Marketing May 28, 2020 Last updated May 28th, 2020 264 Reads share

Why Content Marketing Is the Key to Taking Your Sales and Marketing to the Next Level

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Your prospects are spending more time online these days. Our shift in lifestyle since the implementation of stay-at-home orders has led people to spend more time on their mobile devices and interact more with digital media and content.

Despite this, many companies are reducing their digital ad spend. Budgets are certainly tight right now, but not putting in the work to reach your audience members where they are is a big missed opportunity. Even if they aren’t ready to buy right now, positioning yourself as a trusted source of knowledge will help you stay top of mind for when things do improve and they are ready to make buying decisions again.

That’s where content comes into play.

Content Fuels Your Sales and Marketing Flame

Many organizations invest in great marketing and sales infrastructures. They have top talent, top technology, great websites. But what’s powering all of that?

You need to invest in great fuel, or all of your other investments will go to waste. And great content is that fuel.

Content is an extension of your people, and it works 24/7 for you. It can act as a “marketer” and a “salesperson” to help you digitally connect with your prospects. Great content can help fill in the gaps left behind by reduced in-person interactions. And high-quality, relevant content educates potential prospects into qualified leads and then gives you the chance to convert them into great customers.

Creating guest-contributed articles, blog posts, gated whitepapers, social media collateral, checklists and guides, or any other type of content can have a measurable impact on your marketing and sales efforts. For example, when companies prioritize blogging efforts as a marketing channel, they’re 13 times more likely to see positive returns on their overall marketing investments.

This ROI can include improved traffic to the company’s website and contact information provided by sales leads in exchange for gated content. But easily quantifiable metrics aren’t the only way you can see a tangible impact from great content. You can also pull quantitative results out of what might seem to be only “fluffy” metrics.

For example, the qualitative goal of “building trust with prospects” can be more quantitatively measured by the shortening of your sales cycle and an increased close rate. Great content is an asset for your sales team to leverage in their everyday interactions with their pipelines, and it can lead to a faster “speed to trust.”

How to Use Content to Strengthen Your Other Sales and Marketing Strategies

Content marketing isn’t a standalone strategy. Here are some common sales and marketing strategies that you might already be investing in and how content can fan the flame of those efforts:

Paid Ads

Pay-per-click advertising or paid ads on social media can be a good way to get your company in front of your exact target audience. But people won’t just click on any old ad — especially now that people are warier of advertising. Your ad needs to promote a strong call to action that gives your prospect value. For example, a step-by-step guide breaking down a complex process that your target audience struggles with would be a great “give” to promote.

Also, if someone in your target audience encounters one of your paid advertisements, the first thing he or she will probably do after clicking on the ad is look up more information about your company. What content will that person find? Own that conversation by putting your own original thoughts and expertise on the web. This gives leads the opportunity to come into that first sales call seeing you as a forward-thinking, trustworthy expert — and they’ll be more apt to continue engaging with you as a result.

Outbound Sales Emails and Calls

Cold outreach still has its place in marketing and sales. If your services can truly benefit someone, reach out. But be sure that those outbound touchpoints are valuable to the recipient, or your message will be quickly ignored.

To provide value to recipients, include great content that educates them and challenges the way they think. For example, we published a blog post about how hospitality companies can stay top of mind with their audiences during travel slowdowns. If I were sending a cold email to someone in the hospitality industry right now, I might include a link to that blog post as a resource that person could use.

Leveraging content in this way positions the sender as a helpful resource who has the prospect’s best interests in mind. People don’t like to be sold to. Help them instead by providing content that’s so good that they’ll want to talk with you.

Speaking Opportunities and Webinars

Whether your speaking opportunities involve giving a talk at a conference or being a guest on a webinar, they can lead to exciting business opportunities and boost your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. But if you’re not using content in tandem with your speaking engagements, you’re leaving a big opportunity on the table.

Before you even apply for a speaking gig, you need to build your reputation as a thought leader. Guest posting in reputable industry publications and being mentioned in the press is one effective way to do this. This strategy could even lead to you naturally being approached for a speaking opportunity.

If you do apply to a speaking gig, content can also be used to bolster your speaker’s application. When you submit your application, include a list of a few of your best pieces of content to boost your credibility — especially if they were published in third-party publications. This can also give the event host an idea of where your expertise lies so he or she can develop a more targeted topic for your talk.

Content is even more helpful after a speaking gig is over. Long-form content like a whitepaper serves as an effective leave-behind or a great “download this” call to action to include in your presentation slides. By sharing a gated whitepaper with attendees, you can leave a lasting impression and also potentially gather their contact information in order to engage with them further.

Networking and Referrals

Networking will always be an extremely important element of a business. Part of my role involves maintaining our relationships with partners. To do this, I often share case studies, blog posts, and articles with them to stay top of mind and provide them with helpful information they can use in their own businesses.

Sharing content in this way also gives our partners the opportunity to introduce us to even more contacts. For example, when I send a resource to a partner, I might include a note asking for an intro to any contacts that come to mind as the partner reads the content. These referrals will also do their own research on your company, so make sure the content they find showcases your knowledge and expertise.

There are so many marketing and sales channels to consider, and you’re likely investing in a diverse array. But all of them have one thing in common: Their individual effectiveness is dependent on the content that powers each channel.

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Matt Kamp

Matt Kamp

Matt Kamp is senior vice president at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency specializing in helping companies achieve measurable business goals through content marketing. Influence & Co.’s clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 brands.

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