The top 10 perks of content marketing I've seen first-hand
Before embarking on any major project, you’re going to want to know that it’ll be worth it.
Whether we’re talking about a new year’s resolution for self-change or an entirely new business strategy, it’s important to understand the benefits.
If there are no tangible benefits, then what’s the point of starting down the path in the first place, right?
Content marketing is no different.
In fact, content marketing is a huge undertaking and not one to be considered lightly.
But I can promise you, while content marketing is a lot of work and takes time to see fruition, there are many advantages of implementing content marketing as a business strategy.
In this article, I outline the top 10 benefits of content marketing and give real examples of it in action.
Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Increased Traffic
One of the first major indications that “this content marketing thing is working” is when you start seeing more traffic to your website every month.
When you publish high-quality content on a consistent schedule, answering the most pressing questions your audience has about your products and services, search engines are more likely to rank you higher in their search results.
The higher you rank, the more visible your content will be to folks searching for answers to their problems, and the more likely they’ll find your content over your competitors’.
It should be noted that it can take a few months for traffic to really start taking off.
My first month of content marketing for the Alaska Sleep Clinic (publishing 2-3 articles per week), I saw a small increase in traffic: from about 2,500 visitors per month to 2,700.
The next month, my traffic went to 3,200.
The following: 4,500.
Then it jumped to over 7,000 visitors in one month. That’s when I really noticed content marketing was working -- and it just kept going.
Within a year, my traffic had reached over 100,000.
Today, nearly five years since I started blogging, traffic to that website generates over 400,000 visitors each month.
And it all started with a slight increase of 8% in new visitors.
2. More Leads
As content marketers, we love seeing more traffic coming to our websites each month, but those on your sales team won’t be as impressed until they see more leads coming their way.
Without leads to work, they won’t be able to close any new deals.
When you’re writing valuable articles and developing premium gated content, you’re bound to start seeing more leads flowing in.
In fact, I once worked with an industrial wastewater company (SAMCO) that never had a single lead come through their website.
After the first month of offering an eBook that was accessible only through filling out a form, they brought in seven leads. Their salespeople took notice.
Then it went to twelve, then twenty-four.
Their sales team was fairly impressed.
Last month, after two years of consistent content marketing, they had a total of 593 leads from the website alone.
Their sales team are now overwhelmed by the sheer number of leads they have to follow up with every month.
3. Additional Customers
Easily the most important benefit of content marketing is an increase in revenue. Without more revenue, content marketing, like any tactic, simply wouldn’t be worth the time and effort.
If your sales team is actively participating in creating new content (whether it be by writing articles themselves or even just using content in their sales process), many of those leads they’re chasing will ultimately close as customers.
Another client I worked with, Slick Woody’s Cornhole Boards, started off the summer of 2016 by selling 20 cornhole boards through their website.
After consistently publishing high-caliber content on all things cornhole, they reported 891 customers closed in June 2018.
I’d call that flippin’ awesome.
4. Higher Ranking Keywords
While traffic, leads, and sales are the most tangible indicators of content marketing success (and the ones we often praise the most), there’s many more you should be aware of.
Despite labelling traffic as one of the first performance indicators you should keep an eye out for, it’s not the first one that takes place.
For traffic to start trickling into your website, search engines first have to index and rank the content you’re putting out.
If you’re using tools like SEMrush, you’re able to track your keyword growth over time.
The more keywords you rank for and the higher positions you hold for those keywords, the more likely people will find your content in the first place.
When you start content marketing, you’ll first notice a growth in overall keywords, but most define “ranking” for a keyword as being in the top 100 search results (first 10 pages).
While it’s great to do this, most people don’t go beyond the first page of a search engine result. In fact, first page results account for an average of 95% of all organic clicks, and the top 5 results garner about 67%.
Check out these two graphs of a current client’s (AIS-NOW) keyword growth over time. The first one shows their total keywords over time, and the second shows their first page keywords.
5. More Engagement From Visitors
Sure, people might be finding your content through search and visiting your website, but how can you tell if it’s engaging? If it really resonates with them (short of asking)?
Diving into HubSpot or Google Analytics, there are some great behavioral metrics to give you some clues into how engaged your visitors are. Here are some of the most telling:
Dwell Time: How long do the average visitors stay on your pages? If your average dwell time is only a few seconds, it’s a pretty good indicator your content is–how can I put this nicely–garbage.
However, if your average dwell time is higher, say a couple of minutes, it’s a good indicator they see the value in your content and are taking their time absorbing all your knowledge.
Bounce Rates: A bounce occurs when a visitor views one page of your site and one page only during a session. Whether they bounced immediately (really bad sign) or stuck around long enough to read the whole article, they left your site after viewing a single page.
If you’re doing content marketing right, you’re not only answering the question that brought them to your site in the first place, but you pique their interest enough they want to continue learning more from you and either click on another blog article, a call-to-action for an offer, or go to your navigation bar to explore your services and products pages.
Shares: Is your content so amazing that visitors can’t help but want to share it with their friends and social media followers?
Comments: Are your blog articles so provocative they launch discussions in your comments section? If you’re having trouble getting engagement going on your blog articles, try asking questions that will compel your audience to get conversations going.
Backlinks: People link to quality resources from their own websites and blogs. If you start noticing more backlinks to your website, it means people look to you as a trusted authority in your industry.
6. Increased Brand Awareness
How did you find this article?
Did you enter a search?
Open an email?
Click on a social post somewhere or follow a link from another website?
Is this your first time here, or are you an occasional-to-frequent reader?
If you’ve been researching content marketing, video marketing, HubSpot, website redesign, or some other digital business related search, have you seen our name before?
If you have, it’s proof that content marketing promotes brand awareness.
In fact, looking at our own Google Analytics, out of close to 4 million unique visitors to our site this year, over 500,000 of them were returning visitors.
Which begs the question: why do people come back to certain websites?
7. Builds Trust with Audience
As internet searchers, we seek out information from sources we trust, respect, and enjoy.
With so much content out there, it can be difficult to separate the gems from the trash.
So, once we find reputable sources of information, we return there frequently for answers.
If you want to build trust with your audience, there’s no better way than creating and sharing content that is relevant, informative, and helpful.
This shows that you are an expert; that you are knowledegable and have the reader’s best interests in mind.
At the end of the day, people want to learn from and do business with people they can trust. It’s that simple.
8. Improved Sales Funnel
Great content marketing can shorten your sales cycles.
Depending on how expensive or important a purchase is, many people will want to do a lot of research.
If solid answers to their questions are hard to come by, it can take quite a bit longer before they’re ready to make a purchase.
If you’re creating content that genuinely answers those questions, you can help people make better decisions faster.
And there’s a much better chance that purchase will be made from you.
9. Longer-Term ROI than Paid Advertising
Content marketing is the long game. It’s slow to start but it snowballs over time.
It’s also a lot of work.
Many companies don’t have the patience or vision to see this all through and instead choose to play the more expensive, faster game of paid advertising.
Guy Kawasaki (former Macintosh original, current Canva CEO, and world speaker), once famously said, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.”
While content marketing is slower to start, the traffic and leads it can generate can last years, whereas paid traffic ends as soon as your budget runs out.
I have articles written nearly five years ago that still comfortably reside on the first page of Google and continue to convert new leads. There are thousands of companies, IMPACT included, that can say the same.
10. Stay Ahead of the Competition
I’ve worked with clients in dozens of industries and it still amazes me how few of their competitors are doing content marketing effectively (or at all!).
Many of your competitors are probably taking the easy, expensive route by doing paid advertising.
Many times when I do see companies’ competitors producing content, they’re not tackling the topics most relevant to the consumers. They opt instead to publish information about themselves that amounts to little more than self-aggrandized back-patting like blog articles on who in the organization got a promotion or how they donated a check to a local charity.
I’m not saying these kinds of posts are irrelevant, but many companies only have this kind of content.
Even if your competitors are producing relevant content, it’s all the more reason to catch up as fast as you can. You don’t have to beat them on volume at first either. Look at the questions they’ve answered and write answers that are 10X better.
Become the most trusted source of information in your industry and you will beat out your competition at every turn.
So there you have it, the top 10 benefits of content marketing.
I would love to hear more from you about what benefits you’ve seen so far or what benefits you’d like to see content marketing bring to your organization.
And of course, if you need help getting started with content marketing or fine-tuning your strategies we’d love to chat with you about some of our services. If you’d like to get a free content marketing assessment to see how IMPACT may be of service to you, request a free consultation.
Wondering where to begin?