Why Content Marketing Matters to Consumers

Today’s prospects have a strong appetite for good information but more powerful resistance to the so-called “hard sell.” Most of us research products and services online before making a purchase. We study different cars, comparing prices and features, before ever setting foot in a dealership. Even grocery shoppers use mobile phones to compare prices and deals.

People want good content that helps them make good decisions, but they don’t like being sold. Consumers are less responsive to traditional advertising and old-school sales tactics, and this is true for both B2C and B2B customers. According to one study, 70% of consumers prefer to learn about companies through articles instead of advertising.1

A Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% prefer to get information about a prospective purchase from articles instead of advertising. The same survey found that 70% say content makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say content helps them make better buying decisions.2

Why Content Marketing Matters to Search Engines

Consumers turn to search engines for solutions to their problems. Sometimes your best opportunity to win new customers is to be there when they Google it. In fact, you may have already established a search engine optimization (SEO) plan. You may also know that search engines frequently update the algorithms they use to crawl the web, so they can continuously improve the quality of results that we see when we do a search.

Google’s updates in recent years increasingly reward quality and punish low quality. And what does quality mean for Google? For one thing, up-to-date content is rewarded. So publishing fresh articles, and updating your existing content, will help you maintain a strong showing on search engine results pages (SERPs) and keep people coming back to your site.

Second, Google increasingly punishes what it considers to be “spammy” or overly optimized pages. One example of this is “keyword stuffing,” which generally means using the same keyword too many times when it adds no value to a passage. The Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO gives the following example of keyword stuffing:

“Bob’s cheap Seattle plumber is the best cheap Seattle plumber for all your plumbing needs. Contact a cheap Seattle plumber before it’s too late.”

A good rule of thumb here is that if it’s awkward for you to read, it’s probably a red flag for Google. Always write for the reader first and research long-tail keywords to use as synonyms. That way your content will be both user-friendly and SEO-friendly.

Why Content Marketing Matters to Your Business

As you can see, effective content can help you build customer relationships while avoiding less effective “hard sell” tactics. It showcases your subject-matter expertise, and gains trust by highlighting important topics that affect your prospects. Well-crafted content can draw traffic to your website and social media accounts, boost your performance on search results pages, and give audiences the opportunity to share your content with their friends.

A recent survey asked 600 marketing professionals what they thought were the most important digital marketing trends for 2015. Content marketing was the number one answer with 29.6% – ahead of other hot topics like big data (14.6%), marketing automation (12.8%), mobile marketing (11.0%), and social media marketing (8.9%).3 Other research found that 63% of companies say posting on social media increased their marketing effectiveness. Companies with blogs attract more inbound links, and blogs on company websites tend to attract more visitors.4