I have a nagging childhood habit I never grew out of — asking "why?"
Whether it's understanding the behaviors of the Asian elephant or the thought process that went into a questionable birthday gift, I always need to know the why behind things. But this is far from a bad thing.
Asking why is invaluable in making business decisions, especially when it comes to long-term commitments and strategies like content marketing, inbound, and They Ask, You Answer.
With time, money, resources, and even pride on the line, your organization needs to know if an initiative is worth it. What will you get out of content marketing? Will it actually achieve what your organization needs to?
These are all valid concerns and, well, I have dedicated the majority of my career — nearly a decade — to content marketing, and it's with good reason.
Content marketing isn't just a buzzword, and it's also not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to do well and time to see it to fruition, but there are immense benefits and advantages when you do. To help ease your mind, in this article, we’ll take a deep dive into:
Statistics that show the benefits of content marketing
The 10 biggest content marketing benefits
How to successfully execute on your content marketing strategy
Content Marketing Benefits by the Numbers
Content marketing comes with a number of qualitative and quantitative benefits.
While the degree of these will vary depending on what your organization specifically puts into it, here's the impact on buyers and marketing we have seen at a high level.
We'll go deeper into some of these numbers shortly, but overall, you can see the strategy has become a critical part of the decision-making process for today's modern buyer.
The 10 biggest content marketing benefits
Whether your brand is investing in it or not, consumers are demanding quality content, but if that's not enough to convince you of its importance, here are 10 benefits of content marketing you can't ignore.
According to BrightEdge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and with more and more people researching their purchases online before buying, you want to ensure your name, product, or solution is there to be found.
When done correctly (Starting with what Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask, You Answer calls The Big 5, then refining around the specific keywords from Semrush), content marketing can help your website and brand rank higher in search engines for popular keywords and phrases buyers are searching for during their research process.
Why does this matter? Well, research shows, the first page of search engine results account for an average of 95% of all organic clicks, and the top five results garner about 67%.
The more keywords you rank for and the higher positions you hold for those keywords, the more likely potential customers will find it and click through to discover your website and brand.
Successful search engine optimization also leads to another huge benefit of content marketing...
2. Increased organic traffic
With increased search engine rank usually comes increased organic search traffic, in other words, interested, active traffic you don't have to pay for.
Yes, you can certainly drive visitors to your website via social media, paid ads, etc., but when you consistently publish high-quality, relevant content, addressing your audience's most pressing questions and interests, you are creating more and more opportunities to get found in search engines without any additional effort on your part.
But remember, it can take a few months for traffic to really start taking off.
Speed depends heavily on the difficulty of ranking for the keywords you're going after (which in turn depends on how much competition is going after it), and your site’s technical structure among other things.
3. Increased brand awareness
How did you find this article?
Was it through a search engine? An email? A social post? A link from another website? Was this blog post (or another for that matter) how you first became aware of IMPACT?
If so, that is exactly what we mean when we say content marketing promotes brand awareness. No one can buy from you if they don't even know you exist.
Every time you create content around the topics your audience cares about, you also create an opportunity for a new person to come upon it in a search engine, social media, or elsewhere, see your name, maybe even click, and become aware of your brand.
If you're high-quality, relevant content, people will also come to think of your brand as a reliable resource; one that offers value and is worth keeping an eye on (and maybe even buying from one day).
Plus, great content marketing is much more likely to get shared on social channels, further extending its reach and potential to build awareness through referral traffic.
4. Better conversions (a.k.a. more leads)
Awareness and traffic are great, but traffic that converts is even better, and as we noted earlier in our statistics, content marketing can help there as well.
Modern buyers are savvy to online marketing and sales tactics. They know when they fill out a form or give a brand their email, they run the risk of being spammed, so they hold that information close to their chests.
They are much more willing to exchange their contact information (a.k.a. convert) for something they see of value — things that educate or entertain them. Enter content.
Every piece of content you create can be a conversion opportunity. You can place it behind a form, requiring people to convert to access it, or optimize it ungated with calls-to-actions to lead to related conversion points such as services or subscriptions.
When you're creating high-quality ungated content like articles and pillar pages that answer your reader's questions and appeal to their interests, you build trust.
Again, consumers start to see you as a helpful resource rather than just a brand out to get their buck.
As explained in They Ask, You Answer, this trust makes them more comfortable filling out a form on your site to get a piece of content or even converting to do business with you down the line — but more on that later.
5. Increased engagement
According to the Economist Group, 71% of buyers say they are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch. When you're creating customer-focused, educational content marketing, you can help avoid this fate!
Valuable content marketing not only earns more clicks and views (and avoids eye rolls), but it also keeps visitors scrolling and clicking through more pages. In other words, it keeps them on your site and engaged with your brand longer.
Not only does this help build customer relationships, but search engines take notice and weigh this in your rank.
Similar effects are seen with social media content. If someone likes what they see, they are more likely to spend more time exploring your brand on your profile, reading posts, and even hitting follow/like or moving through to your website.
This tells the platform's algorithm you’re producing content that is valuable and is worth showing to new users organically.
6. Shortened sales cycle
Great content marketing can also help shorten sales cycles.
Aside from helping leads become more qualified — educated about your product and service (and, in turn, more likely to close faster) — you can also create sales enablement content specifically designed to help close deals.
In what we call assignment selling, sales reps intentionally use educational content about your products and services to resolve concerns and answer the burning questions of prospects before and during sales conversations.
This can include, but is not limited to, case studies, process breakdowns, pricing information, comparison articles, and reviews.
7. Lower overall cost (and higher ROI)
This one is pretty short and simple. As Demand Metric found, statistically content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing methods such as paid advertising, banner ads, billboards, and commercials.
Plus, your work builds upon itself. Once you start building site authority and seeing traction such as higher search rank, quality content will deliver more without much more immediate attention.
8. Establishes thought leadership
Thought leadership is one of the more intangible but still noteworthy benefits of content marketing.
When you do content marketing right, you're not just recycling all of the other information out there being shared by your competitors; you share your unique expertise and insights. The more innovative and effective your insights, the more you will be seen as a thought leader in your space.
This reputation can then manifest into increased conversions (as more people want to work with you or hear what you have to say), speaking gigs, and so many other opportunities.
9. Humanizes your brand
Content marketing is about breaking away from traditional sales pitches and connecting with consumers on a more personal level. When you're sharing educational and helpful content, you also have an opportunity to show your personality and share your voice.
If you invest in video content or podcasting, you can even literally do this! People get to see what you look like and hear what you sound like. They get to see your mannerisms just as they would if they met you in person.
All of these efforts help humanize you as a brand. You are no longer just a cold logo, but an individual with a name, face, voice, and thoughts they want to hear. This humanization further builds the trust needed to make potential customers comfortable buying from you.
10. Builds trust with audiences
If you've noticed trust coming up a lot in this article, that's no coincidence. More than anything, content marketing is beneficial because it builds trust.
At the end of the day, people don't want to be tricked. They don't want to feel like they were forced into a purchase or made a poor decision with their money. They want to know anyone they're handing their hard-earned cash to is worthy of it. That they can trust that they will deliver on the promises they make.
With its ability to showcase your expertise, humanize your brand, educate, minimize sales pitches, and engage, no marketing tactic builds trust like content.
But how do you do content marketing right to reap these benefits?
Honestly, we'd probably surpass the run of The Simpsons if I detailed every single thing you need to do to be successful at content marketing, but since I know you certainly don't have 32 years to spare, I'll leave you with these five tips:
Invest in video as a medium: Content is not limited to just words on a page. Video is here to stay! If nothing additional, you should be investing in video as a medium and start by hiring a videographer to own the initiative, similar to a content manager.
Pay attention to your environment and current events: Notice how in my first tip, I said questions are a strong foundation for getting started with content. These are key words. Questions are a critical piece of your content strategy, but should not be your whole content strategy. Pay attention to hot topics and developments in your industry and current events that impact it. These will heavily impact the kind of content audiences want from you.
Stick with it: Content marketing is like a strong marriage, 'til death do us part. — Ok, maybe not that long, but it is something you have to start and stick with for the foreseeable future. When you do, you will reap both big monetary and brand benefits.