Why Content Marketing is critical to business growth in 2024

Why Content Marketing is critical to business growth in 2024

John Wallace
By John Wallace

Why is content marketing important? Content is everywhere, it’s the words on webpages, the videos you watch on YouTube and the social media posts you interact with. Whether it's offline or online, in traditional marketing or digital marketing, content is how you reach people and build an audience, communicate your message and impact the market. There’s even an argument to be made that ads are just content, albeit with a clear goal.

In a way, content is the basis of everything in marketing. It’s the vessel you use to communicate to the market what your brand is all about, and why people should choose you over a competitor. Without content, you’re missing out on capturing your ideal customer’s attention—you’re relying on them finding you when they’re ready to make a purchase… somehow.

There’s a catch to content though. It’s incredibly easy to do it wrong, and spend huge amounts of time and money producing content that no-one consumes, or worse—no-one gets any value from. To do content properly, you need a strategy. A plan to produce the right content for the right audience, and share it in the right place, at the right time so that it drives meaningful results for your business. There’s a name for strategic, calculated content creation and distribution– Content Marketing. In 2024, having a good Content Marketing strategy to support and amplify your overall marketing efforts is absolutely essential.

If you’re not convinced, here’s 3 reasons why Content Marketing is so important for your business, and a simple 5-step process to get started. Let’s begin.

1. Content Marketing is how you become recognised as an expert and a leader in your industry.

Content marketing is how you become recognised as an expert and a leader in your industry

One of the most important things about creating content is that it needs to be valuable. If your content isn’t valuable to your audience, it’s just noise. Good content educates, informs and entertains your audience, preparing them to make better purchasing decisions and helping them improve their way of life. You don’t even need to be the ultimate expert in your field to produce valuable content, you just need to be more experienced than your audience and willing to put in the work to find, share and draw conclusions from information. 

Creating and distributing valuable, informative content positions you, your business and your brand as an expert in your field. Helping people to understand a topic, make better decisions or  achieve something will build respect, loyalty and brand familiarity. Think about it, if someone teaches you how to do something, and then you see their brand when shopping for a product, you’re probably going to want to buy from them. This is because you’ve developed trust for that brand, you’ve experienced their value and you’re familiar with them. Familiarity and trust are massive psychological factors that influence a customer’s purchasing decision. 

If you’re convinced content marketing is what you want, but are thinking about getting someone else to do it for you—why not check out our Organic Marketing service. We’ll create content, distribute it and optimise it all for you. So you can focus on running your business and doing what you do best. 

That was an example of how to leverage the trust and respect you’ve built with your audience, and offer a solution to their problem. Ideally, you want to be offering this solution just before they’re looking for it. This makes their journey smooth and effortless, as you’ve anticipated the problem they’ll need solved next. 

By creating high-quality, valuable and relevant content you know your target audience loves, you'll get their attention and make a lasting impression, positioning yourself as a leader in your industry. 

Tip 1. How to produce content that positions you as an expert and an authority through content.

  • Start by discovering what makes you unique or special in your industry, or, find your niche, as they say. Consider what you do differently—perhaps that goes against the typical approach in your industry—and focus on that theme while creating content typical to your industry.
  • Ensure that your content is better than anything else out there. Or at least the majority. AI has really lowered the barrier to entry for content, meaning there’s more content being published on the internet than ever before. That’s not a cliche expression either, quite literally there’s more than ever. To stand out in this sea of sameness, your content needs to be better. More detailed, more accurate, less fluffy and more valuable.
    See our article on how the Digital Marketing landscape has changed, and what we’re doing about it.
  • Make sure your content is in the right format, and distributed through the channels that your audience is most receptive to. If your target audience is not particularly fond of reading long articles, create videos instead. Or share your content in drip-form through email. Infographics are also a great way to see information visually.

2. Content Marketing is incredibly cost-effective.

If you’re creating content in a very reactive way, where you’re always asking “what should we post next?”, it’s going to be time consuming and expensive. But done right, content marketing is all about creating resources that are ‘evergreen’. This means creating content that stays relevant and valuable to people over time. To do this, you need to spend more time in the planning and strategy phase. At Dilate, we spend a lot of time understanding the market, your customer and the journey they go on before they’re ready to purchase a product or service. We’re looking for what questions they ask, what information they need to know and what tangential interests they might have. 

One of the main things that makes content marketing different to just creating content is how you go about getting people to actually consume said content. Marketing is all about understanding your market, how people behave and what they want—and giving that to them. With organic content marketing, one of the core (and easiest!) ways we understand what people want is through search query data. Essentially, we’re looking at keywords (what people search in Google) and how frequently those queries are searched each month. This data comes from Google directly, and other third-party data/SEO research SaaS companies (like Ahrefs and Semrush). By understanding the intent behind what people are searching, we can create content specific to these search queries that rank in Google, Bing and so on.

By ranking our content in Google’s search results (written content on our blogs, and video content on YouTube channels, for example), we can get it in front of our predetermined target audience. This leads to free, consistent traffic to our content. 

Now that we’ve met the right people in the right place, all we need to do is make sure we’re providing them with real value, and the right message. While it can be difficult and time consuming to create content that not only ranks in Google, but satisfies the search intent of your visitors and provides value—the result is worth it. 

One of the notable content-related wins we’ve had here at Dilate was for a client in the building materials ecommerce space. We grew their monthly blog traffic from essentially nothing, to enough traffic to drive over $50,000 of additional sales in a single month. That’s $50,000 in revenue, from creating content—just blogs—in a month.

That's 50,000 in revenue

The most exciting part is that there’s still room to grow that particular content operation; to reach new channels and platforms, and produce content on more varied topics. 

Whether you’re running a small to medium business with no marketing department, or a large enterprise with an in-house marketing team, an organic content strategy is one of the most cost-effective ways to drive brand awareness—while simultaneously building strong relationships with your target audience.

Tip 2. How to get your content in front of people organically (i.e. not through paid ads)

  • Repurpose your content across a variety of organic social media channels like Instagram, Threads, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook with tailored content, to reach your target audience. For example, you can start by writing a blog post, then sharing snippets of it on Instagram, with links back to the main article.
  • Make sure you’re incorporating SEO into your content marketing efforts. Without optimising your content for Search Engines, and making sure it ranks, you’re missing out on the lion’s share of traffic and engagement.
  • Build an email list. Email is still the most cost-effective, highest performing advertising channel we have available to us. Make sure you’re actively turning readers into email subscribers, and sending great content to your email list.

3. Content Marketing is the foundation of a market-winning Organic Marketing strategy

Over the years we’ve been in business, we’ve had to change our approach to Digital Marketing, specifically the organic side, as the landscape evolved. This has been for a wide variety of reasons, but the main takeaway is this—Google’s mission has always been to connect people with the best content, but their algorithms have taken a long time to get to the point where they can do this effectively. 

SEO has always referred to the practice of making your site more appealing to Google, and therefore ranking higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). However, early SEO was about keyword stuffing—just cram in as many keywords as you can and you’ll rank first. It’s since evolved many, many times, through many huge shifts in their algorithm’s coding. Modern SEO isn’t anything like old SEO, and realistically… it’s not really accurate to call a proper, online organic marketing ‘SEO’, any more. 

You can read all about how our approach to digital marketing has changed in this blog, but the quick rundown is that digital marketing is basically traditional marketing, on the internet. That seems obvious, but it’s important to mention because it hasn’t always been that way. Mark Ritson is a renowned marketer who’s done quite a few talks disparaging the concept of “digital” marketing. His point was that it shouldn’t be any different to traditional marketing, and that taking the attitude it was, was a foolish idea. A few years ago I would have disagreed with him—the tactics specific to digital marketing made it quite a different game. 

Today, I agree completely. In today’s era of marketing, the word “digital” should only be used to indicate marketing that happens online. In truth, in 2024 success online will require exactly the same approach as traditional marketing. You must understand your customer intimately, know the market like the back of your hand and clearly position and differentiate yourself against your competitors. If you don’t do these things—if you skip straight to communication and tactics—you’ll fail. It’s that simple. 

If you don't do these things

Organic Marketing is what we call our service that gets your content in front of the right people, at the right time. This content isn’t just blogs—like the one you’re reading now—but includes landing pages, your homepage, product pages and more. Because it’s all content, and if you’re not paying for the traffic to those pages—you’re earning it organically (through Google, social media and so on).

5 steps to get started with content marketing

Content marketing is relatively simple to get started with, but a solid process makes achieving results much more reliable. Your content marketing efforts should serve your general marketing objectives, which should serve your brand strategy, which in turn aims to achieve your business goals.

Step 1: Define your goals and target audience

What does success look like to you? If you’re a challenger brand, your content objectives might be about getting in front of as many people as possible, to make them aware of your existence and how you differ from the traditional players in your market. On the other hand, if your business objectives are about increasing revenue, your content marketing might focus on customer acquisition and retention. 

  • Set clear goals that align with your quarterly marketing plan, or your current business strategy. These goals might look like;
    • Increase website traffic to 2,000 new users a month
    • Increase brand awareness (you can measure this as an increase branded search volume—via Google Search Console)
    • Drive direct sales revenue
    • Encourage repeat purchase through an integrated EDM and content approach

Step 2: Create your content strategy

If your goals and objectives are what you want to achieve, your content strategy is how you’re going to achieve them. A good strategy is comprehensive, but remains concise. You want to clearly articulate your target audience, reiterate your brand’s value proposition and differentiation, and plan out the types of content you intend to create—and the channels through which you’ll promote it.

  • Your content strategy should include;
    • Your ideal audience in the form of buyer personas and general overview
    • What these people care about, and what their typical journey online looks like
    • What type of content these people typically engage and interact with
    • Your area of expertise—what can you create content about that is authentic to your brand’s positioning, and intersects with your audience’s interests?
    • Timelines and frequency targets.

Step 3: Create engaging and valuable content

Time to begin the process of creating your content. This step is a whole process in itself, that can be broadly split into two parts. 

  1. First, plan your content. At Dilate, we use something we call “content mapping”, where we map out the content we intend to create in line with our products or services. Often, this is about going “up the funnel”, and understanding what content our audience typically engages with that isn’t immediately relevant to selling them our product or service. Our content mapping approach includes things like content categories—how everything is grouped—cornerstone content, blog posts, videos and social media content opportunities. It’s a comprehensive, big document that essentially shows what our content footprint will look like 6 months from now. 

Second step, create the content. With a good planning phase, such as our content mapping, we know exactly what pieces of content we need to create, what keywords they’re going to be targeting and where they’re going to be published and promoted. From here, it’s a matter of diving deep into the research, interviewing subject matter experts and putting pen to paper. Creating the content right requires a great draft, and then lots of refinement and editing to get it just right.

Step 4: Promote & distribute your content

Creating great content is only half the battle. Promoting and distributing your content is arguably more important, because if no one sees it… well, it’s all for nothing. Promotion and distribution channels should have been identified in your content strategy, and factored into the creation. Publishing content that isn’t right for the medium or channel isn’t effective, and won’t help you build an audience that could one day become customers. 

Here are a few ways to promote and distribute content. 

  • For social content, engage in conversations, respond to comments, and build relationships with your followers. 
  • Distribute great blog content through native advertising networks like Outbrain and Taboola. 
  • Run paid advertising to drive traffic directly to your content. If you’re going to use paid traffic, make sure that you’re either running ads for bottom of the funnel content with conversion potential, or have a funnel in place to get the most from that traffic. If you’re running paid traffic to a top-of-the-funnel article that doesn’t have a lead magnet for email capture, or a strong call to action to drive that traffic on to an article with high purchase-intent, you won’t get direct ROI from the campaigns. This is OK, as long as it aligns with your business objectives.
  • Don't forget to optimise your content for search engines. This is one of the best ways to distribute written content, and can be an incredibly powerful way to grow your business.

Step 5: Measure, analyse, and optimise

To ensure you're on the right track, it's essential to measure, analyse and optimise your content strategy. 

  • Use analytics tools to track website traffic, engagement, and conversions.
  • Analyse the data and identify what's working well and what needs improvement. 
  • Adjust your content strategy based on these insights. 
  • Experiment with different types of content, headlines, or calls to action to find what resonates best with your audience.
  • Re-optimise your content if it isn’t ranking in search, or performing from a paid advertising perspective.

Need a hand?

At Dilate, we're in the business of building businesses through creative, results-driven marketing. We’re a performance advertising & marketing agency blended with a creative production house. If you want to grow your business in this digital era and want a little bit of guidance, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an enquiry.

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