Content marketing has long been praised as the Holy Grail of marketing tactics.
Giants like Microsoft, Slack, and Amazon rely on this channel to turn their businesses into the powerhouses they are, purely because it is one of the best ways to promote your business—and turn the people reading your content into lifelong customers.
Is it always the best option for businesses, even when they’re struggling with a lack of resources, both in terms of time and finance?
The short answer: Yes.
Content marketing is a superb strategy that every business should be using, regardless of their size, number of employees, or overall marketing budget.
In fact, we think it’s the foundation that should underpin every marketing strategy you’re using, from email to SEO.
In this guide, we’ll share the 19 biggest benefits of content marketing, including:
- Giving people a reason to visit your website
- The ability to bypass ad blockers
- Building credibility in your industry
- Filling the gaps in your sales funnel
- Repurposing gives you content to post on other channels
- Starting to rank in Google
- Meeting the most important search engine ranking factors
- Building strong backlinks to your site
- Conquering voice search
- Building the like/know/trust factor
- Controlling the conversation around your brand
- Generating more referrals
- Producing conversion-worthy case studies
- Providing sales teams with a way to personalize their approach
- Creating material for retargeting campaigns
- Offering better service (and boosting retention)
- Increasing the CLV of your clients
- It’s one of the most cost-effective strategies
- Content underpins most other marketing tactics
Click the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue scrolling to learn how content marketing could be your business’ secret weapon.
What is content marketing?
Before we dive into the benefits that content marketing can bring to your business, let’s quickly iron-out exactly what this strategy entails.
Here’s a quick definition: Content marketing is a strategy that uses online material to reach, nurture, and convert online customers.
It can be classed as any type of written, visual, or audio material, such as:
- Blog posts
- Whitepapers or eBooks
- Social media posts (tweets, Facebook statuses, Pins, etc.)
- Photos or videos
- Online educational courses
- Emails or newsletters
Chances are, you’re performing some type of content marketing in your day-to-day life as a business owner without realizing it. Those tweets you’re posting, the Facebook Ad campaigns you’re running, and the conference write-ups you publish to your website—they’re all content marketing.
The content you’re creating is used to reach your target customers online. Regardless of whether they’re searching Google at their desk or social media in their spare time, they’re probably on the lookout for content.
…but is content marketing really all it’s cracked up to be?
How does content marketing help build awareness?
Now you know what content marketing is, I’ll bet there’s one question you’re asking:
“Is content marketing is worth the investment?”
The short answer: Yes.
A huge benefit of creating content on a regular basis is that it helps raise awareness for your brand.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a startup firm with limited cash for advertising or a huge company with advertising budgets that Apple would envy; content gives you the chance to position your brand in front of your target customers.
The best part? You don’t need to run expensive Facebook advertising campaigns that are optimized for brand awareness to help spread the word.
Here’s why content marketing does such a great job of building brand awareness:
1. High-quality content gives potential customers a reason to visit your website
Did you know that there are 30.2 million small businesses operating in the U.S.?
Sure, the majority are unlikely to be your competitors, but there are still:
- Over 443,000 law firms
- Over 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies
- 1.3 million eCommerce companies
There’s no doubt that each will have a website containing pages about the services they offer. Regardless of your industry, that’s a huge volume of competition you’ll need to beat on your journey to more customers.
However, the biggest benefit of content marketing is that high-quality unique content can set you apart from the others. The words you write are personal, so there’s a slim chance that a competitor will copy what you have to say, word-for-word.
Not only that, but with high-quality content, you’ll give your target audience a reason to visit your website: to learn or be entertained.
Take this podcasting tutorial by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, for example.
Although he isn’t directly selling podcasting equipment, his business teaches people how to make money online. Podcasting is a strategy you can use to do that, but instead of pitching his services, he’s simply sharing everything you need to know about starting a podcast—totally free of charge:
It’s not just the marketing industry that benefits from this, though.
Take the LegalEagle YouTube channel, for example. They create fun, informative and entertaining videos that their audience would be interested in, without a direct pitch that asks them to buy something:
Whether you’re creating infographics, videos, or blog posts to publish on your site, your competitors won’t be publishing the same thing. You’ve got the chance to gain market share through brand awareness—especially when you’re creating content that your audience want to consume, but your competitors can’t replicate.
Content is a great differentiator for eCommerce brands, which is why 86% of B2C marketers think content marketing is a key strategy for their business.
2. Content bypasses ad blockers installed on your audience’s device
Think about the time you spend on the internet. Do you get annoyed by pesky pop-up ads invading your screen, and turn to an ad blocker to stop your screen being bombarded with advertisements?
But even if your targets are not using ad blocking software, you’ll probably struggle to reach the:
- 94% of people who hit the “skip” button on pre-roll video ads
- 85% of search engine users who completely ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results
(Not to mention that the average person sees 5,000 advertisements every day. You need to create something that hasn’t been done before to stand out.)
Other marketing channels—such as PPC or social media advertising—can’t get past them…but content marketing can.
That’s because content can be promoted organically. You can optimize your content for SEO and reach the organic listings in your ideal customer’s SERP, spend 30 seconds sharing your link to Facebook, or using platforms like Quuu Promote to encourage influencers in your industry to help spread the word:
The options are endless. Advertising, on the other hand, is limited to reaching the decreasing number of internet users who don’t have ad blocking software installed on their device—or completely skip pre-roll video adverts when they have the choice.
What if your ads do cut through the noise and make it to your target user?
Content marketing still trumps advertising because it doesn’t come across as a spammy sales pitch, as Alex McCormick of Anglo Liners explains:
“It’s critical that you don’t use your content just to push your corporate slogans and marketing spiel – particularly blogs.
Readers can see right through this and will reject it straight away, making your content completely ineffective. In contrast, informative, engaging and valuable content will keep customers reading and will tempt them to act on your call to action.
Remember: good, helpful content will act as a much better advert for your company than a slogan or catchphrase ever will.”
3. You’re able to build credibility in your industry
There’s a whole range of activities that fall beneath the content marketing umbrella, such as:
- Guest posting (for other websites in your industry)
- Blogging (on your website)
- Creating YouTube videos
- Promoting infographics on visual-heavy sites like Pinterest
One you might forget to add to your to-do list is to publish thought leadership content on your website or social media profile, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
Why? Because one benefit of this type of content marketing is that people could find that and reach out to you for PR opportunities. That’d do wonders for your credibility—something your target customers (and Google) consider when looking at your brand.
Take Ryan Robinson, for example. His entire brand is built around content marketing, but to go that extra step to boost credibility, he regularly writes for industry-respected websites like Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur:
I reached out to Ryan to find out the impact that writing for these websites has had on his business. He said:
“Investing the time into landing contributor accounts on publications like Forbes, Business Insider and Fast Company has been pivotal to the growth of both my blog and my personal brand.
While I do occasionally see a surge in referral traffic from a well-timed article with a compelling headline, the positive SEO signals I’m sending by being able to tastefully mention relevant content on my blog in the related stories I write for my columns, helps even more.
That being said, the few traffic spikes and occasional relevant link to my own blog, don’t move the needle as much as the biggest benefit I get—and that’s the credibility boost that comes along with my affiliation to them.
The fact that my personal brand is associated with top business publications helps me to book great guests for my podcast, establish new partnerships and be taken seriously by my readers who are considering working with me or joining one of my courses.”
What would a piece of content authored by you, containing a link to your website, do for your credibility?
(I’ll bet the answer is “a lot.”)
However, you can’t land coverage there—nor add them to the “featured in” section of your website—without content, which is why it’s critical for any marketing strategy. A superb piece of content is your hook.
Fancy the even better news? This credibility-building element that comes as a byproduct of content marketing doesn’t just result in fame in your industry. It’s a tactic Davey Owens of Oh Hello! has used to hire someone, too:
“When my partners and I were thinking of leaving our marketing agency to create a brand strategy firm, Medium was my biggest asset in finding advice from people that could help. We ended up hiring someone I found on Medium to come in and consult us for $400 an hour… and that’s just not something you could get from Instagram or Facebook.”
To summarize: If you use content marketing to land yourself on a well-respected website in your niche, you’ll boost your credibility—and be in with the chance of finding new clients, as a result.
4. Content fills the gaps in your sales and marketing funnel
How many times do you randomly land on a business’ website and hand over your credit card information within the same browsing session?
It’s uncommon. In fact, research has shown that buyers wait until they are 60% through the purchasing process before they talk to a salesperson—meaning your website visitors are highly unlikely to hit the “purchase” button after reading your service pages alone.
Content marketing is your saving grace, here. That’s because you can fill your sales funnel with your target leads who aren’t yet ready to purchase, and keep them on your radar to nurture (using content) until they purchase.
Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a law firm publishing content to your website, for example. A blog post, infographic, or podcast episode can be the hook that brings people in the “awareness” stage to your website.
…but you’ll need their contact details to guide them into your sales funnel.
You can do that by asking your blog post readers to download a free “how to claim for a car accident” eBook. This type of content caters to people in the “evaluation” stage, which will help to grow your email list, and create a loyal and engaged group of people you can contact regularly until they’re ready to talk to your sales team.
Regardless of how you’re using your content, it’s the juice you’ll need to fill your marketing funnel and pass people from “awareness” to “consideration,” then finally “evaluation” and “conversion.”
You can create more content to keep in contact with them, but it’s only when they’re 60% of the way through that they’ll start talking to your sales team. Don’t miss your opportunity to stay on their radar before that.
5. Repurposing content gives you a reason to post on other platforms
Chances are, you’re using other channels like social media or advertising to promote your business, but you wouldn’t be alone if you were struggling to constantly post relevant content that engages your followers.
A huge advantage of content marketing is that you can repurpose one single piece of content into several others, which you can use to fill your profiles on other platforms.
For example, you could take a single blog post and:
- Use it as a video script, then upload your video to YouTube
- Use it as a script for a podcast episode, then upload the clip to iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
- Turn your blog post into a presentation, then upload it to Slideshare
- Create an infographic based on the detail in your post, then share it to Pinterest
- Take a snippet from your blog post, then tweet it (with the link)
- Syndicate the content to sites like Business2Community or Medium
- Rearrange the order of your blog post and submit it as a guest post
- Host a webinar where you talk about the topic in more depth. (If you record this, you could upload it to video-sharing sites like YouTube.)
- Submit the link to a forum or subreddit like GrowthHackers or /r/bigSEO.
That’s nine individual pieces of content which spawned from one single piece.
Here’s an example of this in action from Copyblogger. They create a blog post titled “The 3-Step Journey of a Remarkable Piece of Content,” and turned it into a slideshow which they uploaded to SlideShare which amassed almost 80,000 views:
Not only do these extra spin-off pieces add more content to your library, but when you’re posting them to different websites, you’re boosting your reach even further.
Bryan Osima of Uvietech Software Solutions explains:
“Dependent on just where that content is syndicated or published, you might find that you get great exposure to audiences that already may be looking for the kinds of services or products you provide, and that could serve as the gateway to them seeking you out.
For example: If you upload a blog post to your website, you’ll only reach the people visiting already. On the other hand, if you publish a link on Growth Hackers, tweet a link from your Twitter profile, and upload your content as a slideshow to SlideShare, you’re reaching new people who otherwise wouldn’t see your content.
In the Copyblogger example above, that could be up to 80,000 new people.
How does content marketing improve your site’s SEO?
How many times do you head to Google each day? For the average person, their answer would be “between three and four times”—but for me, it’s the first place I head to when I fire up an internet-connected device.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
(You might’ve even found this post through a Google search.)
Regardless of what industry you’re in, your target customers are using sites like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find solutions to their products, or answers to their questions.
Here’s how content marketing can help your business reach them:
6. Start to rank in Google for your target client’s queries
Arguably one of the most important parts of a content marketing strategy is the promotion. You can spend days (and thousands of dollars) crafting the perfect whitepaper for your audience—but if they don’t read it, it’s a total waste of time and cash.
(People recommend the 80/20 rule for this reason. They advise to spend 20% of your time creating content, and the remaining 80% pushing it out for the world to see.)
When it comes to content distribution, it’s interesting to note that over half of all content consumption derives from organic search. Search engines like Google or Bing work by reading content on a webpage, determining what it’s about, then ranking the results in order from best to worst.
Alexis Soer, SEO Specialist at Elite Digital, explains:
“Since content marketing helps to increase your business’ positioning on search engines, it is better to invest in this rather than paid ads because the majority of traffic comes from organic rankings – 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, leaving 10% from paid ads, 5% from social media, and 34% from direct or other sources.”
The downside? You can’t make the list if you don’t have content for Google to crawl.
Google won’t know that your eCommerce website sells pet accessories unless the words “dog bowl,” “dog collar,” or “puppy crate” appear on there somewhere. You need to create content containing those keywords for a search engine to understand it.
Simply take a look at Google’s search results for a question your target audience are probably asking. Here are my results for “how to sue a private hospital”:
Notice how every single page is a landing page for a piece of content? Instead of boring product or service pages from personal injury firms who tell me they’re the best firm to handle my case, Google is directing me to blog posts that give me more (unbiased) information about my situation.
In case you’re thinking that’s a one-off, here are my results for “is content marketing important?”:
There’s something interesting happening here. Google has displayed a Featured Snippet box (a highlighted box of text being pulled from a page targeting that keyword).
You can see that this Featured Snippet box looks more appealing than other results that usually display in the SERPs. The boring meta title and description aren’t shown the same as the other nine organic results.
Instead, this box stands out in position zero, giving you more real estate—and therefore, more chance to attract target clients who are searching for that query.
(Still not convinced? For one website, the click-through rate on a featured page increased from 2% to 8% once it’s placed in a Featured Snippet box.)
Your target customers are doing these searches every day. If you’re relying on bog standard service pages to win them over, you probably won’t make the cut—especially when it comes to page one on Google. You need SEO-optimized content to get there.
As you can see, content underpins your entire SEO strategy, as explained by Ciara Hautau, the Lead Digital Marketing Strategist at Fueled:
“It’s no surprise that when people are asking questions or looking for information they immediately go to Google or Alexa to find it.
Say someone has never heard of your business or doesn’t even know they *need* your product or services. But! They ask a question that you’ve answered in your blog and it’s ranking on the first page of Google. Once someone finds it on a search engine it will take them to your site where they’ll be able to learn more about you.
If you have no content – be that blog posts or landing pages, then you most likely won’t [be] found.”
That’s important—especially when 90% of people won’t go further than the comfort of Google’s page one results.
7. User experience wins, in a search engine’s eyes
There are hundreds of ranking factors that go into a search engine’s algorithm; it’s not as simple as creating a piece of content that’s stuffed with your target keyword and reaching the top spots.
Google wants to display the highest quality, most relevant results for a user’s search query. They need to look beyond the content itself to do that, using a range of SEO metrics that—you guessed it, high-quality content can achieve.
Each of these ranking factors falls under the user experience category.
If people aren’t having a great time on your website (or reading your content), why should search engines refer more people to that page? It doesn’t do them any favors.
RaShea Drake, eCommerce Content Manager at Vevano explains:
“Content marketing really plays to a brand’s E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust), and that authority and trust speaks to your customers and clients.
Google focuses on what provides the best user experience and is most helpful, meaning they are leaning on E-A-T as part of their algorithm (Marie Haynes and Google confirm this) creating helpful content and knowing how to reach your audience, you create more trust, which is better for your SEO, which can bring you more organic customers.”
In fact, if Google pointed you to a list of low-quality pages every time, you wouldn’t use them. It’s in Google’s best interests to measure user experience on a page so they don’t frustrate their searchers.
The first (and most obvious) ranking factor we’ll touch on is content length. If you’ve got the resources—either time or financially—to create content, you’re already ticking Google’s checkbox of high-ranking websites in their search engine.
You’ll also see that metrics like pages per session, bounce rate, and time on site are important ranking factors, too.
Content marketing is your secret weapon here: if each piece of content is hosted on a different URL (which it should be!), you can add internal links to encourage people visiting your website to click around. Instead of clicking one blog post and heading on their way, they’re likely to stick around and spend more time on your website.
Finally, let’s quickly acknowledge that the keyword in your page’s:
- Meta tags
…is a ranking factor, along with the density (or frequency) at which you’re using said keyword on your URL. It’s almost impossible to meet that ranking criteria if you aren’t creating content for it.
8. High-quality content results in strong backlinks
I’m sure you’ve read that you can’t rank highly in Google without backlinks.
While that isn’t exactly true (Google says that it is possible), you’ll be facing an uphill battle if you don’t create backlinks to your website.
Backlinks are important because they tell Google that your website is trustworthy. They’re used as connections between websites, passing on a similar reputation to your website based on those you’re linked with.
That means if you get lots of high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your industry, you’ll find it easier to rank in Google.
Don’t believe me? Check this data from Backlinko. After analyzing over a million SERPs, they found a strong correlation between the number of referring domains (backlinks) a URL has and their ranking position:
We can put that into practice by taking a look at my search results for “how to find a good personal injury lawyer”. You’ll see that the content written by Enjuris is ranking on the first page:
Why? Let’s see whether the number of referring domains pointing to this URL could impact their rankings.
According to Ahrefs, that single URL has 30 individual referring domains pointing to it:
Not only that, but as a result of the content, they’re driving traffic worth over $24,700 to their website. Even if you spend a few hundred dollars creating that piece of content, it’s still much cheaper than using paid search to get website visitors.
Content is the bait you can use to get these backlinks, and drive your website to the top of your ideal customer’s search results.
That’s because other website owners want to add external links to their articles to make them appear more credible. Why couldn’t that be you?
To start getting this type of backlinks to your content, you can use these link building techniques:
- Broken link building: Install the Check My Links plugin for Chrome browsers and head to a website from which you’d love to get a link. Click one of their blog posts and run the broken link check. You’ll see broken links highlighted in red. Can you create a piece of content on the same topic? If so, do it—then reach out to the site and offer your link as a replacement for the broken one. Site owners are likely to do this because 404 errors are bad for their user experience.
- Guest posting: Website owners (bloggers especially) need content to keep their domain alive. Offer to contribute a guest post for sites in your niche, and get backlinks in the author bio as credit. Use the search string “guest post + [industry]” or “write for us + [industry]” to find guest blogging opportunities. Then, read the site’s guidelines and submit your guest post for publication.
- Content repurposing: This is similar to guest posting, but you don’t need to write a new piece of content from scratch to get the link to your site. Websites like Business2Community, Medium, and LinkedIn allow content syndication—a tactic that copies your content and publishes it to another site, containing a link back to the source (your website.)
- HARO link building: Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free service that connects journalists with people who can contribute to their story. Sign up to receive emails for your industry, then respond to a pitch you could help with, and get a contextual backlink to your website in return. Sites like Forbes, TIME Magazine, and The New York Times are known to use this service—meaning you’ve got the opportunity to get links from those powerhouses if you submit quotes.
The interesting thing about this aspect of content marketing is that link building has a snowball effect. Once you start to get enough that you begin to rank on page one for your target keyword, you’ll build other backlinks from authors searching for that keyword to include a reference point in a piece they’re writing.
(For example: I could search “broken link building” and use this post, which shows on page one, to place over the same anchor text above.)
9. Conquer voice search
Earlier, we touched on the fact that Google uses content to create Featured Snippet boxes in their search result pages:
We also mentioned that you can’t reach these boxes without creating content for Google to pull, but here’s what you might not have realized: Google pulls data from Featured Snippet boxes to answer voice search questions and reads the content back to a searcher.
Devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and the Echo Dot all offer this voice search feature.
If you’re not creating content to get into this Featured Snippet box, and be in with the chance of Google relaying your content to a voice searcher, you’re missing out on the chance to reach 72% of people who use these smart speakers as part of their daily routine.
So, how do you create content that lands itself in this Featured Snippet box?
Start by checking whether the results for your target keyword already has this information displayed or not. “What should my attorney do”, for example, doesn’t:
However, if your target keyword does display a Featured Snippet on the SERP, take a look at the content being placed there by clicking the URL. This is your competition; you’ll need to create a comprehensive piece of content that beats position zero in terms of content length, quality, and authoritativeness.
Then, follow general content marketing best practices, such as:
- Optimize for one target keyword, and a handful of similar (and related) terms
- Make your content authoritative
- Aim for a word count of 1,500+
- Include visuals, such as videos and images, to increase time on page
- Reference third-party statistics, quotes, or research studies
- Add internal and external links
(The Skyscraper technique created by Brian Dean of Backlinko works here, too.)
Ahrefs conducted some research and found that URLs ranking in the first organic position tend to be rewarded with the Featured Snippet box.
If you’re following these best practices, you’ll soon convince Google that your content is worthy enough to be ranked first—and be repeated back to voice searchers looking for an answer to their question!
How does content marketing impact sales?
Whenever we try a new marketing strategy, we want to be able to accurately predict whether it will be worth the investment, and meet the overall goals you’ve set as a company.
Chances are, a goal high on your list is “sales” or “conversions”.
(After all, it’s what keeps your business profitable. If you don’t create marketing campaigns that bring cash into your business, all you’re doing is wasting money and time—which nobody wants to be part of.)
Here’s why a huge benefit of content marketing is the impact it will have on your business’ sales or conversions:
10. Content builds the like, know, trust factor for your brand
There are three elements that are instrumental in almost every sales decision:
- Know: Do you have a good reputation? Do their friends know about you? How long have you been on their radar?
- Like: Do your audience enjoy reading your content? Are they engaging with your brand—either on your website, social media, or app?
- Trust: Do your audience believe what you’re saying is true? Do they view you as an authority in their industry? Do they genuinely think you’re a good person with strong morals similar to theirs?
Without them, you can’t close a sale.
“We are living in a time that is saturated by advertising and younger generations, who make up a significant portion of the consumer population, perceive advertising to be an industry of ‘inauthenticity’.
When a business creates content that is genuinely useful, interesting or fun for its audience, it’s much more likely to retain valuable customers because the people viewing the content are engaged on a personal level and thus have genuine trust for the business.”
Let’s put that into practice by thinking about the last product or service you purchased online. Did you hit “purchase” out of the blue or did you do your background research on the company before handing over your personal information? Your credit card details and private address are all at risk; you need to know the brand can be trusted beforehand.
Content marketing helps build trust with your potential customers because you’re humanizing your brand.
People trust people more than businesses, but if you’re able to author content that shows your personality, you can infuse your marketing with words that make potential customers trust you.
Take content marketing agency Animalz, for example. They publish content to their blog that breaks the “norm” in the content marketing world—like their post on a blog being a library versus a publication:
I’ll bet that if you’re looking to hire content marketing agency and stumbled across this post, you’d be inclined to trust them. They’re busting a common myth in the world, and backing it up with a case study that shows they know what they’re talking about.
Mack Dudayev of Insure Chance argues that as a result of this trust-building content, you could get a higher calibre of clients on your books:
“The quality of clients you get from content marketing is going to be of a higher quality because these are individuals who are educated buyers and are going out there looking for your service.”
In addition to this trust, high-quality content delivers value to your audience. Whether you’re sharing a free tip, a tutorial, or simply educating them about your product, you’re giving away knowledge that’s free of charge.
Why wouldn’t they trust you over a brand who charges money in return for help and advice?
11. Control the conversation around your brand
Businesses use many tactics to improve their reputation. Encouraging customers to leave reviews, attending conferences, and speaking at international industry conferences all fall under that strategy…
…but content marketing could be the simplest option.
Why? Because you’re able to control the conversation around your brand with content published to your website.
Let’s explain: a potential client of yours wants to find a personal injury lawyer to help with a nasty car accident. They already know of three law firms in your city after walking past them, but why should they choose you?
They’ll likely head to your website to make their decision. Once they arrive there, they’re looking for the firm who proves they’ll offer the best service—and convinces them to enquire.
To do this, you can put together a comparison post that pits you against the two local firms you’re competing with, highlighting you as the best choice.
Sure, you can splash your USPs across your homepage… But that’s only effective for people visiting your website already. With comparison posts that pit your brand against your competitors, you can capture the people who’re actively searching for comparison posts in Google.
For some industries (like the SEO tools niche), that can be almost 1,000 people each month:
One of the largest companies in the world, Uber, took this approach with their comparison against competitor Lyft:
The only caveat with this content marketing strategy?
Make sure you’re being genuine. Consumers don’t trust branded content as much as they do content from their peers, but they still trust brands with their own voice.
Build this into your comparison posts to control the conversation around your brand with customer reviews. Ask your clients why they picked you over a competitor when they were looking for help, and weave their answers into your narrative.
A comprehensive post that gives a potential client a reason to pick you over a competitor is bound to be more effective than a handful of reviews on your homepage, right?
12. Generate more referrals for your business from previous customers
Did you know that referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels? Not only that, but clients you acquire through a referral from an existing customers have also been found to have a 16% higher lifetime value.
That ticks two checkboxes on your perfect marketing strategy list: generating lifelong customers that are easy to convert.
One of the reasons why referrals work so well is because a customer you’ve already provided a great experience to is likely to recommend your services to their network. And, once your clients’ friends hear about your superb work, they’re instantly more inclined to purchase from you.
Here are some statistics to prove it:
- Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions
- Consumers rely on word-of-mouth 2 to 10 times more than paid media
- People are 4 times more likely to buy something when referred by a friend
How does content marketing fit into this purchasing behavior?
The answer is simple: You can encourage people to refer you to their network by asking them to share pieces of content you’ve already published—meaning content can be the thing your happy customers pass onto their network.
For example: if you assisted a previous customer with a complicated divorce settlement, you could send them an eBook sharing the list of steps you helped them take. They’re then able to share that eBook with a friend who may potentially be struggling with the same thing.
Getting referrals through this type of content marketing doesn’t have to be that long-winded, though. Something as simple as sharing your recent blog post to your Facebook Page and encouraging existing clients to like the post could position you in front of their network—and reach the 43% of social media users who’ve purchased something via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Combine that content with your existing client’s endorsement (either a like or share), and it’s a great way to use content marketing to make more sales for your business.
13. Produce case studies to build trust with potential customers
Chances are, you’ve thought about hiring someone for their services, but needed to be convinced that they’re the right company for the job before enquiring. If so, you’re not alone—and you’ll probably use case studies to answer your pre-enquiry questions.
Case studies are mini stories that tell future clients how you’ve worked with someone in a similar situation to them. They usually include three sections:
- The problem you needed to solve
- The actions you took
- The results you achieved
I asked Case Study Buddy’s Joel Klettke to explain how you can create those pieces of content to generate more sales for your company:
“To use a case study to boost conversions, you need to be able to tell the right story to the right audience. That means going in with a strategy from the start: identifying who your ideal customer is, what pain points/questions/objections they have during the decision-making process, and which benefits or KPIs will be most attractive to them.
Once defined, companies should analyze their happy customer base and see which client best aligns with those characteristics.
Once you HAVE the story captured, there are myriad ways to put it to work!
Most companies think of case studies strictly as “bottom-of-the-funnel” assets that they hand to a sales team or relegate to a sad “resources” corner of their website. Instead, companies should be thinking across the entire funnel:
- Leveraging case studies in cold outreach to boost credibility and differentiate your pitch from all the rest.
- Using case studies as lead magnets, or even in social ads to attract qualified leads who struggle with the pains or want the benefits described.
- Deploying case studies during the nurturing stages—reassuring a lead that the decision they are considering will pay off for them because it already has for others.
You can even use case studies in winback and follow-up emails to naturally re-open the conversation and address objections a lead might’ve had when they dropped off.”
Putting that into practice, let’s say that you won a personal injury case that resulted in a substantial payout for your client. Instead of letting the story sit in your mental hall of fame, put together a case study and proudly display it on your website, then use Joel’s step-by-step guide to use your case study to find potential customers.
In fact, Joel’s team put together a case study about working with us:
If you were looking to hire someone to create case studies for your brand, I’d bet you’d be much more inclined to enquire about Joel’s services, right? Not only does a case study prove he knows what he’s doing, but it’ll help reassure future clients who are in a similar situation that he’s the best person to help them.
You could be in with the chance of receiving the same credibility with case studies written about your client successes. After all, you’ve done it before (and got great results.) Why can’t you do it for them?
14. Sales teams don’t start from scratch with a bank of content up their cuff
Do your sales team try and convert people who enquire about your services, but don’t really have a clue about the person they’re talking to? It could be why the average sales close rate peaks at 18%—but can drop as low as 4% for some industries like tech start-ups or real estate:
These poor sales closing rates could be due to one thing: a lack of personalization.
One report found 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences, and 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decision.
How do you offer personalized sales pitches when you don’t know much about the person behind the enquiry email? A quick stalk on LinkedIn or Twitter only goes so far.
A huge benefit of content marketing is that you can use it to personalize your sales team’s approach to convert potential clients. By tracking your website visitors to see which types of content they’ve read, you’re able to personalize their sales pitch accordingly.
Let’s say that you’re an eCommerce jewelry company, for example. You use a tool like LeadForensics or Leadfeeder to see who is browsing your website, and see that Joe Bloggs visited your blog post titled “How to pick the best engagement ring for your fiance.”
You’ve got this information about Joe, so use it. That might be a personalized chatbot message that pops up towards the bottom of your blog post, such as:
“Hey! Picking an engagement ring that your partner loves is a daunting task. Drop a few lines about your fiance-to-be’s personality here (such as their hobbies, interests, or fashion sense), and we’ll recommend the perfect ring.”
Why wouldn’t Joe be inclined to contact your sales team for more help?
The same concept applies to people who haven’t yet read your content. You might be dealing with a potential customer who is asking about engagement rings. But instead of hand-holding that person through the process, you could point them in the direction of your blog post (which they can read in their own time).
Research by Adobe found that a further 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant.
Not only that, but collecting data about your customers before they enquire means you’ve already got some information up your cuff that you can use to personalize your approach to the sale. That’s always an advantage for sales teams.
15. Content provides material for retargeting campaigns
You’re using chatbots to personalize your approach based on the content a website visitor is reading…but what if they completely disregard your chatbot, and click the exit button on their tab without enquiring about your services?
All isn’t lost; you can still use content as your ammunition to run a retargeting campaign that drives those visitors back to your website using another piece of content.
Facebook advertising is used by over 6 million businesses, and you’ll probably know that retargeting campaigns get some of the best results (website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70%).
You’re able to take that a step further by using content as the basis of your entire retargeting campaign.
For example: you can create a Custom Audience of website visitors who’ve read any blog post that falls into the “engagement” category on your blog, but not purchased:
The people within this audience will fit that criteria, meaning your retargeted ad will be displayed on people’s News Feeds who are interested in engagement rings, but haven’t purchased one from you.
The advert you’re showing them should be similar to the content they already viewed. Using the same engagement ring example, you could show a new blog post about engagement ring insurance to drive them back to something they’re already interested.
Granted, this is more of a content promotion hack, but it’s much more effective at driving people back to your website than a product page they might not be ready to see yet.
As your Custom Audience of non-inquiring website visitors with a specific interest starts to become more aware of your brand, you can use sequential advertising to guide them towards a purchase.
For example: You could advertise the following pieces of content as they flow through each key stage of your sales funnel before purchasing:
- Awareness: “15 Funny Engagement Ring Stories That Will Warm Your Heart.” (These people haven’t seen or heard of your brand before, but this lighthearted story could get you on their radar without requiring too much of their time.)
- Consideration: “How to Pick the Perfect Engagement Ring for Your Fiance” (These are people who have some idea of who you are, but are still shopping around. You can prove that you’re an authority in your industry by guiding them through the different types of product they could choose from.)
- Evaluation: “Our Brand vs. EngagementRings4U: Which Rings Are Better Quality? (These people are ready to buy; they just need a nudge before converting. Create a Custom Audience of Facebook users with an interest in your competitors, then use this content as your opportunity to prove why you’re the best choice.)
…but it’s true that without a strong piece of content that drives them to your website in the first place, you wouldn’t have an audience segment that you could retarget through clever advertising campaigns.
16. Offer better service to existing customers
Do you run a busy company with customers who ask the same questions over and over again?
It can be frustrating—both for your customer service team and your customers, who simply want a quick answer to their question.
- 48% of customers expect email responses within 6 hours
- 96% of customers expect a response within five minutes of initiating a chat conversation
- 90% of customers said that they’ll wait no more than 5 minutes
How do you beat those timings without putting huge pressure on a small customer service team, or hiring more staff to handle support requests?
The answer comes in the form of content. Simply put together a list of frequently asked questions on your website, and make the URL easy for customers to access—like this online support library created by Zendesk:
This kills two birds with one stone. Your customers don’t have to wait for an answer from you; they can find it (and solve their problem) within seconds.
Your customer service team, on the other hand, doesn’t need to spend time repeating the same answers. Because customers can check your FAQ page before answering, they’ll only come through to your customer service team with a new problem—saving you from repeating the same question time and time again.
This also works for converting potential customers. By including a list of FAQs relating to onboarding or post-purchase problems, they can view your process. They’re able to check it aligns with theirs before enquiring, helping to filter out low-quality leads.
For example: you’re a personal injury law firm, but your potential customer is worried about paying for your services if they don’t win their case. Your FAQ section could answer some of those questions, like:
- When will payment be due?
- Will I still be charged the full amount if my personal injury case is dismissed?
- How does “no win, no fee” work?
If you’re unsure what types of questions your customers have before inquiring, don’t dismiss this type of content marketing altogether. You can build our your FAQ page by searching “things to ask your [job title]” or “questions to ask before hiring a [job title]”.
Let’s take my search results for “questions to ask before hiring a lawyer”, for example. Google points me to this post:
Jot down your answers to whichever questions crop-up and write them on your FAQ page. That way, people who’re searching for these terms know what to ask—and you’ve got the answers waiting for them.
17. Increase the lifetime value of each customer
Every company dreams of creating a loyal army of lifelong customers. You know, the people who are so loyal to your brand that they continue to purchase your products for the rest of their life. To them, you’re the go-to.
You’re able to determine how loyal your customers are by calculating their lifetime value—the total amount of revenue you expect to make, per customer.
You can calculate your customers’ lifetime value by using this simple CLV calculator:
What if the result isn’t as great as you’d hoped?
“If you have other products besides the one they came for, your content can share how those other products help solve other problems for them.
For example, let’s say you sell a vibrating toothbrush. You educate your customers on the importance of a fluoride-free toothpaste or a special kind of floss for oral health; now those customers who bought the brush may buy those other items from you as well.”
Let’s put that into practice and see how you can use content marketing to increase your customer lifetime value:
- Create a help center for your existing customers, and include a link to it that’s easy to access from your emails. They can use this to solve a problem on their own, rather than asking your customer service team to intervene.
- Take a holistic approach to your customer data and look at which products are most popular. Create blog posts, videos, or tutorials around your most popular category.
- Send targeted emails with new, free content based on the product an individual customer has bought. Use this to share how they can make the most out of their purchase. Asana do this perfectly:
It’s a tactic the team at Project Manager also take advantage of, as Kris Hughes explains:
“One of our primary content marketing strategies is giving away information-packed content of different types on a consistent basis via our social channels, but especially our on-site blog, that serves not only as a resource for our existing customers but a free resource for potential customers as well.
Giving away this free content via our blog – but also via ebooks, case studies, white papers and longer, data-driven content assets – helps us to continually provide value to our customers as a warehouse for information not only on project management, but also on topics like leadership, office life, productivity and career development.”
Sure, content marketing is a great way to improve your customer lifetime value—but if you’re using it to win-over your customers for years to come, you might even be able to whack a 16% price premium on your products and services.
18. It’s easier to see ROI from content marketing than other channels
Businesses are always fighting about their budgets. Your sales team will argue they need to invest in a new CRM, HR departments will fight for a better salary in return for the work they do, and your finance team wants to keep expenses low.
It’s no surprise why marketers struggle to pitch the case for marketing to their boss—nevermind secure a healthy budget for them to start turning the wheels on their dream campaign.
On average, marketers get a small budget of 7.5% of a company’s overall revenue:
However, content could be the strategy you need to make your pitch for more budget, and convince your boss that marketing should be taking seriously.
Why? Because bosses (and good marketing managers) want to keep their costs down. They want to find tactics or channels with high ROI—meaning they’ll generate more revenue than the amount they’re spending.
You’re in luck. It’s been found that content marketing costs up to 41% less per lead than paid search.
Not only that, but HubSpot also conducted some research which revealed that companies with the highest ROI focus on blogging, growing their organic search presence, and content amplification or distribution:
The beauty of content marketing is that it’s cost-effective. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into Google Ads campaigns; nor do you need a team of 50 staff to see success from content marketing.
Marketing Designer Clare Bittourna explains:
“For Codal, content marketing has been the number one most successful marketing strategies; it is the most profitable because it is not expensive, nor too time-consuming to create content.
On the other hand, setting up and running an AdWords campaign can be very time-consuming, and costly. It requires deep expertise, and a lot of monitoring and iterations to get a campaign set up to be successful and effective. On top of that, to target the keywords that you need, you could be looking at $50 per click.”
The research team at Orbit Media found that the average blog post takes 3 hours and 28 minutes to write. Even if you employ a freelance writer to write that for you and they charge $25 per hour, that’s an investment of just over $75; much less than a Google Ads campaign.
Not only that, but PPC advertising requires constant budget. As soon as your budget runs out, your ads stop—and you’re no longer visible to your target audience.
That $75 investment in content marketing gets results forever. Sure, you’ll need to spend a few hours every quarter to update your content and make sure it’s still relevant—but other than the upfront investment of time, you’re getting a lifelong surge of traffic.
David Kranker explains what that might look like:
“With content marketing, you can get a blog post written for $100-150 and if it’s targeting a long-tail topic without a ton of competition, it can rank on the first page within a matter of weeks.
You can start driving 200-400 visits a month and if 10% of those convert you’re looking at 20-40 leads. Better yet, you’re not paying to constantly be up top like paid ads. So, as long as competition doesn’t outrank you, you’re going to continue to get visitors and conversions without any additional spend.
If visits are steady, you could have 60-120 leads in 3 months and you only spent $150. When compared to $500 a lead for paid, this is an unbelievable return on investment.”
19. Content is the foundation of most marketing strategies
Earlier, we mentioned how repurposing content gives you the opportunity to create other forms of content to cross-post on other platforms.
However, you might not have realized that content actually underpins most marketing strategies, as Sam Olmsted, the Director of Search and Content at Online Optimism, explains:
“Content marketing is the foundational layer upon which all other marketing tactics rest.
Looking to promote something on social media? Why not push a blog post that gives insight into your company? Google Ads need landing pages (content) to be directed to. Even out-of-home ads like billboards need a copywriter or content strategist to create a compelling message.
Content marketing can’t be thought of in a vacuum. It is connected to all other forms of marketing.”
Let’s take a look at the main types of marketing and how content weaves into each:
- Advertising: Whether you’re using Google Ads or paying for space in the newspaper, it’s unlikely that you’ll just be using visual images to support your ads. You’ll need to have copy in there to explain what you’re offering—usually a headline and brief description about your company, product, or service,
- Email: It’s a channel proven to have an ROI of 42%; for every dollar you invest, you generate $42 in return. But without content, you won’t have anything to send to your list. You’ll need to create content for every type of email, including welcome email, abandoned cart emails, or simple “here’s a discount code!” messages.
- Social media: Are you asking people to follow your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? To encourage people to hit the “Follow” button, you need to deliver something in return: Content. Be that photos, videos, or short snippets of text, content is the reason why people follow social media accounts.
- Public Relations (PR): To gain coverage in national or regional news, you’ll need to create and distribute a press release. This type of content shares the basics of your story—but you won’t land that coverage without a piece of content that tells journalists what their story should include.
- SEO: We’ve already talked about how content marketing can help you beat the search engine and reach the top spots in your ideal customers’ SERPs. However, you can’t get there without content (usually blog posts.)
Content underpins them all—meaning you won’t be able to succeed with marketing at all if you’re not understanding (nor harnessing) its importance.
5 incredible content marketing examples that show these benefits in action
Still unsure whether your content marketing strategy will reap these rewards? It’s not just a myth; millions of brands are already taking advantage of the power that content marketing holds.
Take a look at these five content marketing examples which prove the benefits we’ve just discussed:
1. Buffer’s Open Blog
Research by SproutSocial found that 86% of Americans believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before, and 73% are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency.
Buffer go to show that you can use content marketing to prove that you’re a trustworthy brand with their Open blog—a section of their site which shares what it’s like to run the business behind the scenes.
Recent content they’ve published includes:
- The launch of their mastermind partnership program
- Why their ‘growth mindset’ fund gives every teammate $800/year
- Behind the scenes of their 10th retreat in San Diego, CA
Although it’s tough to measure the direct impact, it’s safe to assume that this approach to transparency is what’s helped Buffer achieve their success:
2. Microsoft’s Story Series
Did you know that people are hardwired to enjoy stories?
It’s not just Peter Rabbit books that people enjoy. Marketers are able to use the benefits of storytelling within their content to experience the benefits we’ve mentioned here.
A superb example of this is Microsoft. Their Story series takes their audience behind the scenes of their mega-successful brand, and explains how some of their products went from ideas to real-life products:
3. McDonalds Canada’s Question Time
The Canadian arm of McDonalds decided to open the floor to customer questions, and used the 20,000 answers to publish unique content on a subdomain of their site:
Not only did this help McDonald’s Canada boost their site traffic, but it was also a content marketing campaign which landed coverage from sites like BuzzFeed and Business Insider (according to Ahrefs):
4. Dolman Law Group’s SEO Success
You already know that content marketing is the foundation of many SEO practices.
One of our clients (Dolman Law Group) experienced this first-hand. We started with a complete overhaul of the content already on their website to make it more SEO-friendly, then ran an extensive, content-driven link-building campaign to boost their website’s authority.
The result? Dolman Law Group domain has acquired over 105 links from .edu domains (much higher than the average law firm’s website), which resulted in:
- 330% increase in organic site visits
- 400% higher intake of cases from website
- $170,000 per month new revenue
Not bad for a simple bit of content marketing, right?
5. Tasty’s YouTube Channel
Content marketing doesn’t always have to be in written form. Just take the Tasty YouTube channel, for example—a brand created by BuzzFeed which shares delicious recipes in video form:
Their channel is so successful that through their content alone, they’ve amassed 127.268 million video views and 300,000 new subscribers—all in the last 30 days alone.
It’s no surprise why they’re now ranked as the 75th top YouTube channel in the States, and earn between £248.2K and £4M per year, according to Social Bakers’ analysis:
Are you ready to start experiencing these content marketing benefits for your company?
Convinced to start (and stick to) a content marketing strategy for your business?
Not only will you experience these 19 benefits of content marketing first-hand, but you’ll quickly see that creating high-quality content is the trigger for almost every other marketing strategy—and that you’re probably involved without even realizing.
Whichever type of content you’re using, remember to keep it genuine, accurate, and to-the-point. Follow our content marketing best practices, and remember that promotion is just as (if not more) important than creating the piece itself.
Draw inspiration from the content marketing examples we’ve shared here, and there’s no reason why you won’t be able to win over Google and your potential clients with new marketing strategy.