What do you think of when you hear the words “content marketing”? Stop and consider it for a minute. How much do you know about this concept?
If you are an entrepreneur who has just ventured into the world of startup business, these words should sound more than familiar.
If they don’t, then you need to read this article really carefully because we are about to explain to you why content marketing should be one of your top priorities.
Content Marketing Today
Consumers today practically live online, spending much of their time on websites and social media.
Every day, people both produce and consume countless numbers of blog entries, articles, Facebook posts, tweets, pins, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, and so on.
There is a common denominator that connects all those platforms – it´s called content. To put it simply, today´s consumers are content-oriented, which is an important fact when it comes to doing business.
Businesses today are increasingly aware that traditional marketing methods – such as aggressive advertising and sales pitches – are becoming less and less effective. Why?
Because consumers have learned to ignore annoying ads and boring banners, as well as those companies that are constantly bombarding them with self-promotional information.
Instead, they want to be informed, educated, and entertained. What they want and need is valuable content, and that is precisely what you should give them. In order to do so, you need to adopt and apply the effective and valuable strategy of content marketing.
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
Read this definition once again. Does it mention anything about selling?
No, because the main point of content marketing is to give your customers valuable content without trying to blatantly sell your products or services.
Now, let´s say you have started your own business and you need to make its existence known to a wider audience.
Of course, you are also hoping to acquire some customers and start selling your fabulous products.
Aside from the fact that conventional marketing methods won´t get you very far, here´s a list of reasons why content marketing is a perfect choice for your startup.
When you consistently produce and deliver quality content for your target audience, you´re also engaging your potential customers, building relationships, and creating trust.
There are numerous ways to do so – from informative blog posts, how-to guides, top lists, e-books and webinars, to infographics, memes, videos and podcasts.
The way you choose to go about it depends on the nature of your business and your targeted demographics, but the purpose is always the same – you are trying to educate and entertain your audience.
By giving your audience what they want and need, you are consistently gathering a loyal base of fans and followers. When people feel rewarded with the content you give them, they will reward you with loyalty in return.
Though this process might be slow at first, it eventually pays off. Multiple times.
You have started a business, and it goes without saying that you are an expert in your chosen field.
Whether you are selling shoes, offering pet care, or trying to make it in the world of online gaming, you´ve done your research and you know your business. Of course, you also want others to regard you as an expert in that particular line of business.
So, what can you do? Once again, content is the answer.
Let´s say you are indeed selling shoes. What you can do, for example, is write quality articles about the importance of orthopedic footwear, post them on your blog, and promote them via a series of Tweets.
If you are offering pet care, you can provide people with useful infographics about animal health, and promote them on you Facebook page.
If you are trying to make it in online gaming, consider posting informative videos about the benefits of gaming on YouTube.
The possibilities are quite endless, and you are surely guessing our point – whatever you do, if you show people your expertise through informative content, they will think of you as an expert and trust you more.
The more they trust, the more they buy – it is as simple as that.
Content marketing is also a powerful vehicle for boosting the awareness of your brand, and that is exactly what you are trying to achieve for your startup.
Once you have researched the online habits and preferences of your target audience, and gathered a solid number of social media followers, you can start creating great content that is related to what you do.
If it´s really good, not only will people consume it, they will also share it with others. What better way to increase the awareness of your startup´s existence?
Now, as mentioned earlier, content marketing is not about selling your products and services – it´s about pleasing people.
However, that doesn´t mean you cannot subtly tell the story of your brand through the content you provide.
If you resort to interesting and engaging storytelling, people will be aware of your brand, but they will not feel as if they´re being forced to buy something.
Even if you provide content that is not related to your brand, you will still be identified as a company that offers value, and people will more likely gravitate towards your website. A win-win situation.
Traffic Referral & Lead Conversion
When you started your business, chances are you also built a good and quality website where consumers can learn about your products or services, and eventually make purchases.
However, the not-so-fun part about all that is the fact that it´s sometimes really difficult to attract visitors. Don’t worry, though – as a low-cost yet effective method of getting organic visitors, content marketing is here to rescue you.
To increase the traffic on your website, you need to apply strategic thinking that involves not only creation but also distribution of your fantastic content.
Although it takes effort, the logic behind it is quite simple – you create content, promote it on social media, and people thus find their way to your site.
Once there, some of your visitors are likely to become your buyers, so content marketing eventually results in the much needed lead conversion.
Every successful entrepreneur knows that doing business is all about customers. However, many of them forget that getting a customer is only a part of the process – you need to learn how to make them loyal.
In fact, research consistently shows that it´s much cheaper to keep the existing customer that to attain a new one. So, in order for your startup to grow, one of the things you need to focus on is customer retention.
To engage your customers after the sale, provide them with some more useful content.
For example, you can send them a video instruction manual on how to use your product, or a link to the article in which you´ve listed unconventional ways for utilizing that product.
The point is not only to keep customers engaged and informed, but also to open up an opportunity for future sales. When you offer more content, you increase your chances of gathering more and more loyal customers.
Last but not least, quality content will give your website the desired SEO boost. Everyone wants their company to be found on Google and other search engines as simply as possible, there is no question about that.
The best thing you can do in that regard is to keep your website fresh – when you regularly publish quality content, you get recognized by search engines.
Moreover, as users tend to share interesting and engaging content, pursuing an effective and consistent content marketing strategy will get you an increasing number of inbound links.
The more links you get, the higher your website ranks on search engines. Who would not want that?
As you´ve probably realized by now, if you want your startup to succeed, you need to regard content marketing as an important part of your overall business strategy.
In fact, content marketing is no longer a matter of possibility – today, it´s become a matter of necessity.
Providing valuable content requires careful planning and execution. Not only do you need to create compelling content that people will want to consume, you also need to promote it through numerous channels, paying special attention to social media.
Although this process often requires a lot of time and effort, eventually you will reap multiple benefits – you will increase the value of your website, promote your brand, engage both potential and current customers, and position yourself as an expert in your field.
When all those factors are combined, the success of your startup is inevitably on its way.