Entrepreneurs

Why Content Marketing Should Be the Foundation of Your Marketing Strategy

Not a single day goes by without me speaking to an early-stage entrepreneur who wants to discuss marketing and how to get quick results. So let’s just get this out of the way from the beginning: marketing takes time.

There are some tactics you can do that will generate a return on investment (ROI) in the relatively short term, but achieving real long-lasting results takes time. Put simply, anything you achieve in the short term will go down as fast as it went up. You want to play the long game. This is true even if you’re tempted to try some things that are less organic, but might look good on the surface, such as buying likes or followers. Don’t do that. 

Instead, here are five reasons you should start generating content on your own company blog as soon as you can: 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is very much a thing.

I know that social media gets all the hype nowadays and no one is talking about search anymore, but they’re wrong not to. A quick glance at the numbers will show you that search drives just as much traffic as social does, at least for the time being.

Once you’re sold on the importance of search, now the question is how to leverage it. I am obviously oversimplifying here, but the more incoming links to your site, the better. How do you get people to link to you? Well, some SEO experts would tell you to buy links. I say listen to Google and produce good content people want to talk about and link to. 

Get Social on Social Media

Let’s break down what social media means. The “media” part is obvious, but what about the “social” part? Are you engaging with people like you do offline or are you using Twitter as a glorified RSS feed or sales platform? 

I once heard a speech from the guy who invented the “Like” button at Facebook. He explained that he wanted to give people the ability to express appreciation for someone else’s content. What did it do? We ruined it by begging for likes.

How about instead of asking me to follow you, give me a reason to click “Like” or “Follow?” What’s the best reason to get someone to do that? Fill your feed with quality content, yours or someone else’s and that’s how you increase your numbers across social media. 

Public relations is not the same as content marketing.

Let’s clear one thing up: when you or someone on your team writes an article about the industry on the company blog, that is called content marketing. When a journalist writes about the company, that is called public relations (PR).

So why does content help with PR? When you pitch a journalist, the first thing he or she is going to do is Google your name or the company’s name. When there is no footprint on the Internet, that raises a red flag.

However, when he or she encounters all of your content, all of a sudden you are now a colleague, and not just a company pitching that journalist. Just like he or she produces content, you produce content.

Content changes the whole dynamic between you and journalists. 

Your user acquisition can be much more frictionless.

Whether you are running ads or acquiring users in another way, content makes the whole process that much easier.

It’s fairly straight forward. If I come across an ad for a company I’ve never heard of, I might click, I might not, but even if I do, it’s a very cold click, and converting me will be quite the challenge.

If, however, I see that ad and think to myself “Oh, I know that company. I read their blog, listen to their podcast, or follow them on Twitter,” the chances of me engaging are significantly higher. Simply put, content elevates your brand.

Business development with a stranger is not as fun as with someone who trusts you.

Finally, last but not least, content marketing helps with business development. Imagine going out to dinner with a potential customer and the person sits across from you with a look on his face that says “What are you selling this time?”

Now contrast that with the look on his face that says “I am loving your content. You clearly know your stuff and I want to work with professionals. So how do we get started?”

That right there is the difference between cold business development and warm business development. That is the difference between a company that produces valuable industry content and a company that only focuses on promoting themselves.  

So the bottom line in case it wasn’t clear? Stop reading this and start producing content of your own.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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