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How content marketing helps business: The get-rich-slow scheme

My SEO expert tells me the SERP mentions the importance of content marketing but not exactly answering the question “how content marketing helps business”. What a missed opportunity for so many content marketers! I’ll have it, thank you very much...


Let's start by stating that companies are taking note of content marketing's power: Zippia's data science team found that the “projected content marketing manager job growth rate is 10% from 2018-2028.”


Recognize the gap: Importance of content marketing ≠ practical application


So while content marketing jobs grow, and more of us exist to fill that need, you would assume many companies are harnessing the power of content marketing no problem… Right?


Wrong.


A gap exists between understanding how content marketing helps business and effectively applying it. The missed opportunities make me sad, to see great businesses using content marketing purely to optimise their search engine positioning, and not to build true brand authority and trust. 


How do I know this? 1. I’ve seen it first-hand: a lack of strategy or a content team expected to operate solely as a reactive sales enablement team. 2. Stats tell the same story: a study by the Economist Group found 75% of marketers making “product mentions a regular component of their content strategies.” 


I’m not here to tell you not to mention your product, but content marketing needs to be so. much. more than an extension of your product marketing team.


Before we dive into how content marketing can help you – I'll share definitions for those who are unfamiliar with content marketing.


Skip straight to:



Definitions of content marketing and brand authority


What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves strategically creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a target audience. It's more than just advertising; it's about delivering information that educates, entertains, or solves problems, ultimately building a meaningful connection with your audience.


Why build brand authority?

Building brand authority establishes your business as a trusted expert in your industry. When you consistently share valuable and reliable information, customers and prospects view your brand as a go-to source. This authority not only boosts credibility but also fosters customer loyalty, making it more likely for individuals to choose your products or services over competitors.


Why listen to me?

I built my career in content marketing and then, my own business. Through copywriting and editorial roles as well as head of marketing jobs, I’ve gathered ample adjacent experience. Doing it for myself was the real test of fire and I have proven that good work, done for a long time, does pay off.



How can content marketing help businesses?


If you write well, with authority, and in an interesting (or entertaining) way, you build trust to the point that all you need to do is put out a sales call. I did this on my own through 2022 and 2023, such that when I made the announcements, “I’m selling my process” via downloadable and in course format, I made enough sales to break even, without a single sales call. A couple of email marketing campaigns later (which cost USD$25), 2 TikTok ads (USD$8 each time), and a free webinar, and sales doubled. 


The get-rich-slow scheme that is content marketing


If I can do this, a lowly content marketer with only 15 years of experience and shallow pockets, why aren’t more businesses with enormous budgets taking advantage of the power of content marketing?


In my opinion: Content marketing is hard because you have to be good for a long time. It is a get-rich-slow scheme and must be built with genuine knowledge.



Practical ways for businesses to bridge the content marketing gap


In content marketing, business objectives must be aligned but are not the sole driving force. Business goals might include “sell more soon” and that is not a good use for your content team. It's not just about creating content into which you can drop SEO keywords; every piece should serve a strategic purpose and build trust among an audience. To do that, you do not need a single mention of your product.


Step 1: Resource optimisation


Align goals so that resources are not spent on hiring a content marketing team that will do sales enablement and product marketing. Hire those specific teams instead. 


If you are convinced you do want content marketing, head up that team with a person who:

  • Has the nous and the nerve to push back on sales content

  • Whose passion is in storytelling and authoritative branding


Lastly, empower them to do just that. They will push back, they will champion trust and authority building, and it might feel strange. Move past it.



Step 2: Consistent brand messaging


Even with an excellent team leader, you will need everything down in writing to build a unified approach to content and business goals using in-house content writers and outsourced freelancers. 

  1. Nail down an excellent tagline. You’ll probably need to work with a specialist agency or copywriter for this.

  2. Register pain points of your existing clients and desired clients (including the ones you didn’t close) using data analytics.

  3. Task your content team with proposing brand messaging guidelines that expand on this tagline from different angles and for different audiences. Then work with them to tailor it to your desired style. 

  4. Share that brand messaging guide, editorial guide, style guide – whatever you choose to call it – far and wide.


Step 3: Measure, iterate, improve


If your content marketing team has built a strategy for pieces to create – from videos to long-form articles – you can begin measuring the success of each piece individually and as a whole. 


Personally, I do not recommend using metrics to inform every decision about content marketing, sometimes you might want to take a risk and produce a hot-take opinion piece that shows bravery and speaks to a niche audience, but metrics can inform you of:


  • Which pieces need updating: eg. if views were high months ago but have since dropped

  • Where there are holes in your funnel or customer experience: piques of views on explainer articles are just one indicator

  • What people like to consume, but which does not provoke a sale: this content must be linked to some button-of-funnel content.

  • What leads to sales, if you can convince people to read it in the first place: this content might need to be more engaging, but be the final step in a buyer’s ideal journey.


Set up systems for continuous monitoring. Regularly assess your selected metrics and hold off on course corrections until you have at least 6 months of data.



Metrics tell a story, if you know how to read them.


Content marketing success hinges on bridging the gap from understanding its importance to executing practical strategies. As evidenced by the booming job market for content marketing managers, businesses are aware of how content marketing can help them, but merely using it for SEO is disheartening to watch.


If you take nothing else away from this article, remember that content marketing transcends product mentions—it becomes powerful when you use it to build trust and brand authority.


To answer the question: Why aren't more businesses, even with ample budgets, seeing how content marketing helps business? Content marketing demands sustained excellence — this get-rich-slow scheme requires patience and profound expertise.


While the execution will take longer, you can learn how to command your own content in just one weekend.




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