Great content essentially gets doubly rewarded: Once by the readers with whom you’ve connected, and once more by the search algorithms that recognize some measurable aspects of that engagement.
Moving up Google rankings alone might be enough to justify the time and energy investments you need to put into a good content strategy, but you can do so much more with good content than simply pull organic traffic.
Below are 5 other arenas of marketing that engaging content can boost – and I’m including a real-world case study for each point so you can see how these applications of content marketing work in practice.
Content Lets You Reach Potentially Thousands Upon Thousands of Social Media Users
Social media have enormous potential because of the scales at which they work. The flipside of that is anything on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. only has a split second to capture the reader’s attention.
It’s not like Treme where everyone gives it a season before they pass judgement. People are powering through streams and news feeds on the subway or while waiting in line for coffee. Bite-size chunks work best here.
Fortunately, the best content will typically have nuggets of information or intrigue that you can unearth, share and engage people with.
Real-World Example: Social Media Today’s Keith Goldberg has a case study about a pita chip company that re-launched its brand on social media by sharing “‘story themes’ based on brand benefits and a deep knowledge of our target audience.”
Within six months, the brand was at 160% of its goal for new followers, bringing in more than a half million engaged unique users.
Content Can Help You Earn Big PR Wins
Earned media are one of the biggest assets a business can have. An established and presumably trusted third party sharing something newsworthy about your company elevates your business’ reputation higher than any million-dollar ad campaign ever could.
Publishing and promoting useful, informative, engaging content on your owned channels will gradually build a familiarity within your audience. These people might not be ready to buy, but you’re on their radar.
Even better, it puts you on the radars of other publishers and influencers. Priming those relationships with consistently useful content will make it easier to ultimately pitch your story to those influencers.
Then, when your audience sees these influencers vouch for you, they’ll be much more likely to opt in to your list, follow you on social media or buy from you.
Real-World Example: London-based agency MediaVision put together a content campaign to mark the company’s 10th anniversary and promoted that content to specific blogs and other publications. One infographic in particular got picked up by Hubspot, Adweek, MediaBistro and MarketingLand.
All told, the additional exposure resulted in a three-fold increase in warm leads to the agency.
Content Can Translate Directly Into Cash Money
Content doesn’t have to drive soft results like engagement or leads; it can bring your business real money, too. The key is to deliver highly relevant content along each prospect’s journey through your sales funnel.
I wrote about content marketing and direct sales extensively earlier this year, but the idea was best summed up by Docurated’s VP of Marketing, Fergal Glynn:
“By creating content assets with the buyer’s journey in mind, implementing a clearly defined lead management process, scoring and nurturing leads, and analyzing lead behavior, fast-growing sales teams are equipped with the knowledge and information needed to effectively convert leads to customers.”
Real-World Example: Blog Marketing Academy’s David Risley has a killer recent case study of a health blog that increased its revenue by an order of magnitude just by meeting various readers at their different levels of interest with targeted, relevant content.
That post could also double as a crash course in blog monetization. Don’t skip it.
Content Can Make Building a Strong Email List Automatic
If you have been publishing great content for a while now, some valuable insights have likely been shuffled to deep within your archives. Anything that’s worth more than the long-tail organic traffic it brings in needs to be dusted off and repurposed.
That “100 Resources” post you published in 2012? Refresh the thing, give it a headline with a very clear value proposition, and offer it up to incoming readers in exchange for an email address.
Real-World Example: Content repurposing only barely scratches the surface here, too. Just take a look at these case studies from Josh Hayman, who founded a company called Interact that builds lead-generating quizzes for publishers. One publisher, ViewsBank, pulled 1,191 email leads from a single seasonal quiz called “Which reindeer are you?”
Content Is In The Process of Revolutionizing Advertising
There is a huge discussion to be had about the relationship between traditional advertising and content marketing, but I’m going to narrow the focus into one particularly clever bit of black magic: Retargeting.
Retargeting allows for much more relevant advertising — these people have already demonstrated some interest in your content, so the display ad pretty much amounts to a polite follow-up.
Real-World Example: Justin Brooke from IMScalable throws some cold water on my excitement with his post “Everyone Is Doing Retargeting Wrong.” There is one important step, he writes, that many retargeters forget, and they’re leaving ad budget money on the table as a result.
Tweaking that one step, however, made all the difference for one client that had been pouring money down the drain with retargeting. Now, they’re seeing a 600%-plus return on that investment.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.