Building a successful brand these days requires you (or your business) to have credibility and authority in your marketplace. Regardless of the size of your market share, your company, or the number of players in your industry, it’s possible for you to become a business leader in your field. Content marketing is one of the most useful ways of doing this, according to the The Content Marketing Playbook For 2015 from Forrester Research. Here’s how content marketing works and how to make it work for you.
Creates Thought Leadership & Builds Trust
Becoming a thought leader is a vital aspect of building trust with your target audience. Customers are far more likely to connect with and take advice from someone whose opinion they believe to be trustworthy. By creating and distributing suitable content, you spread the word about your knowledge and expertise. Generic content won’t cut it, however; it’s important to produce content that encourages your readers to view things differently, think about what matters to them and ultimately envision the future they want to create.
By publishing quality content regularly, you will:
- Show up earlier in search results, which gives you greater credibility
- Develop your online profile, which gives you authority in your market, and
- Build a library of resources customers can use, which makes them trust and believe in your expertise.
Boosts Brand Awareness And Reputation
One of content marketing’s main goals is to boost brand awareness, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute, with 79% of marketers quoting this as a critical organizational goal. An analysis from InfiniGraph shows brands that create quality content consistently drive more engagement, which ultimately gives them the edge in search and promotes their reputation in their marketplaces. Imagine what having 100 pieces of written content alive and well in cyberspace would do for your company image?
Benefits Searchability and Drives Traffic
An active content marketing strategy helps benefit your searchability, because Google’s algorithm prefers to highlight sites that are updated regularly. By publishing content frequently and using best SEO practices, your site ranks higher in search and you generate more traffic. This promotes your credibility and authority because it is considered a reliable indicator that you provide information of value for your users.
Augments and Accelerates Your PR
Content marketing is a valuable way to boost your public relations (PR) strategy. In the past, companies had to pay big money for the distribution of press releases to the media and the advertising space accompanying an advertorial. With content, you can publish your material on your own site for little to no cost, distribute it to your mailing list without any fees and generate engagement on your social media profiles to spread word of mouth.
This use of “owned media” is typically more successful than paid media and much, much more cost-effective. While it might not measure up to the value of earned media coverage, marketers have very little control over generated publicity so this provides backup and augmentation to help get the real message across.
Then there’s syndication, which is the opportunity to share, re-purpose and re-use your content across your various media, and collaboration in the form of guest posting, citations and attribution. This increases your reach while it reduces your unit cost for content production.
Lead Generation and Nurturing
By obtaining users’ information in exchange for your material, you have the chance to build a list of prospective clients to target, with information about where they are in the buying cycle. You can nurture them through the process, building up additional credibility by providing them with the right information, at the right time, using the right channels. By the time the prospect is ready to make his buying decision, there’s little doubt in his mind as to which vendor is the most credible and authoritative recipient of his business.
Develops Link Acquisition and Online Partnerships
There are few things that drive credibility and authority as much as someone else linking to your content and using you as a resource. Without content, however, you have nothing to offer those users who might reference your work and share it with their audiences. And Google loves inbound links from other quality sites, using them to boost your rank in search and the your online profile. By creating content that earns shares, backlinks and citations, you develop “partnerships” with other sites for the dissemination of your information.
Content marketing done correctly turns you into a published author and a public figure. This gives your business higher online visibility, better status and authority, and turns you into a credible expert in your industry. Every aspect of your journey can be controlled by careful management of your content. Don’t leave your reputation to chance; take control of your content and you’ll have complete ownership of your online profile.