When it comes to online marketing, “content is king.” There are many reasons why, just as there are many different forms of content—blog posts, industry news articles, how-to videos, tutorials, training webinars, whitepapers, infographics, and more. Strong, high-value content supports your company in the following 3 ways.
1. It helps your customers be better customers.
Much of the best content is educational in nature, providing valuable information or resources to potential and current customers. By educating your customers about what your company does and why, you're going to help your customers be better customers—to your benefit and theirs. Let's look at an example.
Consider a small, independent organic grocery store that regularly publishes natural health news, tips, and recipes through its website and social media channels. Customers who visit the store are prompted via in-store signage, interactions with employees, and other marketing efforts to find and enjoy this valuable online content. What's going to happen? These customers are going to become better customers—they're going to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the store's value propositions, and as a result, they're going to buy more products more frequently, with greater brand loyalty. You won't get that from an ad in the phone book.
2. It strengthens your brand reputation.
If you are perceived as “the expert” in your field, you're going to attract positive attention. This is true for individuals and corporations alike. By creating and publishing highly valuable content that's relevant to your industry and your target market, you are demonstrating to your potential customers that you have the knowledge and expertise to do what you do better than anyone else.
Let's consider again the example of the organic grocery store. By regularly posting tips and news about healthy eating and the importance of organic food, this small market is acting as a resource for the local community, helping to promote health and wellness. The small grocery will gain a reputation for quality and expertise among shoppers in the area—even those who have never visited the store. When a local resident decides to make the switch to eating organic food, he or she knows exactly where to turn.
In addition, content helps strengthen your company's brand by taking a proactive approach to reputation management. Some companies have a presence online, but it's a negative presence—it consists entirely of a couple bad Yelp reviews, empty social media profiles, or an unfinished website. If you're actively engaged in content marketing, any negative reviews or comments will be obscured by the quality of your content and the positive feedback it generates. And because you're working proactively, you'll be able to spot potential problems before they arise or as they happen, helping your company deal with negative situations more effectively.
3. It can last forever.
When you post an original, highly valuable article on your blog, it stays out there on the internet indefinitely and continues working to strengthen your brand image forever. Articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, and even press releases often act as “landing pages” for your company over time, serving as critical pillars of your online presence.
How many of your marketing efforts create something of value that will survive indefinitely? If you pay for ad space in your local newspaper or on Google or Bing or CNN's website, you’re paying for something that's temporary. Your ad isn't going to be there forever, and the longer you want it there, the more you have to pay. Many of the most familiar marketing methods are only “switched on” when you're paying, and once the campaign is over, you're back to square one—hopefully having gained a few customers on the way.
With powerful content, you can build an online presence that will grow stronger over time and deliver lasting value to your brand and your bottom line.