By now, you've heard about content marketing, but if you haven't invested in it yet, it might be because you're skeptical of the long-term benefits; reluctant to invest heavily in what might turn out to be a fad. You might be intimidated by your perceived complexity of the strategy, afraid to dive in if you don't know what you're doing. Or you might have held off because you're busy with other marketing strategies.

If this sounds like you, know that content marketing is one of the most practical, effective, and useful marketing strategies today. Let these top 10 benefits convince you:

1. More on-site content. It may seem like a simple observation, but more time spent on content marketing means you'll have more content on your site. That means your customers will have more reasons to stick around, more opportunities to become familiar with your brand, and more trust, which will lead to higher conversion rates. With great content, your users will stay on your site longer, and that's always a good thing. For more on why on-site content is a good thing, see The Top 10 Benefits of Blogging On Your Website.

2. Higher visibility in search engines. Every new post you add to your blog is another page that Google's going to index. More pages doesn't always correlate with more search traffic, but having more quality pages indexed can grant you more opportunities to rank for more search queries. If you target long-tail keywords and topics that your customers frequently search for, you should have no trouble appearing for those searches with your archive of information.

3. Higher domain authority. Writing more, higher quality content will increase the perceived expertise, authority, relevance, and trust of your site. If that content earns more inbound links from external sources, your website's domain authority will increase even further. A higher domain authority correlates strongly with higher search rankings, so the more quality content you produce, the more organic search visibility you'll stand to gain in all areas of your site.

4. More referral traffic. This one depends on your commitment to the guest publishing portion of your content strategy. When you contribute to external publications as a guest, you'll have the opportunity to link back to your site. Do so on a relevant, authoritative site with high traffic, and a single guest post could earn you thousands of new visitors to your site.

5. More social traffic (and followers!). Syndicate your content on your social media platforms for increased exposure. If you do this, more users will see and read your material--plus, users will have the opportunity to share your content with their friends and followers, greatly increasing your circle of followers. Over time, you'll earn more and more followers for your brand on social media, and more traffic from social media as a result.

6. Increased conversion potential. Your primary objectives with content are to engage, inform, help, and bring value for your readers. Once that's taken care of, you can use any remaining space you have to pitch one of your products or services. If done tactfully, you can easily increase the number of conversions you get. Just remember the keyword here is "tactfully"--don't turn your content into an advertisement.

7. Improved brand reputation. When people read your material, they'll be building an impression of your brand. If they find what they read helpful, informative, or enlightening, they'll think more highly of your brand. Furthermore, if they see your content published on external sources and showing up on their social newsfeeds, they'll perceive of you as a more trustworthy, established thought leader in the industry.

8. Tighter customer/reader relationships. A greater brand reputation can help with the size and recognition of your audience, but great content can also increase the loyalty and closeness of your customer relationships. If you use personal brands of individuals to write and share content, your customers could develop a more personal relationship with your company. If they start to rely on you as a primary source of information, their loyalty will be all but guaranteed for as long as they buy your products.

9. Universal utility. There's no such thing as a "bad" industry for content marketing. Literally any business in any industry can use content as a major strategy. Even traditional, "un-sexy" industries like manufacturing can still provide insights on industry developments or just make their industry more approachable and relatable to consumers.

10. Decreased marketing costs and compounding value. Content marketing only costs time. It's incredibly cost-effective, and even better--it offers compounding returns. Your first few months of a content marketing strategy might not yield much in the way of results, but your next few months will start to see growth. The few months after that will see more growth. By the time you're a few years in, your return could easily quadruple your investment (or more), consistently.

Content marketing is inexpensive, safe, available for anyone in any industry, and beneficial in many different areas. The sooner you start investing in it, the sooner you'll start to see results, and the better results you'll eventually see. Whether you're in it for the increased traffic, higher conversion rates, or just better relationships with your customers, there's no reason content marketing shouldn't be included in your marketing arsenal.

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