Why Content Marketing (Still) Matters

As a content specialist, I’m pretty invested in the importance of content marketing. But some people are a harder sell. Hey, I get it. Content is a long-game, you don’t see results right away and it can be difficult to quantify. When you’re comparing it against something that works right away and directly affects your bottom line, it’s easy to throw content to the wayside.

But content does one thing better than any other marketing tool, tactic or strategy. It builds relationships. It’s your brand’s “Hello, how are you?” to your entire audience. It’s an opportunity for potential customers to get to know who you are, what you stand for and how you relate to them. It’s your opportunity to build trust before someone ever even makes a purchase. 

So, yeah. Content marketing matters, probably now more than ever. And if you strap in for a scroll down the page with me, I’ll give you five reasons why.

What We’ll Cover:

The Market Is Changing
Long-Term Lead Generation
Support Your SEO
Establish Authority
Build Relationships
Chapter 01

The Market is Changing

The Baby Boomers were a big generation and thus have dominated the majority of market consumers for quite some time. But now that the tail end of this generation are reaching retirement age, a new generation is gaining a majority in the market.

Enter Millennials. That’s right, the social media-loving, cell-phone toting, tech savvy generation is pushing in as the leading age group of consumers in the U.S. This is part of the reason digital marketing has seen such a big push in recent years, and a big reason you should be investing in a content marketing strategy.

You see, that “social-media loving” moniker isn’t actually a joke. It’s true. And Millennials use it not only to connect with friends and family, but also to research your brand. People are using social media as a primary information source when they want to learn more about a business, even before they find your website or read your blog posts. 

The graph below from Pew Research Center shows the percentage of people who use social media by age group. 

Pew Research Graph

This is just a glimpse into people’s online activity, but it’s an example of the informed world we live in. Just like blind dates are pretty much a thing of the past, people aren’t choosing brands without learning about them first anymore. That’s where your content comes in. 

Content marketing provides materials to explain your industry, product and services to potential customers. Although I focused on social media in the above example, keep in mind that content can mean a lot of things. Social, blogs, video, email, newsletters, white papers etc. All of these provide unique opportunities to position yourself as an authority in a niche space. This can bolster brand awareness and encourage leads to dive further into your content, eventually guiding them all the way through your sales funnel.

And that “leads” me to my next point: how content helps you continuously generate leads.

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Chapter 02

Long-Term Lead Generation

With more traditional marketing strategies, you’re working within finite boundaries. The campaign starts on Day One, runs for a few weeks and ends. You can pull all your data, count your chips and see if you came in over or under. It’s clean, concise and confined. 

Content marketing isn’t like that. Like I mentioned at the start, it’s a long game. And that’s a good thing! Once you publish a piece of content, it’s there to stay. It’s always around for people to find and engage with. Some pieces of content, like blogs, even get better with age. The longer it’s on your site, the more traction it builds in search engine results and thus the more people you can reach.

This is especially helpful if you’ve included some bonus materials in your posts like forms. Forms allow people to download content in exchange for their basic information, and can also enroll them in an email marketing campaign. Links to product pages will keep sending visitors to your website. Sign-up forms for recorded webinars will keep building your contact base. And the beauty is, these can keep working in the background while you focus on the here and now.

There is one caveat, and it’s the downfall of many well-meaning marketers. You can’t forget about your published content. It’s not like sending a message in a bottle and hoping it floats in the right direction. Sometimes what you think is really great content just doesn’t perform how you’d hoped. It’s important to monitor your content’s metrics and have a content marketing plan that includes regular audits to ensure pieces and posts are still relevant and tracking with your target audience.

Chapter 03

Support Your SEO

Good content shouldn’t be all about its SEO power, but it does help if it’s ranking well on its platform. Content marketing is still one of the best ways to generate broad brand awareness and drive organic traffic, mostly through the use of keywords. 

Keywords made a name for themselves in search engine optimization by boosting blogs’ ranking power, but that’s not their only talent. Effective keywords can help you reach your target audience on social platforms and YouTube too. That’s why influencers always have so many hashtags on their posts; they’re trying to cast a wide net and capture users based on interests. Your brand can do the same thing. 

Although keywords are helpful user magnets, your content still has to do the heavy lifting. That’s why it’s important to produce high-quality, relevant content that offers real value to your audience. Stick to topics they’re interested in and questions they’re asking. The more directly you can match their needs, the more likely the platform is to favor your content.

This moves us right along into the next content capability: establishing your authority online.

Chapter 04

Establish Authority

How you establish authority varies based on the type of content you’re creating, but it all comes back around to the same benefit. If you’re an authority in your space, people trust you. Plain and simple. 

Take Patagonia’s Instagram, for example. All of the pictures of people climbing mountains, swimming in oceans and exploring the world. That’s the essence of their brand: exploration. And if I had never heard of them before, I would definitely trust that their clothes were built to last through any activity I ventured to try. 

For blogs, it’s a bit more complex because you want to impress two groups: readers and search engines. I know it sounds like it would be difficult to cater to humans and computers simultaneously, but because Google values the user’s experience so much, it’s actually pretty easy.

When you focus your content creation process on answering searchers’ questions, provide supplemental information and have other people pointing users in your direction (a.k.a. backlinks), that all adds up to authority. It shows you know what you’re talking about, other people trust you and you have the resources to help a person through their entire information search process.

In short, your content is the perfect place to strut your stuff. You can choose a few topic clusters you want to be known for and focus your energy on creating quality content in those areas. This shows potential customers what you specialize in and how you can help them solve their problems.

Chapter 05

Build Relationships

And finally, the pièce de résistance. The foundational reason content is (and always will be) an important component of a brand’s total marketing efforts:  Relationships.

All that leg work creating content to find and connect with people who are interested in your brand doesn’t go to waste. Granted, it might not foster immediate conversions, but it still does something valuable. It builds trust. 

The more users interact with your social posts, blog content, video stream or sign up for your newsletters and download white papers, the more they’re getting to know you. All the more if you make content relatable so people can easily understand your offering and identify with your mission. 

How you connect with your audience is subjective to where they’re meeting you and what format they’re viewing. People will resonate differently with an infographic than a video, after all. Here are a few ways to relate to leads on various platforms:

  • Social media: Here you have the power to make direct connections with your audience. Use this to see what they like, what they care about and how you can match those preferences.
  • Blogs: These give you plenty of opportunities to educate potential customers. You can provide as much information on a topic as they need to feel comfortable taking the next steps with your brand.
  • Videos: These are great for forging personal connections. Viewers feel like you’re in the room, speaking directly to them, which is a powerful tactic for moving them along in your sales funnel.

The more people interact with your content, the more they feel like they know your brand. As that relationship grows, it will slowly wear away any hesitancy to purchase from or partner with you because they can see you care more about helping them than just making a sale.


Keep Creating Content

Content is your direct line to customers and clients, so don’t waste it! Craft pieces of content that provide value to users and you’ll start to see them popping over to your website from other platforms. The more they engage with your brand, the more trust you’ll build with them and the more likely they are to take the leap and become a customer.

To learn more about the value of content marketing and how to defend it to your boss, check out our blog about Why Content Marketing Works.

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