Content marketing is not just a fad – it’s become a necessity. Content spans everything that’s in a website and whatever you publish on social media; including but are not limited to blog posts, podcasts, videos, images, and downloadable treats (e-books, whitepapers, case studies, etc.). While some may view them as ‘fillers’ to an otherwise drab, blank page, they serve a higher purpose. Without content, what is there to bring excitement, interest, and pleasure to users?
Although content marketing has attracted SEO experts everywhere, 2015 will be the year when it will play a huge role in digital marketing. This is in part due to Google’s insistence on high quality content (as well as its inclusion in ranking factors); but also because this is what users today value most. For all its glory, it’s surprising that many businesses don’t know to leverage it.
Wyzowl recently conducted a survey on content marketing and its usage. Respondents were mainly from the Advertising and Marketing sector, between the ages of 25 and 54. Now if you haven’t amped up your game, or you still don’t have concrete content marketing plans; let these numbers pull you out of your funk.
Top 3 Content Marketing Musts
Content marketing has many aspects; but in general, it has three crucial elements:
- type of content
- frequency of update
- medium for marketing
It’s important to know what KIND of content you want to offer – and a business can’t do this if it doesn’t know its goals, products/services, and target market. But once that is out of the way, digital marketers must then focus on how OFTEN they should create content. After which they could focus on the third vital ingredient to content marketing success: WHERE to publish. According to the survey, 8 out of 10 respondents prefer to have their content on their own site; while a whopping 70% post on social media.
In fact, you can do both. By putting fabulous content on your own website, you receive traffic that will increase your site’s ranking and online authority. At the same time, publishing on social media generates engagement from your social community; driving leads and possible future sales. However, not everybody thinks being social is wise. A surprising 18% of respondents say they don’t utilize the power of social media. This may be due to a) their concern for risks to their brand image; OR b) because it’s unnecessary (if you’re already popular, why bother, right?).
That’s awesome stuff; but back to the first problem: what should you make? There all kinds of content to choose from: articles, videos, photos – which is most effective? 49% say case studies are a great medium to attract users; while 48% swear by creating helpful guides. Blogging comes close with 44% who agree that it’s awesome for content marketing. Why do people prefer walls of text as opposed to videos, photo galleries, or podcasts? Case studies and guides share one thing in common: they’re in-depth, usually consisting of a thousand words or more. This suggests to users that they have been well-researched; providing more insight on the topic than blog posts.
When creating your own case study, it’s up to you to keep it exciting. Support your words with relevant images, charts, graphs, and tables. Highlight important text, use quotes, and provide bullets to help readers digest information faster.
Just as the type of content and the medium for marketing are crucial, a digital marketing expert should also look at post frequency to help with the strategy’s success. Google has its own rules when ranking fresh content, but one should publish content based on business goals. If you update daily, you keep your pages fresh although you risk appearing spammy to readers (unless that’s really AWESOME content). Maybe that’s why 75% of respondents opt to post new stuff monthly; with 36% choosing to deliver fresh content every week.
At the end of the day, it depends on what you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy. Are you after leads? Brand awareness? Or organic traffic?
The Why’s and How’s of Content Marketing
This brings us to WHY we need content marketing in the first place. It’s definitely nice to have something to browse on a website, but 29% say they use quality content to develop brand awareness. This coincides with brands like Amazon, Virgin, Coca-Cola, and Apple: all of which have amazing brand campaigns (who doesn’t like Richard Branson?!). When utilized well, content helps people remember businesses. In fact, 55% of respondents learned about a new brand thanks to content. This just proves how powerful this strategy is – as long as it is used AND measured properly.
But how exactly do you measure a content’s ROI? Astonishingly, 53% of content marketers do NOT measure their ROI. Those that do, attest to a positive return on investment; while 38% said they were uncertain of the results. Content marketing is definitely lucrative if not highly effective. The real challenge is measuring the efficiency of the chosen campaign. Your metrics will depend on the three vital elements of content marketing (frequency, type, and platform).
Remember: just because content marketing has made lots of businesses successful doesn’t mean it will work for you. Each brand is unique – so find something that suits you AND your company goals.
Should You Update Your Content Marketing Plan?
Success needs a road map. Whether it’s content marketing or a vision for future expansion, it pays to have a plan. This prevents confusion and scattered results because you have a guide to where you want to go. Unfortunately, about 11% of survey respondents are unsure if they have a clear content marketing plan (which could be dangerous for their budget in the long run). How do you counter this?
- review the current plan and previous marketing results
- identify opportunities and strengths within the campaign
- brainstorm new marketing ideas
- align strategies with business goals
- evaluate new content marketing plan and place deadline
Setting a date for the results you want keeps things time-bound and realistic: two SMART ways to effective planning. If you’re hesitant to make adjustments or you’re not sure where to begin, ask help from expert SEO services. Content marketing may be the best thing to happen to your business – all you have to do is boost your game plan a bit.