In an online world that is incredibly saturated with advertising (the traditional consumer apparently is exposed to 3,000 ads per day), many consumers are now taking back their power by installing ad blockers, subscribing to ad-free digital radios, and deleting their email subscriptions and data that is shared with Google.
When content marketing is done well, you provide free value to the consumer, which makes them choose to receive your messages. You need to give valuable information so that a consumer doesn’t see your posts as an interruption or an annoyance but actually looks forward to communicating and interacting with you. If you can do this, you never need fear how saturated the marketplace is, or the many ways that consumers can ‘block’ your ads, because your audience will become your advocate.
Many business owners’ aversion to content marketing is a fear of writing. You might be thinking, I fix cars or bake cakes for a living, I’m not a trained writer. How can content marketing possibly work for me? Here’s how…
It boosts your brand authority
Let’s assume that you are a mechanic. If you own a garage in a city the size of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, there are numerous mechanics that people can choose from. A typical consumer, before choosing where to book their car in for a service or repairs, will do some research. They might ask family or friends for recommendations, and most consumers will also search online to see what they can find. If you’re a mechanic who posts informative articles online about topics such as:
- How can protect your car from rust?
- What is the best brand of fuel filter?
- Cam belt or chain driven: which is best?
- Most reliable and fuel efficient hatchbacks
You will be able to show that you know what you’re talking about. It will show that you are a leader in your industry and consumers will automatically perceive you as being better at what you do that your competitors who aren’t posting helpful and informative content
It improves your search rankings
One of the other benefits of posting useful articles, videos, or audio content on topics such as those listed above, is that all the major search engines love fresh content. The more fresh, useful and relevant content you post, the more credibility it gives you in the eyes of Google and the higher you can expect to rise in the search engine results page as a consequence. Not only that, but in the eyes of a consumer, a website which is frequently updated builds more trust and confidence in that brand than in a website which hasn’t been updated in six months.
Undecided consumers may visit websites several times before deciding who to contact, and if your website has been updated with new content, since a user’s last visit, this makes you look more professional. According to the latest studies 70 per cent of consumers prefer to learn about a business through their articles and blog posts instead of their paid advertising.
This brings me to the next point! If 70% of consumers prefer to learn about you through content marketing which is extremely low cost, compared with traditional, expensive advertising methods, why wouldn’t you choose to invest in this?
Another benefit that content marketing has over traditional advertising is that it’s interactive. If you place an ad in a newspaper, a banner ad on Google, or market through television or radio, you will seldom have the opportunity to interact directly with your customers and get their feedback. Whereas, posting content on a blog, on Facebook or YouTube gives your audience a chance to post comments and tell you what they think. This lets you build a relationship. Even if a consumer has something negative to say in response to your post, this is often good news.
First, you get instant market feedback with having to pay for costly market research. Secondly, it gives you a chance to message people back and address their concerns straight away. If you handle negative feedback with grace and diplomacy and attempt to offer a solution, you may be able to convert a sceptic into a believer in both you and your product. Of course, many people will also share positive feedback which will let you know that you are on the right track. Sharing content online also gives consumers the chance to share your posts with their friends, which in the online world, is simply an extension of word of mouth advertising. Great content will inspire discussion, get everyone talking and provoke thought.
It keeps your business in the front of someone’s mind
It’s been said that a typical consumer needs to hear of your business and see your content and/or advertising at least 3-7 times before they will make contact with you. Therefore, if you publish content at regular intervals, it keeps reminding potential customers that you exist and moves them closer down the funnel towards encouraging them to make contact with you.
So why should you do content marketing?
- Content marketing positions you as an expert in your industry who people can trust
- Content marketing can help increase your search engine rankings, making it easier for people to find you online
- Content marketing starts a two-way conversation and lets you understand your target audience better as they respond to and comment on your post
- Most consumers prefer to read articles about a business than engage with traditional advertising
- Great content adds value, is cost-effective, and reminds people that you are still there
Finally, remember that you do not need to be a professional writer to engage in effective content marketing. If talking is more natural to you than writing, your content marketing could take the form of a podcast. You could also hire a writer to write your posts for you. This doesn’t even need to cost you money. You might know someone in your community who is good with words who would consider writing posts for you for free in exchange for you providing your services to them for free.