If you’ve been involved in the marketing industry at all in the past decade, I imagine it’s pretty much impossible that you’ve avoided hearing about the benefits of content marketing. You know the basic concept of the strategy, and you’ve probably started your own campaign, at least in some form, but are you truly getting everything you can out of your efforts?
I look at most of the topics about the benefits of content marketing, and they always hit the high points well. They cover, in depth, some of the most profitable and appealing sides of the strategy, but they end up missing some of the lesser-known and underrated benefits that content marketing can bring.
The Usual Suspects
First, I want to hit on some of the most popular benefits of content marketing. These are commonly touted, as they should be, because they lend enormous value to your efforts. However, if you read content marketing news often, you’re probably getting tired of hearing them:
- Your brand will become more prominent and recognizable to a wider audience.
- Your thought leadership will make your brand more respectable and trusted.
- Including more calls-to-action in your material will help you secure more onsite conversions.
- Optimizing your articles and submitting work offsite can increase your rankings in search engines.
- Referral and social traffic. Your popular pieces can generate inbound traffic from social media sources and external publishers.
- Cost efficiency. Content marketing is one of the least expensive long-term marketing strategies to pursue.
Instead, I want to turn your attention to these six underrated and seldom-discussed benefits of content marketing, which apply to a number of different areas:
- Topic knowledge. When you’re searching for subjects, when you’re reading the news, and when you’re backing up your claims or researching the counterarguments to your position, you are gathering information. Yes, your main purpose here is to gather information that you can use in the context of your latest work, but that information is yours to retain. You’ll find yourself learning new skills, learning new sides to arguments, and earning more knowledge in your industry—think of it as a form of training that makes you not only a better marketer, but more of an expert in your respective field.
- Market research. Content marketing can serve as a secondary form of market research, completing a feedback loop that started when you researched your key demographics to plot your content strategy in the first place. How your readers respond to your content can tell you a lot about their dispositions and preferences. For example, do they react positively or negatively when you post about progressive changes? You can use this type of information to tailor your approach to product development and customer service, among other areas.
- Customer retention. Content marketing is mostly seen as a strategy to support customer acquisition, but in most cases, customer retention is far more valuable (not to mention more cost efficient). In addition to luring in prospects and potential customers with valuable information and product research, you can keep your existing customers happy with content about how to maintain your products, or how to improve their strategies once they’ve already started. Think of this as another content niche for you to target—it has a massive potential payoff if you do.
- Passive income (sell eBook). This one may require a slight adjustment to your content approach, but the potential payoff makes it worth it. Here, you can turn your content marketing initiative into another channel for revenue generation. Typically, this requires some form of “premium” content above and beyond what you ordinarily produce, such as a special research whitepaper or a full-fledged eBook. But if your work is valuable enough, you can sell it as you would another product for your brand. Even if you’re only charging a dollar or two per download, you could quickly rack up a nice passive income stream—and build your reputation in the process.
- Higher profits. This is another optional benefit on the list, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting out, but if you’ve spent years on your content strategy, you can really reap the rewards here. If you’re truly providing enough value to your users in your ongoing content, you can reserve a section of your content to be exclusive for paying customers, such as an unlocking mechanism for paid subscribers. You can even justify charging your customer more for access to this content, earning you additional income for your continued efforts.
- Personal brand benefits. If you’re using personal brands as drivers for your content strategy (as you should), you have to realize there are massive benefits for the individuals behind those brands. This will build your personal reputation in addition to your company’s reputation, and can serve as a portfolio or a resume for your future endeavors, whether you seek to work at another location or you start building a new company. Even if you stay with your company forever, you’ll increase your value to the organization, which comes with its own benefits.
When you look at content marketing, as a whole, with all the straightforward and all the peripheral benefits it offers, it seems crazy that anyone wouldn’t participate in the strategy. It takes some initial investment upfront, at least in terms of time and effort, but the long-term compounding payoffs are unrivaled.