In the world of content marketing, people want to read, engage with, and share, authentic brand stories. But behind the stories, lies cold hard cash in the form of sales and brand uplift.
Research shows that content marketing increases the quality and quantity of marketing leads for 75% of companies. Creating content in-house, or commissioning content from external providers, is still one of the best ways marketers can spend their budgets.
If you’re still not convinced about content, want to find extra inspiration for your strategy, or you need some hard-and-fast ways to show stakeholders that content is a worthy investment, read on…
Keeping up-to-date is crucial
The aim of content marketing isn’t always to explicitly promote your brand. Instead, it attracts a target audience and keeps them coming back. This increases profitable actions from customers surrounding products & services.
Traditionally, content marketing has included blog posts and other online material, including video, infographics and social media posts. This list of popular media continues to grow, with current trends veering more towards interactive content and video live streaming. We’re seeing a shift away from ‘static’ content, to content that’s more dynamic and reactive.
If your brand doesn’t evolve its content strategy and keep moving with the times — you may find that you’re creating content in the wrong format, and struggling to engage your customers. You could end up spending thousands of dollars blogging when your customers are actually moving towards video content or social media curation. A dedicated content marketing team and strategy will help your business move with the times and create content that’s more in-tune with consumer and retail trends.
Storytelling is changing sales
Telling stories has become a mainstay of modern sales culture, and brands need to evolve their sales strategy accordingly. Don’t end up being left behind with other door-to-door salespeople!
Take the example of Mastercard, whose ‘Priceless’ adverts focus on telling a human story, rather than outlining the benefits and features of using Mastercard. Mastercard developed their ‘Priceless’ campaign by seeing content as a holistic customer engagement platform, rather than solely approaching it as an advertising platform.
You should think of your brand’s approach to content marketing in a similar way.
A friendly, accessible approach that captivates your audience with an interesting, authentic story is much more likely to bring in clicks and sales. This naturally leads people to engage further with your brand, learning a bit (or a lot) about your products & services along the way.
Investment in content marketing is increasing
75% of marketers are increasing investment in content marketing. By ignoring content marketing, and failing to embrace current trends, you will fall behind your competitors who are making the most of content streams.
Good content creates community
Content marketing offers a fantastic way to cultivate relationships with your customers. Use a range of media to tell your brand’s story, and invite customers and potential customers to engage in authentic conversations with your brand.
Patagonia is a great example of a brand with a strong story to tell. Their message is a responsible, ethical and environmentally-friendly one – all topics of interest among their target audience.
By embracing innovative content, building authority around a niche and standing out from the crowd, Patagonia has created an impressive following. Their successful KPIs include over 3.1 million followers on Instagram, and have enabled the company to scale its eCommerce business. Patagonia, the authentic brand, continues to champion content marketing.
Ignoring this potential means missing a golden opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with your brand’s audience, and letting your competitors steal the limelight.
Failing to develop meaningful relationships with your audience will cost you time, as you’ll need to continue plugging away to impress the value of your brand on them. This will also ultimately cost you sales, as the less engaged your audience is, the less likely they are to become paying customers.
Silos are expensive
Content marketing should always be a holistic part of an organization’s marketing process, not a lone strategy.
Sure, it’s a great idea to have a dedicated content team – as big organizations such as Google, United Airlines and Facebook do – but don’t see it as a separate or standalone channel. Quality content needs to be integrated with every step of your marketing strategy, and should also be rolled out into product and customer service teams.
Working in silos is an expensive way to create content — so make sure that your brand empowers as many people as possible to create, publish, and promote content. Employees and team members are hugely valuable content promoters, so making content part of your team culture is a savvy way to save on content seeding budget.
Poor content impacts all channels
Poor content is like the rotten core of your marketing apple. Let’s have a look at how ignoring content marketing will negatively impact your other marketing channels:
- Social Media
Social media is the platform – content comprises the message. Without strong content, your social media marketing strategy will lack the engagement that it needs to be effective.
Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
Successful PR strategies address real issues, and tell interesting stories people naturally want to engage with. Poor content will ruin brand credibility and result in 0% traction.
There’s no point paying for adverts if you don’t have great content to drive people further through your marketing funnel. Strong content is the secret to getting clicks. The rise of ‘clickbait’ illustrates this, whilst frustrations around it show the importance of valuable content that rewards your audience for clicking on it.
- Inbound marketing
Driving inbound traffic and leads won’t work without a compelling story. Content is key in encouraging your audience to reach out to you. Whether it’s seasonal gift guides or product reviews — high-quality content is central to your online sales funnel.
Poor content may even negatively impact team cohesion, and it won’t encourage further investment in your company or brand. Not investing in content can often mean losing out on sales and brand development opportunities.
Not on mobile? Ouch!
Internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop worldwide over a year ago, and the disparity is only growing.
Big organizations such as United Airlines recognize that a lot of content consumption is happening on smaller screens when people are on-the-go. For them, this signals a need to prioritize engaging people in their social media feeds, whilst customers are browsing & consuming content on mobile — a savvy way to increase brand consideration and secure those sales.
Being mobile friendly is hugely important — it’s something your brand must consider as part of your content marketing strategy and beyond.
If you have built a content asset, you can review whether it is mobile-responsive by using Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test. If your site has been built using a mobile-friendly CMS or has been correctly built in the first place, this should happen automatically. Nevertheless, you will need to think about optimizing mobile content for speed and UX — ensuring your marketing message works in the smaller mobile format.
The important thing to remember is that ignoring the impact of mobile content marketing will cost you.
Content marketing beats other channels
One thing that can’t be ignored is the very real cost benefits of content marketing – it’s much cheaper than equivalent marketing campaigns in print, TV and radio.
If you want some hard stats, then according to demand metric, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing whilst generating three times as many leads.
Content marketing also has longer-term positive brand effects than one-off ad runs, creating lasting resources which can be accessed all over the world. It’s a truly global, scalable tactic.
You already hold the keys to your content success
The heart of good content is an authentic brand, strong storytelling, and a compelling voice. You don’t need to hire actors, voiceover artists or film crew.
You already have many of these content marketing resources within your business: the best stories will come from your existing employees and customers.
Use content marketing as a way to save money, keep your costs down, tap into existing resources, and introduce longevity into your marketing output.
By recycling and keeping an eye on content profitability, you can keep costs down and improve your reach without having to allocate new budget.
Content marketing is a journey. You may start out with an initial set of goals surrounding your content strategy, only to discover your audience engages with you in a different way. Content marketing is a continually evolving journey involving trial-and-error, and may take a sustained commitment over months or years to really perfect. By ignoring content marketing today, you are only delaying the start of your journey; and as content’s importance and inevitability grow — it’s high time to get involved.
If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!