Content marketing isn’t new. Major brands have been using content to engage with customers and drive them towards sales for more than a century now. But why is content marketing important for agribusinesses and what exactly is it?
Content marketing is about sharing your insights, information, experiences and expert advice with your existing and potential customers. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, offer solutions to the problems people face and it’s about positioning you as THE expert in your field.
However, to be successful you must be generous with your insights and be honest and genuine. Many are often afraid about revealing their secrets, but content marketing gives your customers valuable information and that makes for powerful foundations for a trusted and lengthy relationship with your agricultural business.
Crucially, quality content allows you to compete with the big brands with the big budgets. They can spend more, but a solid piece of content that is valued, read and shared can outperform any advertising spend in search engines.
I’ve been a journalist and communications professional for the best part of 30 years now and I have
used stories and content to shape opinion, change behaviour, challenge perceptions, rebuild reputations and grow businesses.
Everyone loves a story and content is the most powerful way for your business to be heard.
How can I grow my business with content marketing?
Many people fall into the trap of thinking of content marketing as a simple extension of your existing sales messages. And, while content is a powerful sales tool, it is about communicating directly without customers without selling. The goal of blogs and other content marketing activity is to change behaviour.
Not only will a quality blog help to build brand awareness, but the key benefit is about deepening relationships with existing customers and building new relationships with potential buyers.
Put simply, you’re exchanging valuable, relevant and topical content in exchange for deeper customer loyalty.
Why agricultural marketing experts need content marketing
Content marketing is especially important for agribusinesses for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that farmers are shrewd and rational customers. Farmers are arguably one of the toughest customers out there as they do not make emotional buying decisions and purchases are usually heavily researched – either online, through published materials or their personal network.
Agricultural sales have a complex buying journey, for complex products that will usually have high costs. As such, farmers require a lot of information and support, not only about the product ahead of a sale, but also information and tips about how to use it, what the benefits are and how they can overcome any issues.
Farmers also rely heavily on relationships and recommendations from their peers and network of advisors. By using content marketing to build trusted relationships with people in that network, you can ensure farmers will not only start to build a loyalty to your brand, but will also see it among their peers.
Another key consideration is that the farming community is a relatively small pool of customers and they are close-knit. You must treat them well.
By building up a bank of quality content that helps farmers to overcome the daily challenges they face, you can grow and cement the relationship with them. Get it right and you will become a
trusted “friend” and develop a buying relationship that can last for generations.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Across the entire business spectrum, more than 90% of B2B brands are now using content marketing to attract customers. In the agribusiness sector, just 78% of businesses are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by content marketing.
That means there is still a big opportunity for agribusinesses to use content marketing to position themselves as leaders in their field and dominate search rankings online – ensuring your brand is the first name that appears when a farmer searches online for a solution to a problem.
Farming is also a very defined audience and it has little in the way of diversity. One piece of content has the potential to resonate with your whole customer base, further growing the impact of your blog.
However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Despite many agribusinesses being slow on the uptake, this industry was the pioneer of content marketing and has been doing it for more than a century.
What is a good example of content marketing?
Many of you will be familiar with “The Furrow”, the much-loved journal published by global tractor manufacturing giant John Deere. The Furrow was created in 1897 and is arguably the first example of content marketing. This simple journal uses stories to show real people sharing real experiences and advice.
The Furrow is a trusted source of seasonal information and best practice. John Deere knows its audience well and continues to create content that is useful today.
The business is seen as THE expert and THE go-to brand in agriculture and that journey to the top of the industry started with a journal 125 years ago.
How many of you still pick up the journals and supplements produced by the trusted agricultural brands for the latest thinking and advice? Most of these brands started with printed newspapers and journals but are now doing the same thing online and these articles and insights are a vital lifeline for their customers.
This is content marketing and it demonstrates just how powerful it can be for your business
How do you create digital marketing content?
But how do you build a successful content marketing strategy for your business? The key to a successful strategy is understanding what questions are your customers asking.
For example, what did you do the last time you wanted to buy something new or find a solution to a problem you had?
You googled it and typed in a question. Farmers are doing the same. They will search online, read reviews, compare prices and ask around on social media for advice, recommendations and answers. They will do all of this before they even approach a business. In many instances, they’ll find the solution they need and will buy online – you will never know about that missed opportunity.
To make sure you are seen and don’t miss out on these opportunities, make sure you are answering their questions online using quality content.
If you make a note of the most common questions your customers ask or the most common problems they face, you can be sure that others are going online and asking the same questions.
For more guidance on this and how you can ensure that you’re visible across all stages of the buying journey, see our recent Agri Marketing Mastery video on the topic: Full Funnel Search Visibility for Agribusinesses
Successful content marketing is about creating content that answers these questions. By sharing your knowledge and experiences or telling the story of others who’ve overcome the same issue, you will quickly demonstrate that you are the expert and can be trusted to help.
The value of content marketing
As I’ve already said, farmers make educated buying decisions and they are educating themselves by reading content online.
This can make your job easier as, if they’ve already engaged with your content online, they’ll be more confident dealing with you as they’ll trust you and feel like they have started to form a relationship.
Remember, a new generation of digital native farmers are coming through and you need great content to capture these farmers as they research what solutions they need to overcome the challenges of the future.
Plant the seeds with content now and reap the harvest later.
If you want to discuss why content marketing is important in more detail, feel free to get in touch.