This is Exactly How Strong Content Marketing Helps You Win

by | May 17, 2024 | Content, Marketing

I recently learned about a possible client opportunity thanks to content marketing. Here’s exactly how it went down…

  1. I post an infographic on LinkedIn.
  2. An industry friend from many years back happens to see it.
  3. He checks out my profile. Turns out his company could use what I do.
  4. He goes to my website.
  5. After seeing a call to action, he enters his email address to download some get some information (two separate PDF downloads).
  6. I see he’s downloaded it and reach out to say hi.
  7. He explains his company is looking for someone to help with their content marketing.
  8. I send him a TikTok video I happened to make yesterday that elaborates on the original content marketing infographic and demonstrates my expertise in that area.

At this point, he’s seen four pieces of content from me, including a video with my face and voice, and has clear evidence of my expertise. Plus, I was able to reach out to him directly and start a conversation.

Now, let’s compare that to a more traditional digital marketing approach.

  1. Someone Googles “marketing consultant”
  2. A PPC ad for a content marketing consultant comes up. She clicks it.
  3. She browses the website a bit.
  4. She leaves.
  5. Maybe she remembers to come back later. Maybe not.

That’s it.

That’s how most small businesses are doing their marketing.

And that’s the kind of difference content marketing can make for your business.

Why Content Marketing Matters to You

There are many definitions of content marketing floating around out there, but the simplest way to think about it is something like, “Marketing by providing useful and relevant content to your target audience (instead of just sales materials).”

An example of content marketing in action

For example, if you own a law firm that specializes in homeowners suing HOAs, you’re not going to find a lot of potential clients simply by putting up a website and maybe running some Google Ads for “HOA dispute lawyer” and related phrases.

You’ll get a few, but you’ll only catch them at the exact moment they search for that phrase (if you happen to outbid your competitors), and if you don’t convince them to fill out your contact form within about 30 seconds you’ll probably never see them again.

A content marketing approach would be more like this: You have a library of useful articles about HOA disputes (which aren’t hard to write because you live it every day). These show up when the prospective client is doing early searches about the conflict they’re having. They’re not even looking for an attorney yet. They’re just searching for information, and they find your articles.

The article leads them to a PDF download for “The 2024 Homeowner’s Guide to Fighting HOAs.” They put in their email address and get the download, and you can send a follow-up email sequence with more tips on how to fight HOAs. When they finally decide they need a lawyer, they don’t even need to search. They already know you’re their first call.

There’s a little more to it, of course, but you get the general idea.

Key benefits of content marketing

Content marketing has some powerful effects on the purchasing process, both for B2B and B2C companies.

  • Your brand gets in front of more customer (and earlier in their buying journey).
  • You can start communicating with customers before anyone else does.
  • It establishes your expertise on the subject in question.
  • The relationship shifts from you selling yourself (and putting customers on the defensive) to customers having a relationship of trust with your brand.
  • It gives you reasons to get their contact information (through gated content) even before they’re ready for a traditional “sales” conversation.
  • Your brand stays “top of mind” even if they’re not ready to buy right away, allowing you to eventually convert a larger percentage of the prospective customers you encounter.

And those are just the primary reasons. The secondary reasons might be even more compelling.

Why the Future of Your Company May Literally Depend on Your Content

Beyond the traditional reasons for adopting content marketing, there are more reasons related to future marketing trends that are less obvious, but still absolutely vital in order to prepare your company for the future.

For obvious reasons, content marketing is a powerful way to boost your SEO. Google has an army of PhDs constantly looking for ways to identify and promote high-quality content, so the most powerful SEO technique is—and always has been—to put out great content that answers questions people search for.

However, as people increasingly turn to AI with questions and AI grows increasingly capable of answering them, even Google can see that searching for keywords on websites feels like an increasingly old-fashioned way to get what you need. ChatGPT scared the crap out of them, and they’re piling tremendous resources into preparing for a post-search world.

However, all these new LLM-based chat systems have one thing in common: they’re trained on content they find online.

When you ask ChatGPT or Gemini or Claude or any of these other systems a question, their answer is based on content other people have written.

Whoever writes content today shapes the answers of tomorrow.

If you want your company to come up in those those AI answers, if you want the conversation to lean your direction, if you want to get your talking points out there, you’d better dang well be producing that content today.

It can take years for that information to actually show up in LLM AI systems, so if you want a voice in those AI answers that are rapidly replacing search engine results pages, you can’t afford to wait around to see how it all plays out. You’ll be years too late.

I can’t think of any element of marketing that’s more vital, more fundamental, and more pressing to companies today than content marketing. It’s a long-term play, sure, but if you want your company to stick around you need to start making those long-term plays as soon as possible.

By the time it feels urgent, it’ll be years too late.

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