90% of businesses are already using content marketing to generate inbound leads. With companies pushing out so much content daily, marketers may be wondering if content marketing is still relevant in 2018.
The statistics speak for themselves, and the answer is a clear and resounding: yes!
More and more marketers are turning to blogging, podcasting, vlogging, live video, and even Snapchat to get their companies’ message out in a way that is valuable, educational, and informative to their audiences.
While there is a glut of content published daily on the Internet, smaller brands can still compete by providing relevant, tailored content that helps prospects resolve their pain points.
What Exactly Is “Content Marketing?”
Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profit-able customer action.
In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Content marketing is the act of sharing tips, advice, and other value-added information as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into loyal, lifelong, repeat buyers.
Utilizing the power of opt-in permission to deliver content via email, RSS feeds, social media channels, and other methods, your goal is to become a valued resource for hundreds and thousands of people who, in time, will want to buy what you sell. Over a period of weeks, months, and years, you’ll build a solid relationship with them and earn their trust. You don’t want to sell to them once and never see them again. You want to make a friend—a friend who enjoys buying from you—for life.
Content marketing is more cost-effective than paid ad campaigns.
Each person sees up to 5,000 ads per day. With so much clutter, many people have learned to tune out pop-ups, banner ads, and even pay-to-click links on Google.
A recent study took into account the cost of hiring a content marketing team vs. creating a paid search campaign. For medium- and large-sized businesses, content marketing cost up to 41% less per lead than paid search. Average customer acquisition cost for a large company dropped from $108 to $64 per lead when they switched to content marketing.
While it takes less time to get a paid campaign rolling, content marketing strategies generate over 4x more leads per $1000 within 36 months.
More content = more traffic to your website.
According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages than businesses without blogs. As you publish more content, Google will continue to increase your page rank, making it easier for customers to find you. Almost half of individuals aged 18–49 already get most of their news online, so make sure you appear where they are looking.
Since 77% of Internet users read blogs, these tidbits of information are a subtle way to gain your audience’s attention. After all, 70% of people would prefer to learn about a company through an article than an ad — so just start writing!
Content marketing consistently provides more sales-ready leads than paid ads.
47% of buyers view at least 3–5 pieces of content before they contact a sales representative. 96% of B2B buyers look for more information from industry thought leaders before buying.
Furthermore, 82% of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content, and 70% of customers feel closer to a business after engaging with their content. As a result, 74% of companies find that lead quality and quantity went up as they introduced a content marketing strategy.
By creating custom content that helps educate your customer, you become a trusted resource that they can turn to when they need a solution. However, customers only spend an average of 37 seconds on each article, so make sure your message grabs their attention from the start.
Both B2B and B2C marketers think content marketing is more important than ever.
In 2017, 53% of marketers claimed that content marketing was their top inbound strategy. B2B marketers, in particular, allocate up to 28% of their budget to content creation. With 1,440 WordPress posts published every minute, marketers know the competition for keyword ranking is steep.
However, 87% of content writers are still struggling to produce material that engages their buyers. Make sure your content aligns with the buyer journey so that it informs your prospect about their next steps. 49% of marketers are now focusing on using a buyer’s journey map to organize their content strategy.
The greatest challenge in content marketing is measuring ROI.
Only 8% of marketers consider themselves effective or very effective at measuring content ROI. Considering the top three goals of content marketing are generating leads, thought leadership, and brand awareness, the success of a content marketing campaign can be hard to measure.
However, 87% of brands use sales lead quality, 71% of companies use website traffic, and 67% use SEO ranking to measure the effectiveness of their content marketing. Lead generation can be one of the easiest ways to measure the success of a marketing strategy since more leads usually mean more sales and revenue.
Content marketing is still one of the most effective ways to generate organic leads. Although almost every company is producing content these days, the most effective marketers are using statistics like these to measure and improve their strategy.
Make sure to listen to your customers and provide them with the information they need to make an educated decision. You may start to see sales-ready leads lining up within a few months, but be patient. It can take a while to start ranking on Google or gaining attention as a thought leader, but if you implement a consistent content strategy, your customers will soon know where to go for solutions.
So, there you go, plain and simple. That is content marketing in a nut-shell. But, how do you make it work for you?
Content marketing is about doing lots of things right: having a blog and establishing a platform? Check. Having a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other networks? Check. Providing free content in exchange for contact information? Check. Getting people on your autoresponder list and regularly sending them informative tips and advice about things that are important to them? Check that, too. In essence, you want to leave no stone unturned, showing up everywhere and anywhere your prospects may be hanging out online. Wherever they go, there you will be as well—with their permission, of course. They won’t be able to miss you. And you won’t miss them. Casting a big net that covers every area of your target sea will help you find all types of fish you’ve never seen or even thought you’d see. And that’s the key.