A Case For Content Marketing As Best Digital Marketing Strategy In 2019 And Beyond
Content marketing is getting a lot of traction and for many solid reasons. If you are one of those undecided, let talk about it.
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Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJiWCa4LnpI
Why Content Marketing?
QUOTE: "Doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark. you know what you are doing, but nobody else does."
Steuart Henderson Britt
But how do you make sure we are marketing our business and product in a most effective way, both in terms of it's reach and cost? In this age, we need to keep our marketing strategies on the front foot in order to keep ahead of the competition.
Which marketing strategy, can inform and influence a customer through the whole journey of a purchase lifecycle, from customer acquisition to after sales satisfaction?
As of 2018, content marketing is a synonym for effective and efficient digital marketing.
Content Marketing Is Back In The Driving Seat
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
Joe Pulizzi, Epic Content Marketing
As of 2018, one has several options available for digital marketing like Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, Radio advertising, Tv advertising just to name a few.
All types of marketing have pros and cons.
Then why content marketing?
From a shopping lifecycle perspective, content marketing is one and only of it's kind with the ability to inform, advice, and answer a customer, at all stages of a purchase process.
Let's take an example:
Say you are a startup and you have allocated a budget and you want to learn how to implement a digital marketing strategy for your business.
When you use Google to research, types of digital marketing strategies, what is going to get you to our site, quoracreative?
High-Quality Content about digital marketing strategies.
Say you have read and learned about different kinds of digital marketing and you are particularly interested in content marketing strategies, what is going to help you learn more about content marketing?
High-Quality Content about content marketing.
Say now you have an in-depth understanding of content marketing and you need to understand the costs for content marketing in particular. What is going to help you understand the costs content marketing?
High-Quality Content about content marketing cost.
You have learned about projected costs for content marketing and you are now looking for a content marketing agency, what is going to help you make a decision about an agency selection for your content marketing needs?
High-Quality Content about how to select an agency for content marketing
As of 2018,
42% of consumers look towards content to acquire information about potential purchases.
52% of the potential customers say informative content has impacted their purchase decisions.
57% of marketers have acquired new customers by using high-quality content that facilitates a customer's journey to reach a decision
Why do content marketing? The answer of course is that you should do it because it works. The answer is that you should do it because most of your marketing is getting less effective. We know that if we create content our customers want, content that is helpful or entertaining to them, then we will attract buyers. We will earn their trust. And ultimately that will translate into business value in the form of revenue and loyal customers.”
Michael Brenner, SAP/B2B Marketing Insider
Audience Perspective Is Shifting
Studies show that Millennials trust their friends, not advertising.
Habits, attitudes and behaviors of the majority of the audience has evolved over the last 20 years.
First major shift was due to the transformation of the internet, emergence of web 2.0 in the first decade of the twenty-first fostering the rise of social media and other interactive, crowd-based communication tools.
Second major shift was due to the mass avalabilty of smart devices, coupled with bigger data packages, wider bandwidth and internet connections which were reliable and cheap.
Studies now suggest that consumers do not trust advertisement and instead prefer detail. Details in the form of content, feedback and reviews are more compelling reasons for their decisions.
What this tells us is that millennials don't take your word for it. They need convincing.
And how can we convince them? by using content. Content like a detailed technical specification of the phone model or a video or even a related podcast is a better medium than the traditional advertisement.
As we mentioned earlier, the average person spends 4 times more on the internet than a decade ago. What is this time spent on?
"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."
Gucci Family Slogan
Why Is Content Necessary?
Many in the management circle, even at medium to large scale businesses, are still not true believers in content or to say it accurately, "do not understand the power of content".
Many businesses come from the traditional mindset of advertising and ROI but the ground has shifted and is shifting fast.
Search engines and web giants like social media companies played a part in not giving quality content the value it deserves for a long while.
Their business model revolved around paid advertising, but things have come to a point where they needed to change.
For example. Facebook now prefers individual, user-generated content over business or promoted content.
Google now prefers High-quality content than a high quantity or keywords stuffed content. Even paid advertising requires "quality landing pages" to win a place at a better price in Google AdWords bidding system.
This paints a picture, where things are heading in the future.
Content, High-Quality Content is the King.
If you are on it, you will win it.
High Quality Content Is Evergreen
"When you’ve done it right, evergreen content is natural linkbait. If your articles are high quality and have lots of value to readers, they’ll naturally want to share it by linking to it from their pages or sharing it on social media. Creating high quality, valuable evergreen content will benefit your link profile in multiple ways:"
Evergreen Content | Woorank
Perhaps the unique quality of content marketing is that it's evergreen.
Time and money spent on all other kinds of digital marketing work for once.
You have start all over again and will need to spend the same amount of time and money (or even more) to get similar results for your next marketing period.
This is not the case at all with content marketing.
Content marketing is the only kind of digital marketing, if done right, could carry on to yield results over a long period of time.
If you invest your time and money on evergreen content, it continues to be relevant long past the date it was first published.
More the content gets recommended by others (backlinks) more it climbs with search engines and traffic keeps on growing over time.
And if you keep your content up to date, it might never lose traffic. You just have to keep it relevant with times. When it holds a prominent spot in the search results, you just have to make sure it carries on to add more value and serves user intent than all the other pages in the top ranking.
“Unlike almost every other marketing tactic every devised, content marketing continues to pay dividends forever. Smart content creation doesn’t have an expiration date. It generates Web traffic (via search and social media linkages) and helps remove purchase impediments every day of every month. It’s an information annuity that can’t be replicated elsewhere.”
Jay Baer, Convince & Convert
The Content Serves Both Masters
As a content creator, we have two masters, search engines and audience.
Every content creator has this dilemma.
Say you have written a very good piece of quality content.
Now, do you need to promote it first, using different channels and backlinks? Get traffic and then wait for Google rank your content to win an audience? or
Ask Google to fetch it and then wait for Google to rank it and reward your website with traffic which in turn may result in your content getting spread across the web on different channels and platforms, winning backlinks, meaning more traffic, brand awareness and ultimately sales?
Chicken or egg first?
The truth is, you only have to focus on your audience.
Content creation and marketing has always been evolving and in the right direction.
It used to be the case that: serve Google with keywords and content and you would win but that's not the case anymore.
Now, over the last decade or so, Google is focusing and asking you to focus solely on your audience. Google wants you to focus on serving user intent, satisfaction and user experience.
This is what Google is shifting towards.
"The high-level concept for user satisfaction is pretty straightforward. Google and other search engines make money based on recurring engagement from users, so they want their users to be as happy and satisfied as possible."
How User Satisfaction Affects Your Search Rankings | Forbes
Google has tools now to gauge if you are achieving user satisfaction. From over 200 ranking signals Google is using now, many like the click-through rate (CTR), landing page quality, bounce rate, the time spent on page etc, evaluate user satisfaction.
Google will recognize and reward that and your content will rank naturally.
Yes, you can serve two masters. Serve your audience, make them happy and google will smile as well.
Content Helps Gain Trust. Trust Means Customers
In a customer-touchpoint mindset the marketer seeks to ensure that an audience will be satisfied with each interaction with the brand’s content. While this may hold the customer’s attention, each touchpoint does little to deepen trust. To elicit a deeper trust, each experience must be able to adapt in the present to what happened before and what will happen after the interaction.
You Must Win Every Moment of Trust | Content Marketing Institute
Publishing compelling content that adds value and serves your audience is a very powerful way for an individual or a business to build public recognition.
We live in an era where the public’s trust in nearly everything remains at worrying low levels.
What can we do fix that?
There is an opportunity here if you can see it.
Use content marketing honestly to relay the message, passively.
You can use content marketing to build trust in your brand by helping your audience through small steps, every day.
For example, an honest review or a feedback about a third party product or even a third party content, which helps your audience make a correct decision will help build trust in your brand as well. You are helping someone with their money or time with accurate advice.
All the links I point to another piece of content outside quoracreative is an attempt to point you in the direction where you can find more information and educate yourself.
Just like the natural world, this goes a long way.
Content Directs The Journey
“Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.”
Rand Fishkin, Moz
Devices with internet access are faster. Data packages are bigger and cheaper. Bandwidth is better and more reliable than ever.
Life has become a bit easier. (From Shopping perspective). Information is readily available online.
Everyone has a lot of time these days and they spend some time at least learning about the product before purchase. There are many reasons for that such as following but not limited to:
- Product variation
- Product variety
- New Vs Old models
- Price comparison
- Value for money
- Product feedback
- Business feedback
- After sales support
- Return policies
Businesses cannot provide this information in brief advertisements.
Content plays a major role now in helping customers understand more about the product and those businesses which facilitate the process and help the customer journey stand out.
According to a study, An average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before reaching a final decision.
Whatever the medium, social media, blog posts, infographics, feedback or even product pages, all steer the customer purchasing journey.
- 32% of respondents strongly agreed (and 77% agreed overall) that they conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before making a final decision, marking an 11% increase from 2016;
- 78% of buyers agreed that they “spend more time researching purchases;” and
- 75% agreed that they “use more sources to research and evaluate purchases.
2017 B2B BUYER’S SURVEY REPORT
Content Is Cost-Effective
"Content marketing’s cost per lead drops 80% after the first five months according to Kapost and Eloqua. This finding is consistent with Hubspot’s blogging research which showed that blogging two to three times a week gains most of the impact in acquiring customers. Further, fifty posts are an inflection point causing traffic to increase."
Why Content Marketing Is More Cost-Effective | Heidi Cohen
I have discussed this above in details but would like to add a bit more to it because content marketing is overlooked due to a misconception that it is an expensive strategy which it isn't.
Before you answer someone who tells you:
"Oh, content marketing is just another cost"
Understand this very fact that Americans spend over 10 hours a day consuming content as of 2018.
Now If we can acknowledge this fact, here are some further facts for you.
I'll leave the answer you can come up with, in your hands.
Content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent.
Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
In only first 5 months of execution of content marketing strategy, costs per lead could drop up to 80%
Email Vs Content: Audience in the US spend 3 times more time on blogs than on email
Inbound leads cost per lead 61% less than outbound leads.
57% of companies with a blog have acquired customers from their blog.
51% of companies reported that direct mail has become LESS important as a source of leads.
The average cost-per-lead for outbound-dominated businesses is $346 vs 135 for inbound-dominated businesses.
20 Stats about Inbound Marketing | Hubspot
Content Builds Brand Awareness
"The most effective way to make your content stand out and garner the attention it deserves is to make sure your brand aligns with your content. This level of strategic content marketing helps build brand awareness and strengthen your company’s reputation."
How to Build Brand Awareness | Copypress
The audience expect brands to provide content that educates, provides meaningful solutions, creates an experience, entertains and tells stories.
There is a strong correlation between how much focus a brand has on improving the strength of its content which in turn improves the personal wellbeing of its audience and the improvement of brand's awareness and loyalty.
Just look into the daily stats:
- 500 million tweets
- 4.3 billion Facebook posts
- 500 million youtube footage
We certainly live in an age of content overload. This provides us with an opportunity.
Meaningful, high-quality content stands out. We can be different and use content to educate, inform and inspire our audience.
High-quality content can serve as a breath of fresh air in this age of information overload and we can use it for our benefit to maximize brand awareness and loyalty.
"Without content, no one will know what you represent. According to Onby.com research, 71 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they recognise. Consumer recognition and trust in your brand, therefore, is an essential part of securing your place in your industry."
How Does Content Marketing Raise Brand Awareness? | Castleford
Quality Content Is The King
"One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”
“But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.”
Bill Gates on Content is King (01/033/1996)
Google Loves Quality Content.
Google has categorically announced, uncountable times, the importance of high-quality content. Google has even stressed taking care of the audience instead of Google as the right approach for search rankings.
Google looks at your content from many different angles.
How does a particular piece of content weighs on its own?
How it weighs in relation to the rest of the content available on your domain.
How relevant is your content to the niche, your domain is about?
How does your content compare to other pieces of existing content on the web, both current and available historically?
What is it that is unique you have to offer?
How original and well worked is your content?
how much relevant is your content to the current times and how does it solve any problems?
Your ads distribution, your content structure, your keywords distribution, right HTML tags etc.
To summarize it, what is that sets your content apart from those pages which already ranking for the top spot?
Content Marketing Is Easier Than You Think
"Content marketing is easier because you don’t have to know everything about your topic to get started."
"You don’t have to be Joshua Bell to teach violin to a three-year-old"
Content vs content marketing | Copyblogger
Google algorithms are getting smarter and smarter. This is not a bad thing. Google is advising us along with and it advises is simple.
Invest your time and effort into something which is easier and right thing to do.
Create High-quality content.
This why I stress, content is the bedrock for an effective digital marketing strategy.
Is it not wise to do something that is so natural?
The difficulty with most types of digital Marketing is that people think what it means or how to make use of them effectively, but when it comes to nailing it down most get stuck badly, overspend or underperform.
Take for instance Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC). If you want to make use of it as a novice you need to have in-depth knowledge and certain expertise like:
- Keyword Relevancy
- Landing Page Quality
- Google Quality Score
- Negative Keywords
- Cost analysis etc..
This is not the case with content marketing.
1500-2000 words article a week will not take more than 3/4 hours a week.
Or you can write a bit every day, say 300/400 words.
If you want to kick start things, there are three subjects, every business can fluently write about.
- Your product and the problems it solves
- The industry you are in
- And your company
This is what you do for a living.
You know these inside out, just tell us a story, can you?
You Audience, Your Asset
“Traditionally, marketing campaigns are about renting someone else’s audience: the marketer goes to media (who has the audience) and pays to have their message displayed to that audience. Content marketing turns this on its head. Now, you get to own your own audience and over time, owning versus renting is much more cost-effective.”
Toby Murdock | Kapost
With every other marketing technique, we have to make use of the audience who belong to some other business asset.
Say, to advertise on Facebook, you have to target its audience. Sure they give you an insight and facilitate you by providing you with options based on many factors like demographics, interests, age groups etc, but it is their audience they are renting out to you.
As Toby Murdock says in the quote above, we are renting someones' assets. And renting is not owning, just like the real world.
Just like renting a house is different from owning a house. Having your own place, even having a small apartment is preferable than renting a bigger house.
We know the reasons.
Renting is more costly than owning
Renting has little to no ROI.
You have more control and freedom To Make Changes and experiment
With ownership comes more responsibility. It's a big commitment.
You can apply more analytics and gather more information for your future strategies.
Your audience is your most valuable asset. It very important to keep nurturing and building the audience base alongside all other marketing strategies and business processes. It’s a delicate balance, no doubt, but is it worth all the effort? Yes, it is.
"Until you understand your customers — deeply and genuinely — you cannot truly serve them."
Rasheed Ogunlaru, Author of Soul Trader
About the Author:
Asad Likes anything creative, but mainly, developing web-applications, optmizing websites for search engine algorithms and writing about all stuff creative.
He could be reached at LinkedIn or Twitter. He is also an active contributor at stackovrflow.com