Why does content marketing work (and how to make it work for you)?

It’s a question I’ve often asked myself over my ~10 years of publishing content online.  

Why does content marketing work? 

I mean, all I’m doing is laying out my thoughts and experiences. And yet, whether I’m doing this for myself or my clients, these simple pieces of content bring us users, clients, customers and – most importantly – revenue. 

The question is why. 

Why does content marketing work? 

Well, there’s a couple of reasons. But first, I want to quickly cover the basics of effective content marketing because a lot of folk get this wrong. 

What is the core of effective content marketing? 

A lot of folk get this wrong. They think content marketing is a simple process of…

  1. Find high-volume, low-competition keywords
  2. Create content that’s over 1500 words
  3. Add in a few images
  4. Let Google do its thing

This is SEO, which is a way to get people to view your content. but it’s not the core of effective content marketing. 

The fundamental approach of content marketing is also the reason why content marketing works.  

Good content marketing has one primary goal. 

To solve a problem for your ideal customers and users. 

If you can find a painful problem and create something that helps people solve or avoid it, you’ve got a piece of content that will work.  

How you get people to view it – be it through SEO, manual promotion, SEO, col outreach, or anything else – is the marketing part.  

So, the core approach of content marketing, and the reason why content marketing actually works, looks a little different…

  1. Find a painful problem
  2. Identify how you can solve it
  3. Create a piece of content that explains how you help solve it
  4. Get the people who experience the problem to view it through promotion
Why content marketing works. The system to create content users want to read.

I guess you could sum up this piece by saying the reason content marketing works is because it solves a painful problem. 

But let’s get a little more granular.  

6 reasons why content marketing works (or things you need to be successful with content marketing)

Below I’ve listed the primary reasons I’ve found for the success of effective content marketing.  

These are the kind of things you need to be considering when creating content to ensure it actually drives business growth. 

1. Good content marketing builds authority and trust

Content marketing helps build trust and authority. It positions you as the expert and shows how you’re able to solve the problem your ideal user is experiencing. 

of course, this is only if the content you create is…

  • Useful
  • Well researched
  • Well created
  • Easy to consume

When you consistently create high-quality content that hits these guidelines and answers the needs of your audience, they’re going to think of you. 

By offering valuable content without the direct intention of selling, content marketing also fosters a sense of trust with the audience.

Consumers are more likely to trust and engage with someone who provides helpful information rather than constantly bombarding them with sales pitches.

2. Good content marketing keeps you top of mind

Consistently creating content is crucial for staying top of mind for consumers. 

Why is this crucial?

Because only around 5% of your potential customers are ready to buy right now.  You want to be the first brand or provider they think of when they are ready to buy. 

And the best way to do that is to stay top of mind with consistent useful content. 

By regularly producing and sharing valuable and relevant content, you establish yourself as an authority in your industry and build trust with your audience.

It helps to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds when they are in need of products or services that you offer.

A little trick here is to take a long-form piece like this blog post, and promote elements of it across other channels with links back to your owned platform. 

How to move an audience from social media to tyour owned audience display.

You can use the content to stay top of mind on other platforms with things like social media posts, and then direct users back to your content so you can nurture them until they’re ready to buy. 

Which isn’t possible unless you’re consistently creating content.  

3. Well-targeted content marketing targets customers with an emotional need

We’ve come from a place in a lot of content marketing circles where traffic was king. 

People would go after keywords simply because they had a lot of traffic. 

The problem was, articles focused around things like “what is content marketing” are not going to result in actual sales.  

The people searching for these kinds of terms aren’t looking to hire a content marketer, or buy a product.  

These searches are likely to get…

  •  A mother researching what content marketing is after hearing their kid got a job as a content marketer
  • A student trying to write something for a paper around content
  • People who are at the very early stages of a career or research process and have no immediate interest in buying

It’s probably why only 5% of site visitors are ready to buy.  

The reason why content marketing works is because we don’t focus on these kinds of terms. 

We focus on pain points. 

When someone is searching for something like…

  • How to stop my tap from leaking
  • The fastest way to lose weight without running
  • How to increase my exam grades

These are all indicative of an emotional need.  A problem the user needs to solve. 

Targeting these kinds of searches means you’re gonna get read by emotional people. And emotions massively impact the decision to buy. 

You want to ignore creating content at the awareness stage and instead look put your content creation muscles to use at the consideration stage. 

Basically the point when people are looking at what to buy. And the easiest way to do this, is focus on solving problem.  

the stages of awareness

In the stages of awareness, you’ll be looking at solution aware onwards.  This is really the main reason why content marketing works. 

Good content marketing sits between the user’s immediate need and what you can offer. You help them and offer a tool to help speed their results.  

And boom, you’ve got a sale because you’re helping to swiftly remove the problem. 

4. Good content marketing helps qualify leads

When you’re running content marketing that targets people with an emotional need, you attract those people who are looking and ready to buy.  

These people are way more qualified as leads. 

They have a problem you can solve and are looking to solve it. 

These leads are more qualified because they have already shown interest and are actively seeking a solution to their emotional need. They are also more likely to buy because the content has built trust, credibility, and a sense of connection, making them more receptive to the product or service being offered.

It really is as simple as that.  

5. Content marketing helps you stay on top of your game

A lot of content people will tell you you can produce a piece of content know and eat off its success for months or years. 

That can happen, but it’s not often that it does.  

Instead, you need to stay on top of content. Your content – regardless of medium – needs to be updated to adapt to…

  • Industry changes
  • Developments outside your control
  • Changing customer expectations
  • Future-proofing against competitors vying for the same audience

You can’t just create once and leave it. You need to consistently update your content to reflect what’s happening in the world right now.  

The added benefit of this is it keeps your skills sharp. 

An example of content marketing updates can be seen in this piece. 

If this was written 10 years ago the piece might explain why content marketing works as “keyword stuffing shows Google that you’re focusing on that topic”. 

5 years ago the explanation might have been “because you’ve covered the keyword and hit the right word count”. 

Now it’s all about helping the person who should be reading it.  

That’s why it works, because it solves a problem and establishes you as an authority. 

6. Users would rather see useful content over obviously promotional advertisements

Most customers are fed up with ads. They’re seeking actual, useful content instead.

With the constant bombardment of advertisements in every aspect of our lives, from television to social media, consumers have become immune to traditional advertising methods, users haave developed a keen sense of skepticism and are quick to dismiss promotional content that feels intrusive or irrelevant.

As a result, you need to adapt your marketing strategies to meet the changing demands of consumers.

By not pushing hard for the sale, you’re weirdly more likely to get one.  

Content marketing does that. It provides value and, when you’ve done it well, provides a natural link to your paid offers or products. 

This approach not only helps to capture the attention of customers but also leads them to make purchases based on the credibility and usefulness of the content provided.

Why does content marketing work? Because it builds value and trust. 

I’m all about the models behind successful marketing. 

It’s why I run this site that focuses on the models that lead to effective growth.  

To summarise this piece, content marketing works because it builds value in incremental steps. When you lay out the right kind of funnel, you’re attracting people with a problem, building some trust, and then converting them to paying users.  

The process looks a little like the below.  

Why content marketing works, the basic funnel you should be looking to employ.

If we break this down into steps, they would be…

  1. The user searches for a solution to a problem they have
  2. Your content builds trust by giving them information on the solution.
  3. From the piece of content you either…
    • Collect an email and build more trust through email
    • Position your paid offer as a faster way to achieve the solution
  4. If the user fails to buy now, add them to the email list for ongoing promotion and trust building

Your customers only want an end to the problems they face. You need to build trust and prove you can be the person to help them.

Content marketing works because it shows them you can help them. It builds enough trust to get them to make the purchase by offering enough free value that they believe you’re the right person to solve their problem.  

And by consistently producing content, you actually help hone your own skills to be a better provider and understand what people want.  

That’s why content marketing works.  

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