It’s normal to wonder how important content marketing actually is. With all this talk about content marketing systems, publishing consistent blog articles, brand awareness, etc., is it even worth it? There’s a lot of hype around the importance of how content marketing works, but do you know anyone who can attest to real results?
We spoke with marketers, business owners, and content managers to finally get to the bottom of this. Read what they have to say about content marketing, how they use it, and whether or not it actually works.
Of those we spoke with, they all agreed that content marketing is effective in the long run. While some strayed from blatant agreement, all noted that the strategy works if you’re willing to put in the time, publish valuable content, and set proper goals for yourself.
1. Blog Posts Work, But There’s More to It
I strongly believe that content marketing works. It’s a great way to spread awareness for your brand easily. To be honest, we’ve seen the best results from blog posting on our website. As a result, these blog posts have started ranking high within search engines and therefore have brought constant traffic to our website.
However, it’s not just as simple as writing a blog post. You need to do research on the focus keyword you’re writing about to ensure it’s suitable for your target audience. You also need to check the competition of that keyword against your competitors. The aim is to find a low competition keyword with a lot of monthly searches.
2. Multiple Pillars Better Your Marketing
Marketing your business online is essential, which is why it’s important to have multiple pillars in your digital marketing strategy. The benefits of content marketing for your business can vary, but all of them will positively impact your bottom line. Let’s have a look at them:
- Brand Awareness. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of building brand awareness to your target audience at a significantly low cost. The use of advertising or PR for building brand awareness can be heavy on your marketing budget. If content marketing is done correctly, it can increase relevant traffic to your website by letting people know about your brand. Through content, one can easily let people know about their products and how unique is their business.
- Establishing trust. The content that we create should always provide some sort of value to our readers. You might choose to create short how-to tutorials or write a blog post with some tips and tricks. As people continually get helpful information from your content, they’ll begin to see you as a valuable resource, and this will make them come back to your website. They’ll also begin to see you as an expert in your field and gain confidence in your abilities.
3. Publish Content Jam-Packed with Value
It’s undeniable that content marketing works for small businesses and is an attractive route because, although time-consuming, it’s relatively low cost. However, what’s key is that you have a strategy behind what you’re doing.
Firstly, understand the keywords/topics that drive quality volume to your website (and use tools like Yoast SEO to guide how best to optimize). Secondly, take time to put together a piece of content that’s interesting, educational and easy to read. Third, make sure you know whether a piece of content is regarded as cornerstone content (i.e. a long piece that’ll direct to other pages of a wider range of topics) or supporting content (a shorter form piece of around 1000 words which can support other topic areas). Finally, work to build a network of links with other associated content, both within other articles on your own site, as well as third party sites.
If you’re not a very good writer, engage with a copywriter or blog writer to help with the production of content on an ongoing basis. Remember though, they’ll still need to understand and follow a clear content strategy.
4. Try Focusing on Other Strategies
Content marketing can definitely work, but it can also be really tough – especially for a small business. Without the budget to outsource and with most of your time spent on running the business, it can be difficult to invest the time or money needed to create content that’s actually going to make an impact.
If all you’re able to do is churn out content that only manages to be as good as what’s already out there, you’re wasting your time. But if you have the right strategy, and focus your time or budget on great content that people want, it can definitely bring you success.
The question of whether it’s worth it really depends on your vertical. As a digital agency, we’re lucky enough to have the skillset and knowledge in house to dedicate towards content marketing. But for other small businesses, finding the time or budget for the in-depth content you need to make your efforts succeed might not be a viable option. So it might be better to focus on other strategies, such as PPC or social media marketing.
5. Don’t Rush Through It
Content marketing does work and it’s a great way to bring qualified visitors to your site who end up making purchases and becoming loyal customers. Content marketing doesn’t work when you rush through it and put up lazy, uninformative and un-targeted articles. But it can be more than worth it when you put the time in and do it correctly.
6. Know Your Goals
It depends. In order to understand if content marketing is working for you or not, you first need to understand what your goals are. Is your content for sales enablement? Lead generation? Increasing awareness? Each of these goals requires different content to be created and different metrics to be measured. If you’re just creating content because someone told you it’s a good idea, it’s bound not to work for you.
7. It’s a Long-Term Plan
Content marketing is absolutely worth your time, as long as you realize it’s a longer-term game. It’s one of the best investments of your time for your business. As you continue to put in the time and effort of content marketing, your business begins scaling, so you rank higher on Google and customers find you organically.
The same goes for content marketing on social media. So as you scale, it’s like compound interest where you grow faster organically and more and more people find you — all due to your content marketing efforts. I always recommend focusing at the same time on building strategic partnerships and relationships to also help grow your business.
8. Content Marketing Brings in Customers
Content marketing allows business owners to open an endless number of pipelines. Every blog, tweet, or Instagram post that you publish is another door that you’re inviting potential customers into.
Personally, I’ve seen the most significant growth through my blog. By optimizing all of my posts for search engines, I’ve reached people who search for information on certain topics. At the moment, I’m converting roughly 1% of readers into paying customers. And around 5% of readers sign up for my mailing list, which means that I may be able to convert them in the future.
As an entrepreneur who previously worked for another company in the “real” marketing world, I can tell you that content marketing is a valuable asset to your business. During economic recessions, companies often cut back on their traditional marketing efforts, such as print and television, and ramp up their digital marketing efforts. They do this because it’s far easier to turn a potential customer into a paying customer, and that’s what we’re all trying to do, right?
9. Content Needs to Stand Out
For us, content marketing has been the most successful marketing strategy. It’s the most profitable because it’s not expensive, nor too time-consuming to create content.
Our first tip is that you should focus on results. While it’s obvious that you need to cater your content to your audience and marketing personas, your content should also reflect on the results of what your product or service offers. I could talk for hours and write hundreds of blogs about our services and what we do. But, a potential client may be more interested in hearing about how our services will benefit their business.
The other thing to keep in mind is that less is more. The internet is drowning with content. Brands generate more content than ever, but the demand for it isn’t really increasing. There’s truly only so much content that people can consume, understand, and share. In the world of content marketing, sometimes less is more. I would recommend focusing on quality over quantity. Ensure that a piece of content is informational, engaging, and resonates with your audience. Don’t just release content because it’s been a few weeks since your last blog post. Publish content when you have something valuable to share.
10. People Love Stories
I believe content marketing does work, and here’s why. If you focus on the story, a clear message and have a solid plan, then content marketing can boost your business. Why? People love stories. We’re natural storytellers. If your content tells a story, you create trust between you and your audience. Having a clear message is key. Stories are great, but your audience has to know what you’re talking about and how the story can benefit them.
Lastly, have a plan. Map your story and your message before you start.
11. Market Your Content Properly
Content marketing worked for our online business, but we’ve realized that we found the desired results when the content was done properly. There are no shortcuts or cheat codes when it comes to content marketing. What’s important is building that loyal community and taking responsibility as a brand to bring the best possible content to readers. A good piece of content will attract and sell itself.
Building a small engaged viewership via social media content and blog content has helped our small business grow immensely within the past year. To do this, we researched what our target consumer was searching for and created content based on what they needed rather than what we as a business thought they needed.
In order to find results within your content marketing strategy, you need to understand your community and find ways to provide value through your content strategy.
12. Social Media and Additional Content Are Key
Content marketing is critical to our business conduct. The first and foremost tactic is to create a business blog highly relevant to your audience. With content that offers in-depth information tagged with the right set of keywords and SEO positioning, our website ranks high. Our blog has also earned us the most conversions.
Mettl’s business blog is the highest subscribed channel for us because we cater to a lot of dimensions about the HR and assessment world. We also have clusters of content pieces linking back to each other that provides all the information the end-user is looking for at the same place.
Apart from the business blog, it’s imperative to have insightful resources like reports, blogs, white papers, infographics, and factsheets. To get access to such material, we have subscription forms with an agreement, which solicits their permission to receive newsletters. These website resources have helped us set up a strong and effective lead generation engine that churns continuous business revenue.
While the rest of social media platforms haven’t served our value well because of the nature of our business, LinkedIn has proved to be an excellent medium for lead generation. We have high thought leadership content pieces disseminated through LinkedIn posts as well as content about what we’re up to. Also, we run paid advertisements on LinkedIn. The cumulative effect of all this ensures we get organic and inorganic leads.
13. Content Marketing is a Commitment
Content marketing works for businesses willing to play the long game. The odds of content going viral are slim in today’s content-saturated world. But, every piece of published content contributes to a business’ bottom line, whether that’s through SEO, thought leadership, lead generation, or engagement.
Content marketing is a commitment. Effective content marketing is the sum of all its parts, but businesses should still opt to create quality content over becoming a content mill. With the vast amount of content that’s published every day, you need to provide your audience with content they can actively consume and gain some sort of benefit from. Invest in your content, and it’ll pay off down the line.
14. Marketing is a Brand Extension
Content marketing works, and consistency is the key. If you’re going to post one video a day to LinkedIn, write half a dozen blog posts a month, and do outreach to gain more exposure, the dividends are in the future.
Content marketing works because it’s an extension of brand building. It’ll also increase the corporate profile of your business within your industry. As with all marketing, a few months is an inferior metric to judge performance.
On average, it can take one year for a piece of content to organically rank on Google. Content marketing is how you push to get exposure within a much smaller window.
As you can see, business owners and marketers agree that content marketing can work wonders for your business. The results will vary depending on your budget, goals, and patience. However, if you really want to see your leads soar, content marketing is something every business can benefit from.