts, they will be reminded of your brand continuously. This will help improve your retention rate - customers will come back to you again and again because they're reminded of your great product or service, and it's 60 - 70% easier to convert an existing customer than a prospective one.

It's clear then that you should be utilising content marketing within your business. This doesn't mean you have to forsake all other forms of marketing though - quite the contrary. A comprehensive content marketing strategy will work most effectively when teamed with all the other tools at your disposal, such as offline advertising (e.g. flyers, magazine ads and coupons) and word of mouth.



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