This is an extract from the book Purposefully Repurposed for Profit by Hendrik Baird. Available as an eBook or on Amazon.

Do You Need Content Marketing?

If you are having some doubts about whether content marketing is the right approach, ask yourself two questions. The first is if you want to generate new customers. The second question is whether you want to have a relationship with people who are already your customers. A ‘yes’ answer to either (or both) of these questions will clearly indicate the need for a content marketing strategy.

Generating New Customers

If somebody has never heard of your business, they will have no reason to visit your website. They will not have any motivation to follow your social media accounts, listen to your podcast, or subscribe to your email newsletters. They will have no motivation to invest their attention and time into reading a 1,200-word blog article explaining exactly how wonderful and necessary your product is. They don’t know your product, not yet having bought it, nor do they even know that they may need it.

Content marketing will speak directly to a problem they have and provide them with solutions. It is a way to show them that you are an expert in your specific field. They may not (yet) care about your product, but they have a problem for which they need a solution. Whether it is to be tax compliant or how to keep pests out of a vegetable garden, once somebody has a problem, they will start looking for solutions. If your content speaks directly to how to become tax compliant or get rid of those pesky bugs eating your crop of kale, the chances of getting value out of the solutions you provide may just catch their attention. How exactly to do that, we will discuss later. 

Once they have interacted with your content, they might try to apply the solutions themself. If they succeed, then well done, as you have provided a solution. Now you have some measure of credibility in their mind, and they might just return to other content to help solve similar problems they may have, such as how to make a cash flow projection or when the ideal time is to plant certain crops. If you provide a link to products that might help them solve their problem without much hassle, the chances of them clicking through to your website to engage your accounting services or buy seeds from your nursery increases exponentially.

Building Relationships with Existing Customers

One of the best ways to market your product is through word-of-mouth. It takes one satisfied customer to talk about your product, and so they become a part of your sales team. And the best part? You won’t have to pay them for it. They will do it absolutely free of charge if they are thrilled with your product. 

In other words, they will become your brand ambassadors. This is free marketing for you, and it’s the best kind. Let’s imagine you have 1,000 satisfied customers. If each of them were to tell just one person about your product, you don’t have to pay social media to boost posts, you save money from not having to buy Google ads, and you don’t have to place adverts in the press or pay a marketer. 

By engaging with a satisfied customer through content, such as in a newsletter, they will do the hard lifting for you. They are happy with your product and remain happy by engaging with your content, which continues to solve their problems in an entertaining way. They will return again and again while spreading the word far and wide. Your job is to publish the kind of content they want to consume and build on the relationship you already have with them. 

Benefits of Content Marketing

If you are still unsure about the value of content marketing, then these benefits should be the final convincer.

  1. Google likes content. The Google bots are searching the web every second of every day, and all they are looking for is great content. The better the content, the higher your website’s ranking on the search results will be. Google is obsessed with providing search experiences that deliver exactly what a user is looking for. There is simply no better way than providing high-quality content to give that experience. Google tends to send more traffic to websites than to social media pages. Great content will dramatically boost traffic to a website filled with valuable information, and this is the most effective way to get organic traffic.
  2. Content marketing results in more sales. What is the point of more traffic to your website if it doesn’t result in more sales? Most people won’t buy the first time they hear about a business. They have to go through a buying process before they fork over their hard-earned cash. It all starts with the awareness stage when they realize they have a need to be fulfilled. Next, the consideration stage follows, during which time they consider the various options available to them. Finally, they make a decision during the last stage, choosing an option best suited to their needs. This process is helped through content marketing in that it brings a potential customer one step closer to making a purchase and, since they already have a relationship with your brand through your content, it leads them to choose you above your competitors.
  3. It puts sales on autopilot. You could go the old route of the salesman traveling from town to town, knocking on doors, trying to sell a vacuum cleaner (or whatever). The chances of getting a result are very small, and you’d have to knock on many doors in many towns and cities to fulfill your sales quota. Or, using the content marketing route, you can simply wait for when the customer is ready for your product—after they have engaged with your content a few times. This is no longer a cold sale, which is very difficult. Your customer has already warmed up to you and so is more easily converted. Instead of you pushing your (unknown) product to them, you pull them to you when they are ready. 
  4. You control the conversation. Let’s imagine somebody is in the market to buy new living room furniture. This is usually a pricey item, and very few people will just walk into a shop and buy the first product the salesman shows them. It usually takes a lot of research before a customer decides on the color, fabric, and style. Your content marketing will become part of their research, giving you time to educate them about the value of a high-quality, durable item before they make up their mind what to buy. Content marketing helps you to control the conversation, informing the customer of what they need before they even know it themself. 
  5. It’s much less annoying than traditional advertising methods. How would you feel if you were interrupted in the middle of the day by someone trying to sell you something you don’t really need? You’re browsing the web and an ad pops up, and all you want to do is close it as quickly as possible. I mentioned ad blockers earlier. Did you know that almost half of internet users have activated ad blockers? Marketing is much more effective when you build a relationship with a potential customer through your inspirational, educational, informative, and entertaining content. 
  6. Your brand awareness is amplified. Let’s return to our accountant who has written a really informative article on how to deal with the tax man. It ranks on page one of Google search results under “how to pay less tax.” Tens of thousands of people search that exact phrase every day. The accountant’s article is read by these people, and they get practical advice on how to claim for expenses they didn’t even know they could claim for. I’m sure you will agree that this accountant has an advantage over her competitors, and her brand will tend to stick in the minds of those who have read it 100% more than somebody whose ad was blocked and not even seen in the first place.
  7. It gives your brand credibility. Even if just a quarter of the tens of thousands of people who saw your article on page one of Google results click on your article, and even if only a quarter of those actually read it, that still leaves several thousand people who have benefitted from your in-depth advice. For them, you have become a credible source of information, and you are seen as a thought leader, someone that can be trusted. Many of them will convert into customers, and most will talk about it with their family, colleagues, and friends, bringing you added word-of-mouth value. 
  8. It compounds return on investment (ROI). The hour it took the accountant to write the article has already had a great return. Now she follows it up with a second article, in which she points out which investments bring the highest returns. Her brand is again seen by tens of thousands of people who searched for this type of information, dramatically increasing visits to her business’s website. From there, they click links to other pages on the website, and soon her investment of a few hours is rewarded by a lot of money being spent as new customers engage her services.
  9. It grows your social media following. Once a customer has found the content on your website, they might choose to follow you on social media so that they will be kept informed when you publish more useful information. If it is engaging enough, they will most likely share the social media post with someone they know. This has the potential of increasing your social media following over time. 
  10. It drives people to your website’s product pages. When you regularly publish quality content, more members of your audience are driven to visit your products pages, both directly and indirectly. By including links on your content pages, they can click on them and directly get to where you want them to go. When you write superior content, other websites will link back to that content, creating an indirect drive back to your content. As we saw earlier, search engines such as Google really like content. When other people have links on their websites to your content, these are called backlinks. Google sees backlinks as a vote of confidence in your content, a kind of testimonial that the article you wrote is a valuable resource. The more backlinks you have, the more likely it becomes that you will rank on page one of search results. This creates a much higher probability rate that someone will buy from you.
  11. Answer questions before they are asked. Customer service teams have to answer the same questions from customers almost every day. You can be one step ahead by creating content around the most frequently asked questions, which means customers can have their queries resolved long before they make the decision to buy. 

When looking at these benefits, it is easy to see why content marketing is the route to follow. It will be worth your while to develop a good content marketing strategy and start producing quality content for your brand. The great thing about content marketing is that it will work no matter what industry you are in.

Baird Media is launching a podcast called Meet My Business. Find out how to showcase your business and get content at the same time.