When people talk about the benefits of content marketing, do you question if they apply to your business?

When people talk about storytelling and thought leadership, is your knee-jerk reaction that you don’t have the time? Or a blog? Or a social media presence?

Forget your general impressions of content marketing. If you could create a reason to engage in a meaningful, value-based conversation with one of your top prospects or customers, would you do it?

Content programs are not just about social media quips, viral videos, and opinion-laden prose. A lot goes on behind the scenes. Content marketers are regularly delivering information that is relevant, interesting and timely for their intended audience. As added benefits, companies are getting to know their top customers better, tapping knowledge from their experts more often, and identifying new ways to drive results.

Here are the top 5 benefits of content marketing, other than content.

Customer involvement. Case studies, white papers, testimonials and project snapshots would not be possible without highlighting the client. Reach out to clients for comment, and you may learn about something new they are working on. Promote them on your website, and they may become your newest brand advocate.

New opportunities. The more you talk to people inside and outside of your company about the great things you are doing and would like to do, the more you unlock possibilities for new initiatives, revenue streams, and partnerships.

Public relations. Don’t sit around and wait for a reporter to find you worthy of their coveted cover. Write your own version of a feature story and share it with your target audience of suspects, prospects and customers directly. While you’re at it, submit it to your favorite business publication to peak their interest.

Back scratching. Content marketing creates a tiny publishing company within your walls, where lists of story ideas are always floating around half-baked. Some of these topics are better served as guest posts on the blogs of your partners, allies or industry organizations. Guest-posting will boost the quality of their content while positioning you as a powerful resource.

Social stature. Instead of driving Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts to other sites, build community around yours. Create custom content that links back to your web properties, host a seminar or webinar to discuss a timely topic, or champion a cause to help define your voice.

Companies that provide a consistent flow of news, insights, projects and technical tips rank higher in search engine results, give audiences a reason to revisit their websites, arm their salespeople with tools to be more efficient, and, most importantly, stay top of mind. So the next time you think about content marketing, consider how the process of producing content could be just as valuable — if not more — than the published product.