This ‘benefits of content marketing’ article and infographic was first published in April 2017 and was refreshed in February 2018 with more information and context.
Whether you run a local corner shop or you’re head of a multinational firm, there’s no denying that content marketing can play a major role in your digital marketing strategy.
Today, brands are spending more time than ever creating content, with more than two million blog posts published every day.
On top of that, UK businesses are expected to spend a whopping £350 million on content marketing every year by 2020, so the sooner you get on board the better.
Content marketing has a wide range of benefits and is one of the best methods of promoting an established or emerging business online. Not only is it cheaper to produce than any other form of marketing, but it offers long-lasting results depending on the quality of your material.
For example, if you write a piece of evergreen content (that is, a piece of content that won’t quickly go out of date or need to be updated), you can expect it drive traffic to your website for years to come. In fact, it’s widely known that older content ranks higher than newer content on search engines because it’s had longer to collect links and provide value to readers. Therefore, starting a strategy today makes sense.
That’s why marketers are spending more money than ever on producing quality content – the sort of content that requires hours of research, editing, drafting and changing to get right. If your business creates and publishes content that goes above and beyond everything else online (i.e. provides more value, information, studies and food for thought), then content marketing could prove a highly lucrative form of promotion.
Another benefit of content marketing is that it can drive higher conversion rates and increased brand recall, both of which are essential if you want to make money online and help your brand stand out from the competition.
But to truly stand out, consistency is key. There is no point in writing incredible content for a year, and then disappearing off of the face of the earth and letting your blog go to the dogs.
If you want to find out how content can transform the fortunes of your business, then fear not. We’ve put together an infographic highlighting the biggest benefits of content marketing for small businesses. See the infographic below, and read on for more content marketing benefits.
Boosts your rankings on search engines
Perhaps the single biggest benefit to content marketing is its ability to help you rank on search engines for competitive terms.
Unlike other forms of marketing, like door-to-door leafleting or pay-per-click advertising, content marketing can drive free, organic traffic to your website. Every person who clicks through from Google to your website is a potential reader or customer, so the higher you rank for competitive terms that are related to your products and services, the better.
If you spend all of your time and focus creating impactful content and rank on the first page for every competitive term in your niche, then you’ll drive new leads to your website every day and you won’t have to invest in expensive marketing techniques that don’t always deliver results.
But to get to that point, you first need to create content that people really want to read.
It’s important that you take the time to create high-quality content that offers genuine value to your readers.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a 500-word article; you could create videos, GIFs, infographics, tutorials, ‘day in the life’-style posts or even case studies of customers who have enjoyed your products.
To create content that engages with your audience, try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. What questions would they ask before they buy your products and services, and what information and expertise can you offer that might be interesting or useful?
If you’re struggling with what to post, we’ve put together some content marketing ideas.
Unfortunately, producing high-quality content alone isn’t enough to help you stand out from the crowd and get to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for every post you write.
Of course, some of your content may naturally rank high without effort, especially if your niche has low competition or you’ve built up a strong digital presence and have high domain authority.
For most small businesses, though, there’s a set process that you’ll need to follow after writing your content in order to reach the top of the SERPs. First, you should download and install the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, which is free. This tool allows you to add keywords and meta descriptions to your content and provides information on keyword density, readability and other SEO factors that you’ll need to get right.
The second thing that you should do after writing your content is reach out to other bloggers – people who manage blogs that are related to your niche – to ask for a backlink. This is known as blogger outreach, and it’s common in the SEO world. Simply put, the more times your content is referenced and linked to from other websites (particularly websites with high authority), the more value it will appear to offer.
This can be a drawn-out and time-consuming process, though. If you’re reluctant to take part in blogger outreach or you don’t have the time, then another way to get links to your new blog posts is to guest blog. There are a number of benefits to guest blogging as a small business owner, like forging relationships with businesses and influencers and spreading the word about your products and services to new audiences.
Experiment with both outreaching and guest blogging and see which works for you – both can be part of a successful content marketing strategy, but require hard work, determination and time.
Positions your business as an authority figure
All businesses want to appear authoritative and credible, especially in today’s faceless online marketplace, and content marketing can be a great way to do just that. If you write really great content that people trust and want to engage with, you’ll be building your brand and standing out from businesses that are yet to start working on a content marketing strategy that converts.
If authority and credibility are high on your list, then start by launching a blog on your website. Tutorials and content that provides information and advice can work best, as you’ll be “giving away” your knowledge to people who require help and assistance. People are more likely to trust your brand if you give them something first – and show them that you know your stuff.
Once you’ve got a bank of quality content that’s driving organic traffic from search engines, then you should consider guest blogging on other websites. Although this may detract from your own content marketing strategy, spreading your knowledge elsewhere can be a great way of building your brand online and increasing your authority and credibility as an individual or business.
For example, if you work in the woodwork business and write an article for a major news outlet or blog about how machines and robots are threatening your jobs, then you’ll put your name and brand in front of a new audience and gain respect and credibility for doing so.
In fact, if you blog regularly on other authoritative websites, you could mention those blogs on your own website to show potential customers that you’re serious about what you do.
Every time you blog on another website, you’ll get a link back to your website, and readers of that blog may be tempted to click through and visit your site if they resonate with your content.
And there’s another SEO benefit of blogging for authority. When you’re an authoritative source in your own niche, other bloggers and businesses will be more likely to link back to your articles and research because they’ll know you’re a trusted and credible source.
Each of those links will help you climb even higher on search engines, all without manual outreach or guest blogging.
Before we move on to the next benefit of content marketing, let us give you a word of warning.
Just because you know your stuff and blog regularly on your subject, that doesn’t automatically make you an expert.
Remember to be humble, accept that others may have differing opinions to yours, and don’t let your ego get in the way of your blogging career.
Whether you’ve been in your niche for five years or fifty, there’s always something new to learn, and spending the time researching and including other ideas and studies can give your content increased authority.
Encourages people to return to your website
Posting fresh, original content on a regular basis is the best way to get people to come back to your website time and time again, whether they’ve only visited once before or they visit regularly.
In the digital sphere, your website is your shop front and represents your business and brand, so the more time potential (and existing) customers are exposed to it, the more likely you are to encourage them to buy one of your products or enquire about one of your services.
The frequency of your content marketing will most likely depend on your time and determination, but aiming for one blog post a week should keep your blog fresh enough. Having said that, though, you should try not to focus on the quantity of material you publish, and instead take your time and make sure every article is engaging, informative and will provide value.
Simply churning out new content for the sake of it goes against everything content marketing is about.
If you want your readers to come back to your website regularly, then a great way to do so is to sign them up to your mailing list.
We’ve put together an introduction to email marketing for small businesses, but the idea is simple.
If you add a call to action at the bottom of your blog post and add a sign-up box for people to enter their email addresses, you can send them a message when a new post goes live.
You can even segment your audience into groups and send out a promotion or update to those that are most interested in your products and services.
Another way to alert readers to content is to have an active presence on social media. Tools like WordPress JetPack automatically post new content to social networks as soon as new content goes live, but if you prefer, then social media scheduling tools could be just as effective.
You can make your content sticky (that is, content that engages your audience on a deeper level and encourages them to stay longer on your website) by adding interactive elements like polls and videos, and maintaining a comments section can start lively conversations and debates.
Gives you content to share on social media
Another key benefit of content marketing is that it gives you more material to share on social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
All too often, small businesses post content to other websites and potential competitors, simply to keep their social networking channels updated with fresh material.
Although there are benefits to promoting other people’s content – like relationship building and customer retention – posting your own material is better.
If you’ve got tonnes of content on your website, you’ll be able to keep your social schedules topped up with content that your audience will want to read. And every social media post gives you the chance of a retweet, like or share, further increasing the reach of your blog posts.
If you want to take your content marketing and social media to the next level, then you could consider repurposing and reusing your content for social media in different ways.
If you created a blog post about a new product line that went down particularly well, you could pull some quotes from a blog and turn it into an attractive graphic for social media, or even take a Q&A article and create a video for YouTube and social media. The possibilities are endless.
Save time working on your content marketing strategy with our simple steps. pic.twitter.com/kN1H1DYFdT
— Muffin Marketing (@MuffinMarketing) January 11, 2018
Now that you understand content marketing, what’s next?
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of content marketing for your small business, it’s time to implement a strategy that works for you.
We recommend starting with our ultimate digital marketing cheat sheet, which is jam-packed with information on promoting a small business. Our guide offers useful tips on how to design and implement a content marketing strategy that will generate leads and bring customers back to your website time and time again. Oh, and if you scroll to the bottom of this article, you’ll be able to pick it up in eBook form for free.
If you’re already using content as part of your digital marketing campaign, then we’ve got something for you, too.
We’ve created a guide to increasing engagement levels on your blog, and we’ve also rounded up five of the best websites that offer free digital resources – things such as blog graphics makers, royalty free images and unique fonts that can be used as visual content.
We’ve also created a guide to increasing customer loyalty through digital marketing techniques such as content marketing if you want to ensure your customers stick around.
We’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re just about to launch a new blog or you’ve been creating content for a while, be sure to leave a comment below with what works best for your business.
Perhaps you prefer writing short-form content on a regular basis, or maybe you’ve found that long-form, super informative articles that touch every base rank best on search engines?