Marketing is about building relationships. No matter what you’re selling or who you serve, you need to forge a relationship with your audiences before they buy.
Content marketing builds those relationships. It starts conversations and provides value to audiences, no matter where they are in the product research process. But it’s not always easy to understand what it entails.
So, what is content marketing, and why is it worth your time and marketing dollars? Let’s start with the second question.
5 Benefits of Content Marketing
At Single Origin Media, we only recommend tactics when we’re confident they’ll drive consistent growth. Here’s why we believe in the power of content.
Stronger Brand Identity
Brand identity is essential to consumers. It helps them get to know you and feels they’re buying from a trusted friend instead of a faceless entity. It makes you stand out in your market and helps you spring to mind when people think of brands in your industry.
Content helps you build your brand identity in the same way a one-on-one interaction helps two people get to know each other. When you “speak” to your audiences through content, they learn what to expect from you.
That familiarity pays off when it’s time for your readers to buy. If you’ve established your identity through content, your name will spring to mind. Thus, you won’t have to spend as much on paid marketing to stay top of mind.
Better Search Visibility
Search visibility is the share of attention you get from search engine results pages (SERPs) based on the percentage of clicks your ranking usually receives. For example, if you rank fourth in a search for your target keyword, statistics suggest you’d receive about 13.6% of clicks. That number is your search visibility for that keyword.
As a full-service digital marketing company, Single Origin understands search visibility and search engine optimization. We know Google’s goal is to prioritize the most valuable and relevant content for each search, so we use quality content to help you move up in search results.
More Organic Traffic
According to a study by BrightEdge, 53% of website traffic comes from organic searches. And creating and publishing quality content is one of the best strategies for increasing that traffic.
At Single Origin Media, we drive traffic through keyword use. We believe the more content you create, the more keywords you can target. More targeted keywords mean more opportunities to rank on SERPs. And each ranking carries the potential for traffic.
For example, suppose you’re designing marketing content for a law firm representing personal injury clients. Keywords related to those cases, such as “car accident lawyer” or “motorcycle accident lawyer,” get tens of thousands of searches a month or more according to Google’s Keyword Planner. If you rank for one of those keywords and just 1% of the 100,000 monthly searchers click on your link, that’s 1,000 more visits to the practice’s website.
Increased Social Engagement
Content is a hardworking marketing asset. While it works to attract traffic to your website, you can cross-post it to your social media accounts and encourage people to like, comment, and share.
Social media engagement turns your content into a two-way conversation. Just like long talks bring you closer to friends, interacting with your social media content helps your followers feel closer to your brand.
According to research from Sprout Social, 76% of consumers will choose a company over its competitors if they feel emotionally connected. Plus, 78% of consumers want brands to use social media to forge connections.
Social media wants the same thing. For example, Facebook prioritizes posts that attract more engagement. When you post content that multiple people interact with, the platform will show it to more of your followers. Again, more exposure means more traffic.
Heightened Consumer Trust
Trust is more important than ever to buyers. In a 2022 consumer research report, 46% of U.S. consumers said they’d spend more to buy from a brand they trust. However, in 2021, only 30% of respondents responded similarly.
In a 2021 study, the Kearney Consumer Institute found that honesty and integrity are the most critical factors in establishing consumer trust. Unfortunately, those qualities can be challenging to convey outside of a transaction. Content fills the gap.
For example, any time you include statistics and link back to the original study, you show readers they can trust what you say. It tells them, We care about presenting you with accurate information, so we check our sources. That shows trustworthiness and integrity.
Posting on a consistent schedule also earns customer trust. Partnering with a professional marketing organization like Single Origin lets you publish consistently high-quality content while you continue to focus on running your business.
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The Most Common Types of Content Marketing
Back to the original question: What is content marketing?
Content is any published material that promotes a brand. It’s an intentionally broad definition because the more types of content you use, the more options you have for reaching audiences.
Blog posts are the most popular form of content marketing. Shorter posts — defined as 3,000 words — are more common, with 83% of business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations and 90% of business-to-business (B2B) companies using them in their content strategies.
According to WyzOwl’s 2023 State of Video Marketing report, 91% of businesses use video to reach audiences. Among those who use it, 96% say it’s an important component of their overall strategy. Both numbers are historic highs.
Social media and explainer videos are the most popular types of video content. Four of WyzOwl’s top five video marketing channels are social, with YouTube topping the list.
It’s easy to see the connection. Social media encourages active engagement and user sharing, and people share videos twice as often as text-based posts.
When people can’t decide which brand to choose, they tend to go with one other people love. This phenomenon is called “social proof” and explains why case studies are so effective.
A case study explains how a brand helped a particular customer. It explains the customer’s initial problem, describes the solution, and offers measurable results.
Case studies are most often used in B2B marketing since buyers may need detailed information about a product or service to convince their stakeholders to invest in it. That said, a simple case study can also sway an indecisive consumer if the data is relatable enough.
Ebooks are digital books that explore a concept in more depth than an article or blog post. They don’t need to be as long as a traditional book; 2,000 to 3,000 words are plenty to address fundamental business concepts.
Content marketers typically use ebooks as “gated” content, meaning a reader has to take a specific action to access the book. That action is usually filling out a form or entering an email address.
Gated ebooks benefit you and your prospect. They gain valuable resources and associate you with your subject expertise. Meanwhile, you collect an email address to use for follow-up.
Podcasts are an increasingly popular entertainment format, drawing 183 million listeners across the United States. An estimated 120 million listeners tune in monthly, and 89 million tune in weekly.
Podcasts lag behind other content types, however, making this growing playing field wide open for savvy brands. The main requirement is enough subject-matter expertise to fill at least three episodes. Of course, you can always make more episodes if you find that podcasting is a good fit for your brand.
Online learning is an explosive trend in the business and consumer markets. In 2021 alone, 40 million people enrolled in massive open online courses (MOOCs),
Thanks to this widespread popularity, it’s easier than ever to create an online course as a marketing tool. Start by choosing a topic your customers would want to learn about, then find the best publishing platform.
You can charge a fee for your course but consider offering it for free. A free course — even a shorter, free version of a course — will broaden your reach and earn students’ gratitude.
Generate Leads Through Content Marketing
Your marketing content should encourage the reader or viewer to learn more about your brand, typically in one of two ways. The first invites audiences to click on links that ultimately guide them to product or service pages. Those pages give the customer the information they need to buy.
Another strategy is to guide the reader to lead capture forms. This form invites the customer to submit their email address to receive something helpful, such as a special discount or subscription to the brand’s email list.
Either strategy helps you achieve your goal of driving more customers via content.
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What Makes a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?
When Single Origin’s content team develops a marketing strategy, we consider what will resonate best with a brand’s audiences. We start by considering these four points.
Consistent Brand Voice and Image
According to research from Marq, formerly Lucidpress, brand consistency can increase revenue by as much as 20%, but 77% of companies struggle with inconsistent content. By ensuring your brand releases content with a consistent look and feel, you can boost its success rate exponentially.
Your first step is to define your voice and brand personality. For example, are you:
- Casual or professional
- Energetic or laid-back
- Approachable or formal
- Logical or emotional
If you get stuck, think about how you’d define your brand if it were a person. Then, determine how those descriptions affect the way you speak and the kinds of visuals you use. Your brand personality should shine through in your text, graphics, color scheme, images, and chosen fonts.
Although a crucial content goal is to catch the “attention” of search engine crawlers, you need to create content for your audience first. As you’ve learned, Google pushes content that gives audiences what they need. Therefore, to succeed on Google, you must resonate with your audiences.
Plan and execute every piece of content based on your audience’s needs. First, choose the keywords they’re most likely to search for. Then, answer those potential questions comprehensively, offering information and insights they can’t get anywhere else.
The more value you offer, the more trust and loyalty you’ll build.
Content Mapping Based on the Customer Journey
Creating a detailed content map is the best way to offer consistent audience value. Content mapping lays out a strategy for delivering targeted messages to buyers at different stages of the buying journey.
The buying journey is the pathway people take to purchase. It starts when a customer has a need or desire that a product or service might solve. The journey continues as the customer researches different products and ultimately chooses one.
A content map helps you offer the right kind of content to your target audience at each stage. Consider three questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What are they searching for?
- What do they need to know at the beginning, middle, and end of their search?
The answers to those questions will help you plan and design the right content.
Content That Targets Specific Stages
Each buying phase calls for different content types and messages. Marketers refer to this process as a purchase funnel or marketing funnel.
The top of the funnel catches the consumer’s interest with content related to their problem. As they move toward a purchase, they need content that explains a product in more detail or compares multiple options. Ultimately, when they’re nearly ready to buy, they need answers to their questions and objections.
Here’s how that breaks down.
The top of the sales funnel introduces people to your company. They may have heard of you before, or they might be encountering you for the first time.
These audiences are aware of a need but may not know how to solve it.
Top-of-funnel content includes:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
These content types usually end with an invitation to learn more, often by clicking through to the brand’s website.
In the middle of the funnel, you’ll find audiences who have developed an interest in your product or service but need more information to decide if they should buy.
Target middle-of-funnel prospects with content such as:
- Downloadable resources
- Case studies
- Product comparisons
One popular example is the best-of article, which lists multiple comparable product options.
The bottom of the funnel is for people almost ready to buy. They’re seriously considering working with you and need the extra push to help them decide.
Close the deal with content like:
- Buying guides
- Detailed comparisons
- Product demos
- Customer testimonials and reviews
- Pricing breakdowns
Bottom-of-funnel content usually has the option to buy as its call-to-action.
Use Content to Drive Traffic With Single Origin
Content marketing works best as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. As your integrated marketing partner, Single Origin provides a dedicated content creator team that speaks to your audiences and their needs.
Get in touch today, and learn what Single Origin’s content and digital marketing teams can do for your business.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is simply the act of refining your online presence to appear higher in the search results pages. It’s a vital part of online marketing for law firms. Inadequate SEO is one of the chief causes of poor sales performance.
No matter how skilled your legal services are, clients need to find you to benefit from those services. Superior SEO can be as much of a service to your future clients as it is to you.
Absolutely. Legal practices rank on their authority and reputation in the legal space. SEO for law firms places a heavy emphasis on providing first-rate legal content to establish the firm as a thought leader. It also stresses local search results, targeting clients in your immediate geographic area.
While doing your own SEO is certainly possible, it requires an investment of time and other resources that law practices seldom have. This is a highly technical form of marketing that benefits from professional expertise, as well as knowledge of search engine infrastructure.
Firms need clients. SEO marketing professionals can raise client awareness of your practice, helping them find and contact your services. They can optimize your website, as well as build authority through link building and other measures that elevate your search engine rankings.
Legal practices have several options for finding an SEO agency. They can research agencies and look for standout qualities, such as experience, past achievements, and other signposts. Contacting different SEO agencies directly to better understand the advantages of their approach can also prove helpful.
Experience in the legal industry, as well as a proven track record of improving law firm websites, is a good place to start. Though there are plenty of SEO agencies, many of them have never worked with a legal practice and won’t know the unique ethical considerations that come into play.
Besides prioritizing client confidentiality, law practices have to comply with government regulations about false statements and advertisements. They also have to either avoid or disclose conflicts of interest.
Remember that a firm’s reputation for excellence is one of its key differentiators.
Law firm marketing is a complex field. Most SEO agencies focus their attention on other industries and commercially based clients. Single Origin is a notable exception.
Cost always depends on the size and scope of the project. While an exhaustive law firm SEO campaign can cost as much as $20,000 per month, these prices are negotiable and contingent. The best way to find out is by contacting a team of law firm SEO experts to discuss your project.