Should content marketing be in every digital marketing strategy?
Should every digital marketing plan involve content marketing? The industry is brimming with alternatives – what makes content so special, and why bother?
Well, we can’t sit here and say that 100 per cent of digital strategies need content marketing, because every business is different – this is ultimately a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. However, we can confidently say that it’s a damn good idea across so many business types and marketing goals that, if it isn’t needed in 100 per cent of strategies, it’s close to it.
The evidence – content marketing in statistics
“Objection!” you yell. “The plaintiff has not presented any evidence.”
OK, OK, you caught us getting excited. Before we keep toot tooting the content marketing horn, let’s quickly look at some facts:
- 91 per cent of B2B companies use content marketing, according to a Content Marketing Institute survey. Additionally, over half of that remaining 9 per cent plan to start using content marketing within the next year. We know that you shouldn’t jump off a cliff just because everyone else is, but if almost every B2B business is turning to inbound marketing in the form of content, maybe there’s a good reason.
- Content marketing generates three times more leads per dollar spent than paid advertising, says a study by Kapost. This is because it’s a low-cost, highly effective long-term marketing option that can build trust and give users an incentive to provide their details.
- 95 per cent of users don’t click to Google page two, found Chitika research. You have to be on page one to be seen, and SEO-driven content gives you more opportunities to rank on that first page.
- Small businesses with blogs see their monthly leads lift up to 126 per cent higher than those without, according to Hubspot. Thanks to its low cost and long-term effectiveness, even micro-sized businesses can reap the rewards of content marketing..
But back to our question – should content marketing be in every digital marketing strategy?
There are proven benefits to content marketing as a strategy. So again, should it be included in your digital marketing strategy, and if so, in what capacity?
Let’s explore some of the specific uses and benefits of content. You’ll see very quickly if it could be a helpful part of your next marketing campaign. We’ll discuss:
- The cost of content marketing.
- Content for brand awareness and trust.
- Content for SEO.
- Content for generating leads and converting users.
- Content for social media.
1. The cost of content marketing
It’s impossible to pin down a specific cost figure for content marketing because it all depends. In addition to blog posts, content can include social media content, email marketing content, the production of whitepapers or e-books, video production and even user-generated content. And that’s not including the research or auditing that goes into creating a content strategy.
This might sound expensive, but it’s far more cost effective than other forms of marketing. In fact, Demand Metric found that content is 62 per cent cheaper than traditional marketing.
In our article “Content marketing saves money so you can spend it on … potatoes?” you’ll see a list of different specific ways content marketing saves money.
SPOILER ALERT: In a perfect storm where you spend just $10 a day for a year advertising your content through Facebook, you could reach up to 14 million people and convert 1 million of them.
2. Content for brand awareness and trust
Brand awareness and trust are at the core of turning content into engagement – and engagement is at the core of getting ROI from marketing.
How does content build awareness?
Content can reach your audience in so many places, and each of these places draws users into the top of your marketing funnel. The more people engage with and share your content, the more people will have heard of or talk about your brand.
- Consider this: People are 90 per cent more likely to buy from a brand that was recommended to them by a friend, according to Invesp.
How does content build trust?
Modern content marketing is about educating your audience – providing something to read or watch that is genuinely valuable. Every time you educate someone, you’re flexing those expertise muscles and showing that your brand knows its stuff. Over time, more people will encounter your brand and learn something from it, so when they are ready to convert, your name is already front of mind.
- Consider this: A report by Rare Consulting found that 83 per cent of customers cite trust as a major factor in gaining their loyalty.
3. Content for SEO
Content and SEO go hand in hand. The latter tunes a website to perform better in search and guides best practice in how to produce new pages, while the former is the pages – and then some.
- Consider this: 72 per cent of SEO marketers told Ascend2 that relevant content creation is the most effective SEO tactic. On top of that, search engines are the most widely used way of finding information online, according to an Ofcom survey. As many as 92 per cent of respondents used search engines when browsing online.
So how does content boost SEO?
It creates crawlable content
The more content you have, the more Google can crawl. Many of Google’s ranking factors, like hyperlinks, keywords, content length, topic depth and content recency can all be influenced by posting regular, high-quality content.
Look at hyperlinks in particular: Google reads the anchor text of each link on a page and follows it through to the next one. This can help you build a network of internal links that encourages Google’s spiders to see and index more of your website. The spiders also read anchor text keywords and associate the following pages with those terms – adding to their individual SEO power.
It creates content for others to link to
Inbound linking is powerful. This is when other people link back to your content – it sends a signal to Google that your website is to be trusted as a valuable source, because someone else took the time to mention it. And as we know, authority on a topic is something Google is deeply interested in.
4. Content for generating leads and converting users
As we mentioned earlier, companies that use content marketing can generate more leads than those that don’t. For most companies, generating leads or gaining conversions is the surest way to achieve ROI from marketing investment. Content is perfectly placed to help with this.
Ways content can generate leads and convert users
- Build specially crafted landing pages (known as conversion landing pages) designed to attract readers via search, social or other channels, pique their interest, and then urge them to take the next step with a bold CTA – this CTA could be coupled with a form so users plug in their name and email in the process.
- Send out a regular email newsletter filled with useful information from your blog or other content sources. If the content is valuable, users will provide their details in order to hear from you – 59 per cent of marketers told Ad Age’s BtoB Magazine that email is their most effective channel for generating revenue.
- Offer compelling resources that someone would want to download. In return for their details, they get the answers to their problems, tips on how to achieve success, or whatever else they require – 80 per cent of users say they would register with their details to access a whitepaper, according to another BtoB Magazine source.
Improving lead scoring with content can help you get a better return on your investment from both content creation and marketing automation. Here are 5 ways the right content can drive more effective lead scoring. https://t.co/StfdsnYeQ3 pic.twitter.com/L4tWXnTBzg— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) June 8, 2018
5. Content for social media
In Australia alone, eight in 10 people are on social media, according to a Sensis Social Media report. In New Zealand, Nielsen found that figure is nearly nine in 10. Social media marketing is a huge business, and you need to be active where your users hang out.
The core uses of content marketing – building trust and awareness, educating users, generating leads, etc. – all work on social media, and in turn social media is a great place to get your content in front of new users.
How does content help me meet my social media objectives?
According to the Buffer State of Social report, these are the top five social media marketing objectives. We’ve added how content can help each one!
- Brand awareness: As we discussed, content gives users something to read, enjoy, learn from and share with their social networks. The more this occurs, the more people become familiar with your brand.
- Community engagement: Content is a chance to start a discussion, and discussions are excellent ways to engage communities online. For example, you could post a tutorial video and ask users to share their own insider tips on the same topic. Now your comments section can become a place not only of chatter, but of further education.
- Content distribution: On top of posting content to your various channels, you can also use in-built paid advertising on each platform to reach more users.
- Sales/lead generation: Use social media as a place to advertise your conversion landing pages, free resources and so on to encourage users to click through. The content itself can then entice customers to leave their details. Some platforms, like LinkedIn, even have in-built lead gen forms for this purpose.
- Customer support: While most of your customer support will happen through comments and messages, if you get regular questions from users, you could write answers to these queries in the form of article content and then post that to your page for users to read when they have an issue. Theoretically some users will no longer need to talk to a customer service agent, because your content already helped!
So, should you add content marketing to every digital marketing strategy?
We certainly think so.