From a buzzword to a mainstay, content marketing has risen to stake its claim as one of the best advertising and marketing strategies, rivaling almost all traditional advertising ones.
Related: From Bedtime to the Boardroom: Why Storytelling Matters in Business
But that doesn't mean content marketing is now ubiquitous. No, the problem seems to be that business owners aren't ignoring content marketing; they just don't know what it is. According to the Content Marketing Institute; Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action”
So, why aren't business owners engaging in content marketing more? One answer may be that they don't understand it.
And here I have an explanation. To keep things simple, I like to say that content marketing is just good old storytelling. Make that storytelling to a targeted audience, with a precise purpose: to convert your audience members into customers.
Here are a few reasons why smart business owners should stop stalling, put a blog on their sites and start investing in credible content marketing efforts.
1. Everyone reacts to a good story.
Storytelling was one of humankind's earliest means of communication, and through the ages it has remained relevant. Stories, after all, are human triggers. While it is an established fact that humans have a short reading span online, almost everyone will slow down for a beautifully told story or other creative content.
That reminds me of the wisdom shared by Nirmal Gyanwali, a Sydney-based web design expert, at the 2015 Content Marketing World Conference. Said Gyanwali: "Content marketing, when done properly, is bound to generate more inbound traffic to your site for the reason that good content marketing focuses on what the people want to hear and not what the business wants to tell them. Stories are good bait. [Listeners will] always bite.”
Related: The 5 Elements of Storytelling Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
2. Everyone likes a storyteller.
The one major reason I used to always like to go see Grandma as a kid was her stories. She was such a great storyteller that I would sit for hours on end listening to her. My point? Everyone loves a good storyteller.
Creative and engaging content increases your brand awareness and popularity. And shares can be responsible for a major portion of the engagement you get. When readers are used to seeing consistent shares and great content, your name sticks, along with information about the services you offer. Oftentimes you become the first port of call when they need the type of services you offer.
3. Great storytellers can put you before the right audience.
Consistently tell great dog stories, and you will get a lot of dog lovers and dog owners listening. Similarly, content marketing is a great way to reach a targeted audience rather than a wide, unspecified crowd.
It is also a great investment to invest in content marketing experts who know their salt, because it is one thing to do it versus do it well. Revcontent, for instance, has revolutionized the content recommendation and advertising world, and grown into a content innovation powerhouse, with some of the leading business publications as its clients.
CEO and founder John Lemp talks about the importance of engaging with users in a high-quality user experience with valuable content. “Surprisingly, it’s not always the sites you think of that have the best engagement," Lemp has said. "We’ve turned down media brands that aren’t reaching our idea engagement level.
"People who are continually building a relationship with their users, a stronger user path, a larger user base — people who are putting their users first: That’s who we really see the best engagement from.”
4. A great story is cheaper than a news article.
It’s true that resources like the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, My News Tips, and Kiplinger provide valuable business-related news for entrepreneurs. But many people still prefer to go to the barbershop any time they want to hear a great story or get the latest news, probably because of the way that news will be delivered.
I agree with Chris Walker, a Denver-based SEO expert. He said, “One of the most effective SEO strategies is content marketing. However, great content marketing is not necessarily about the information you pass but how creatively you pass that information.”
Too many businesses are still resting on the oars of traditional branding and traditional good marketing strategies. They view these as dependable, and content marketing as an add-on, should they ever need more engagement.
And the fact is that content marketing is far cheaper and cost effective. Yet, if done well, it will almost always guarantee you more engagement. Rather than invest $1,000 in traditional branding, you could invest $500 in great content and get twice the engagement and conversion level.
5. Everyone can get hooked in to a great storyteller.
Talk about customer loyalty and you'll see content marketing become the joker in the pool of marketing cards. It personalizes your brand, especially if you consistently write in an aligned brand voice and bring a personal touch to your content.
Related: 4 Storytelling Techniques That Can Help You Increase Your Sales
When customers grow attached to brands, they aren’t becoming attached to a logo — they’re becoming attached to the people behind that logo. So, recognize that the most important of those people is you, the storyteller. And you'll see those customers come around to hear you more often.