Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Franchise marketing has many moving parts, including SEO, paid search, social media and much more. But one of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of a well-developed digital marketing strategy is content — the stuff you write and share to tell and sell your brand or business’ story.
Good content is not only informative, but it’s engaging. It prompts the reader to want to learn more and, if optimized correctly, can tell you who the reader is and how they found you. High-quality content is a marketing game-changer, with experienced franchise digital marketers placing a premium on it and well-informed clients understanding its value. In short, if you aren’t relying on it as part of your franchise marketing strategy, you’re walking away from money.
Related: The 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Content Writer
More than words
At its heart, digital franchise marketing is about building trust between a brand and its best customers. It’s about forging a relationship.
Now, imagine trying to do that without using words. It wouldn’t be easy. Thoughtful, consistent, reliable content — web pages, pillar pages, blogs and eBooks, just some examples — are words and a means to connect with people. Meaningful content is storytelling. It’s the language you use to humanize your brand or business and share its history and purpose. Good content reminds consumers there are people behind the brand name, people just like them, allowing a better connection between your customers and what it is you have to offer.
Related: 7 Trust-Building Tips To Use In Your Business
What is the value of good content?
Consumers today are far pickier about how they receive brand or product information, preferring to exert more control over the process. Old-school outbound marketing efforts like print, TV ads and direct mail campaigns aren’t reaching the audiences they used to, and skilled inbound digital content marketers know this. They know how to use words to attract and engage readers, tell a brand’s story, highlight its differentiators and delight readers with helpful information that compels them to want to find out more.
Relying on well-produced content isn’t just an intelligent way to make connections and see brand growth; it’s also highly cost-effective. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing efforts and generates approximately three times as many leads. In fact:
- 60% of consumers are interested in seeking out a product after reading about it.
- 70% of people would rather learn about a brand through content than advertising.
- 78% of people feel they’ve developed a relationship between themselves and a brand after reading custom content.
- 90% of consumers find custom content a helpful way to learn more.
In short, rich and robust content allows your marketing dollars to go much further and delivers a return that few other marketing efforts can duplicate.
Related: Ask These 3 Questions to Determine Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars
What is good content?
It’s one thing to understand that quality content is essential to growing your brand and reaching your best customers; it’s another to recognize it. So, what is good content?
Good content isn’t simply a matter of wordsmithing, although that’s certainly part of it. Clear, tight writing that doesn’t leave readers scratching their heads is a pleasure to read, and good brand content is written by professionals who have a solid grasp of grammar and punctuation but a knack for your brand and its voice. They are writers who are passionate about telling your story and are always looking for new opportunities to do so in ways that resonate with readers. They know what they write is an extension of your brand, which means they know who you are and your audience. Their writing will address pain points, offer solutions and identify opportunities.
Good content writers will also have a solid understanding of the role their writing plays in generating business for you and your brand and how it helps to move the reader down the sales funnel. That means, from an SEO perspective, high-quality content must include calls to action, hyperlinks to reliable sources and keywords that will help your content get seen often and ahead of the competition. This is a lot to ask of good content marketing, so it’s usually wise to leave it to the professionals, especially when you consider all that consistently well-executed content can deliver.
Related: How to Know If You’re Producing Quality Content
What difference does good content make?
Whether you’re an emerging brand or an established one, a franchisor or a franchisee, authentic original content is a franchise marketing solution that can help you reach more and better-qualified leads that can translate into sales. Search engine optimized content can help your brand or business become more visible, and well-planned content strategies, such as the pillar/cluster model, can help you rank higher in online searches.
In the bigger picture, quality content can build brand awareness and position you as an authority in your industry. The more good content you generate and share, the more audiences will rely on it to answer questions and present ideas or opportunities. Your brand will become more than what it sells; it will become a trusted resource.
Content marketing is a flexible and responsive tool that, in the hands of a skilled marketing team, can elevate your brand and keep it in front of your best customers. Furthermore, it can deliver precious data your team can use to refine all your marketing efforts so that they work in unison. Perhaps most importantly, good brand content can make your best customers happy they found you — which can go a long way toward establishing your brand’s longevity and value.