Do you really need content marketing?

All the recent talk about content marketing can make you wonder if it’s just the latest industry buzzword. Many companies have understandable concerns about sharing hard-won expertise for free, publishing e-newsletters with no direct sales pitches, and carving up marketing budgets between traditional and online channels.

A big source of anxiety is the fact that most companies don’t see the benefits overnight. Content marketing is a slow, steady drip, not an instant revenue generator. But that’s no reason to write it off—or worse—delay your own plan.

Talk to anyone who’s maintained a successful “content marketing machine” over time and you’ll know you’ve met a true believer. In fact, the most devoted zealots are usually folks who set a plan in motion and reaped the benefits six to twelve months down the road, only to see sales plummet when they slacked off.

To be frank, that’s exactly what convinced me.

My ongoing experience with content marketing, both for my clients and my own business, suggests there are five great reasons to take content marketing seriously:

1. you’ll know where results really come from

The number one benefit many organizations get from content marketing is the ability to track how many people are seeing each message and—more importantly—what they’re doing as a result. Are they clicking on something? Are they going to your website? Are they making a purchase? Content marketing makes it much easier to see how people are responding and adjust your focus to make the most of what works.

2. the power of now

The online components of a content marketing mix give you the ability torespond to opportunities and time-sensitive issues immediately.There’s no printing time, mailing time, or “is the news ever going to pick this up?” time to worry about. You can get critical information out right awayon your website, blog, social media channels or e-newsletter.

3. you’ll be easier to find

According to a survey conducted last year by Yelp, a website which helps people connect with local businesses, at least 85% of respondents used online search to find local companies in 2012, and the frequency of online search is growing as well.

At the national level, more recent data from a Cisco study of more than 5,000 shoppers in five countries suggests that 78 percent of U.S. shoppers use the Internet to research and purchase products and services.

As the number of consumers who use the Internet to find products and services continues to rise, content marketing is becoming an increasingly powerful way to attract their attention. Even if you don’t do aggressive search engine optimization (SEO), the more online channels you’re taking advantage of, the more likely you’ll appear in online search.

4. you’ll attract new customers

I often listen to satellite radio, which means I don’t always hear commercials from businesses in my local area. Some of my friends and colleagues no longer have cable because they only watch Netflix or Hulu. While I don’t advocate that you abandon traditional advertising, it’s important to be aware thata growing number of consumers have the ability to filter out marketing messages. By offering value with no obvious strings attached,content marketing gives you a powerful way to attract them back. (I’ll cover this topic in greater detail in upcoming newsletters.)

5. stronger brand loyalty

Many companies are focused on finding new customers, and rightly so. Butsome of your best potential sales may be right under your nose in the form of people you already have a relationship with. Sticking to a regular content marketing schedule keeps you top-of-mind when they make future purchasing decisions. It also opens up cross-sale opportunities by helping your readers learn what else you do. Don’t be surprised if you get a response like: “I didn’t know you do/make X too—I’d much rather buy it from you!”

ready to do content marketing right?

Whether you’ve made the first steps with a plan of your own or need to get started from scratch, Whole Brain Creative can help you launch or revive a content marketing strategy that delivers measurable results. We’ll help you identify the right media channels for your unique audience, craft messages that encourage response, and make sure you get them out the door on schedule. Call or email us for a no-obligation consultation: 503.325.4485 or [email protected].

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