When you’re launching a content marketing program, it’s important to focus on short-term goals like web traffic growth, search engine visibility, PR, and lead generation. But if you focus too much on these strategic objectives, you’ll miss other aspects of your strategy that are just as important.
The benefits of content marketing are often more than what meets the eye: you may have the ability to create value for your customers and your employees in ways that you didn’t initially recognize. Here are five benefits you may have overlooked:
1. Conversation-starters for sales
Even among experienced sales leaders, prospect outreach can be a bit awkward. Put yourself in these team members’ shoes. How do you strike up a conversation in a way that isn’t promotional or aggressive?
The short answer: Use the content that you’ve created to add value to sales-related discussions. Send regular updates to your sales team with the content your marketing team is creating. Provide actionable tips on how to incorporate these resources into everyday conversations. Use content to build stronger off-the-bat relationships with potential customers.
As an example, take a look at the Ilos Video Blog. This early stage SaaS startup uses content to spark conversations with its target audiences, speaking to pain points that the company’s product addresses. By publishing helpful guides, the Ilos is able to spark conversations with potential customers who need the most help.
2. Enhanced outreach emails
As a marketer, you’re likely well-aware that cold email is one of the most impactful relationship-building and growth strategies out there—and having tested this channel yourself, you’ve come to realize its challenges.
When you’re reaching out to target audiences who are overloaded with email, how do you ensure that your messaging stands out from the crowd of promotional messaging?
The answer is simple: provide a compelling value proposition that makes it easy for your target audience to understand your what your company has to offer. Share the interesting content, research reports, and guides that you’re already publishing. Tailor these materials to specific pain points. Offer up helpful wisdom. Add more value to your cold emails with interesting, helpful resources.
For instance, take a look at the following outbound email from SaaS company EveryoneSocial. Rather than sending an empty sales pitch, the company distributes a valuable educational resource. The idea is to help audiences learn about the benefits that they will gain by implementing an advocacy program.
3. Educational time-savers
Every single person as your company has had to answer the same question over and over. Imagine what happens when you sum up the number of hours wasted with this type of repetition: it’s time to invest in new, creative initiatives instead. Content can help.
Next time that someone in your network, such as a customer, prospect, or partner, asks you a question, turn your answer into a blog post. Share this information with the rest of your organization, so you can all have it handy when the question comes up again.
Bonus points: over time, you’ll create a library of foundational, definitional content that you can also use for SEO purposes. Chances are that if people are taking the same questions that they’re asking your company to Google.
As an example, take a look at the following blog post from HubSpot. The company uses this blog post (and other definitional pieces) to teach key marketing concepts to target audiences. Rather than explaining the same information over and over, HubSpot can answer questions quickly—with the added benefit of keeping their messaging consistent.
4. Long-term Relationship Building
Growth isn’t always about immediate-term sales opportunities. In addition to closing deals now, you’ll also want to build a pipeline of prospects, partners, advocates, and everyone in between. Long story short, you need to build a brand community.
Content is one of the most straightforward ways to bring this goal to life. If you want to meet someone and have a substantive conversation, why not turn the interaction into an interview for a podcast or blog post? Your interviewees will appreciate the gesture and likely keep your company in mind for future opportunities—just as you have done for them.
For examples of strong interviewing, take a look at Convince & Convert’s podcasts that feature interviews with industry experts in marketing.
5. Actionable Knowledge Repositories
When new team members join your team, how do you get them up and running? Chances are that you have an onboarding program that lasts a week, max.
If only your new employees had resources that they could consult on an ongoing basis. Imagine how much time you would save and how much confusion you would alleviate. Not to mention, all team members—new and established at your company—could self-direct their own learning on a continued basis.
Content is key for your internal team’s learning and growth. Encourage team leaders to start blogging and documenting their processes.
As an example of this idea, check out this blog tutorial from H2O, which features an example of how to use the product. Both internal teams and clients can use this blog post as a learning resource. Rather than sharing something hypothetical, H2O can provide a tangible resource.
Content is one of the most valuable investments that your company can make. Beyond immediate marketing use cases for growth and lead generation, you can use these evergreen resources to spark conversations with prospects, share knowledge across your organization and with your audiences, and highlight the personalities behind your company. Think of content is the ultimate relationship-builder, and your “strategy” will fall into place.