Inbound marketing is a diverse field, filled with myriad strategies aimed at bringing customers to your site and channeling them down your marketing funnel.
This is all well and good, but the process can’t exist on its own.
Inbound marketing is reliant on another strategy for its success. The second wing of the plane. The other half of the amulet. We’re referring, of course, to content marketing – the process of curating and publishing a steady flow of educational material to empower inbound market success.
The Value of Content Marketing
No digital marketer these days should question the value of content marketing. Publishing content shows your audience that you know your stuff and that you have solutions to the pain points that keep them up at night. According to research on consumer behavior, blogs are the third best way to influence consumer purchasing, only falling short behind retail and brand websites.
It makes sense, when you think about it. If inbound marketing is all about making customers come to you, what better way to capture their attention and win them over than material that proves you’re the real deal?
3 Questions Before You Start
Content marketing begins by developing a content strategy based around three core questions:
- What services does your business provide?
- What problems does your target market have?
- How can your business apply its solutions to solve your target market’s pain points?
Here’s the secret to content marketing: If you have concrete answers to these three questions, the battle is half over. The articles, videos, infographics, and social media posts you create will be tailored to these concepts.
Many businesses fail at this critical step and just create posts that they pray will get shared or go viral. While it’s true that content of any kind can be valuable (we’ll get to that in a minute), achieving a measurable ROI through content marketing relies on approaching the process in a measured way.
How Content Powers Inbound Marketing
So, with the above three questions addressed, let’s discuss how content can specifically help your inbound marketing strategy.
As it turns out, content marketing enhances inbound marketing in just about every way you can imagine:
- Sales Funnel Optimization: From lead generation to priming prospects for purchase, content that addresses customers at each stage of the buying cycle can support their decision-making and increase the odds that they’ll choose your business to solve their problems.
- Thought Leadership: Inbound marketing relies on establishing trust with an audience and helping them understand that you’re uniquely qualified to help. Educational articles help show readers that you know your industry and have the skills to make their lives easier.
- SEO: Of course, an on-site content library can also help your SEO value through creating more chances to appear in organic search, more places to include keywords on your site, more URLs for search indexers to crawl, and more opportunities for others to support you with SEO-boosting backlinks.
- Brand Presence: In the inbound marketing world, excitement is key. Customers have to believe that you’re passionate about your work and eager to help whoever needs it. Posting regular content updates shows prospects that you’re invested in maintaining a brand presence and are willing to support those around you, even if they aren’t paying customers yet.
Inbound Content Marketing
Data from Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound report shows that brands that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a marketing ROI than those that don’t.
Clearly, the link between inbound marketing and content is strong. If you take away nothing else from this piece, remember this: Inbound marketing success doesn’t exist without a structured content marketing plan to back it up.