Why Content Marketing Is Essential to Customer Relationships and Brand Awareness
Written by: Rick Whittington
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"Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first," quipped entrepreneur Wendy Piersall in 2007. Want to increase the reputation of your brand online?
Content marketing is something you can't ignore if you do marketing or advertising on the internet. If you want to attract customers and generate sales, content is crucial. From brilliant blog posts to video and more, you'll need it to attract and close new business.
Here are a few reasons why content marketing is essential if you want your prospects to talk about your brand.
1. Content Marketing Builds Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your company. It can cement your position in a competitive marketplace or in a specific niche.
Exposing your brand through content marketing is a great way to build brand mindshare. Mindshare is the amount of buzz your product or service generates. The more mindshare your business has with your prospects, the more business you'll attract.
Here's how to do it.
- Create content that addresses the needs of your ideal customer on a regular basis. Depending on your niche, you might write blog posts summarizing events in your industry. You might write product tutorials or how-to guides. You might tell a story of serving a customer via case studies. You might write product reviews or film demo videos. You might share slides from a talk or write a whitepaper.
- Encourage your readers to comment and share your content. If you want this to happen organically, you'll have to make it useful to them.
- Don't forget about how people will consume your content on a mobile device. eMarketer reports that there will be over 2 billion smartphone users in 2016. Smartphones are the second most popular device used to search the web. Produce content that's easy to view on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly too so people will have a positive experience.
2. Content Marketing Can Make Your Company an Industry Thought Leader
Thought leaders are experts in their respective niches. Publishing and sharing content over time will make you a go-to authority figure.
After I had been blogging for a few years, other companies began linking to our website. Journalists called for interviews on internet marketing topics. I appeared as a guest on podcasts. I spoke at conferences and meetings.
That's not to brag. But it does prove the power of sharing your thoughts and stories.
So how can your company influence more purchasing decisions?
- Put yourself out there. Create authoritative content that educates, informs and entertains. You may be an experienced practitioner in your industry, but are unknown. Offering up your experience can establish yourself as a specialist in your industry.
- Don't let perfect become the enemy of good. Your blogs and videos don't need to be perfect. You just need to write them and film them, then share them. We write over 100 blogs per month for clients, and several good ones don't get published because of overthinking.
- Know your ideal prospect. Thought leadership requires a thorough understanding of your customer. Improve your credibility by citing reputable sources, checking facts and improving your social clout. Enlighten followers with expert industry-specific tips and must-read perspectives. Most importantly, write on their level, not your peers'.
3. Content Marketing Builds Trust
Creating relevant content can increase trust between your company and its customers. Having difficulty engaging with companies you want to sell to? A well-planned content marketing strategy can attract those prospects and make you a contender.
- Don't just talk about your products. Instead, compare your technologies with others. Write on the state of you ideal customers' industry. Share tips that they will find useful.
- Address the competition. Let's face it. There are times when your competitor's product is better than yours. Let people know the hows and whys. Both prospects and Google will reward you for it.
- Don't be afraid to talk about price/cost. My friend Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion) wrote a great piece on why you should talk about price. Read it. Your honesty will build trust, even if you aren't the least expensive option.
Providing in-depth information positions your company as a transparent resource. It will increase your online reputation and you'll see sales as a result.
Generating top-quality content increases engagement and boosts the visibility of your brand online. If you want to increase brand awareness or become a sought-after thought leader in your niche, content marketing might be the way to go.