On a conference call with a prospective client earlier this week, I found myself diagramming our “marketing wheel,” which displays the universe of marketing tactics, all of which should be driven by the center of that universe—a cohesive marketing strategy (see my very sophisticated artwork below).
To complete the wheel, I surrounded the entire diagram with content, in an attempt to illustrate that content impacts every single piece of a company’s marketing strategy.
The diagram served its purpose; however, I realized something important upon reflecting on the call. I had understated the full value of content marketing, and in particular some of the less obvious benefits it can provide.
Most of the hype surrounding content marketing is focused on its impact on lead generation, lead nurturing and ultimately revenue generation. However, those are just starting points—important ones, but just starting points. Here are 7 other not-so-obvious areas that benefit from a well-executed content marketing program.
1. Content marketing impacts every stage of the recruiting funnel.
Is recruiting all that different from sales? Does the process of courting and ultimately signing a new employee differ all that much from the process of qualifying and signing a new client?
The only difference is that we have to swap out “prospect” for “candidate” and “product or service” for “job opportunity.”
We already know that a sales team needs content marketing to drive the first 60% of the sales process. Considering that 49% of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling critical positions within their organizations, content marketing is more important than ever to the recruiting process.
2. Content marketing helps with client retention.
Think your job is done once you bring on a new client? Now it’s just a matter of delivering your product or service, right?
Not so fast.
I don’t care if you’re selling landscaping services or business intelligence software—signing a new customer is just the beginning. Clients now expect you to deliver not only your product or service, but also to provide added value via education. And if you don’t provide it, someone else will.
Do you have the time to personally educate every single one of your customers? Probably not. Content marketing can help.
3. Content marketing improves employee attitudes and confidence levels.
Whether you know it or not, your employees, including the ones that you’d hate to lose, are always evaluating their current situation against what they think might exist elsewhere. Most of them want to believe that their future lies within your organization, but they also love to win the proverbial popularity contest. Publish material that brings attention to the company, and you’ll improve employee morale and keep employees motivated to live up to your company’s top billing.
4. Content marketing changes the sales & marketing relationship.
Content marketing is not collateral. Collateral is the stuff that salespeople used to call “leave behinds”…you know, the stuff that prospects never read? And you wonder why salespeople used to view marketing folks as nothing more than support staff.
Content marketing, when done right, includes the type of material that salespeople use strategically during the sales process, and that type of content can change the entire sales and marketing dynamic.
The best sales people—the 99th percentile salespeople—know that content marketing has completely changed the art of selling.
5. Content marketing helps you raise money.
When VCs are evaluating a CEO, one of the areas they pay close attention to is the CEO’s recruiting focus and aptitude. Can this guy or gal sell his or her vision to talented executives and staffers that have other attractive options to choose from?
Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, takes that commitment to another level in AVC’s MBA Mondays:
“On a practical day-to-day level, that means that I will drop nearly anything I am doing to help close a key candidate. Talent is that important and it’s always worth my time.”
Besides a CEO with a vision and a commitment to selling that vision, what do these VC-backed companies need for a recruiting program? Content marketing.
Venture capital firms like OpenView Venture Partners are not only preaching the power of content marketing to their portfolio companies, but they are eating their own dog food with content marketing programs designed to support their own corporate initiatives.
6. Content marketing assures better understanding of company messaging.
Corporate messaging guides are great tools for employee onboarding, for use in sales meetings, and in general to make sure everybody is using the same type of language to describe your company and its products and services.
But corporate messaging guides are kind of boring, and especially in larger companies, many staffers will gloss over them.
On the other hand, a thought-provoking, topic-specific, perhaps even contrarian piece of content, published by a member of the company’s leadership team, can offer the perfect extension to a messaging guide. It’s more likely to be read, more likely to be shared, and therefore more likely to be digested and understood.
7. Content marketing can
replace enhance public relations efforts.
A few weeks back, I read the following headline and it made me cringe – Is Content Marketing a New Public Relations Discipline?
Sarah Skerik goes on to write an insightful post, but I cringed initially because the answer is no, content marketing is not a new public relations discipline. Unlike public relations, which tends to get siloed even inside a corporate marketing department, content marketing does not belong in a separate category, disconnected from the rest of the marketing department.
Content marketing absolutely supports public relations, just like it supports search engine marketing, social media, email marketing, and a variety of other marketing tactics.
Now is the right time to invest in content marketing. Before you make that investment, though, be sure to consider the complete set of benefits, which will make setting objectives and measuring against those objectives a whole will lot easier.
Get both easy-to-digest tips and more detailed content marketing approaches from Right Source and other industry experts in our free content marketing eBook: How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.