Traditional (interruptive) marketing is drying up. Consumers don’t want to be bombarded with sales tactics. Content marketing feels more authentic, less pushy and has taken the lead as the way smart brands want to market themselves. Now consumers have more power over what marketing they engage with – and can simply click or scroll away from what they don’t want to see.
Seth Godin, pioneering marketer and author says ‘content marketing is the only marketing left’.
Implementing a content marketing strategy requires skill and patience. If a strategy is well designed and followed through properly, it can be really effective. Raconteur says strategy, content creation and distribution are the three factors most likely to increase a brand’s content marketing success.
Some content marketers forget to use these three elements. A strategy without creation is just a plan with no action. Creation without strategy is disorganised and unwieldy. Creation without distribution won’t get results. So following the process of strategy, creation, distribution is necessary, but time-consuming.
Content marketing can be time-consuming because before any content is actually produced, a strategy needs to be devised. At the point of creation, content needs to be researched, written, edited and proofread. Creating something worthwhile requires creative processes and lateral thinking which doesn’t happen in an instant. Then, it might require some element of design before being published.
Thinking carefully about methods of distribution is important – good content that nobody sees may as well not exist. As Cathy McPhillips, Vice President of marketing at the CMI says:
“You spend so long creating epic content, so why not spend that same amount of time coming up with a plan for distribution and promotion?”
Links back to your blog are essential to make sure those hard-earned posts get seen. Social media posts can direct people back to long-form content on your website.
Building trust and authority
Providing consumers with useful, entertaining content builds a relationship with them. This is a gentle, casual introduction to a brand rather than products for sale being thrust under their noses. Over time, good content continues to build trust and get consumers on-side, so when they do decide to buy, they’ll likely turn to the brand they trust.
Although the sales come further down the line, consumers are actually falling into the sales funnel in their own time. Content marketing is a slow burn but it does get results and once you’ve got some momentum going, it’s self-sustaining unlike outbound marketing. There are plenty of stats out there supporting the efficacy of content marketing:
- businesses with blogs get 126% more leads than businesses without
- content marketing offers three times the leads of traditional marketing
- websites with blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content
As well as building relationships, providing quality content in your field over a long period of time makes your brand an authoritative voice. When people search Google for answers, if you’ve got solid information about what they are looking for, your website will be closer to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) and they may use your content to answer their query.
Of course, there are more factors at play than purely having good content on your website to reach the top of searches (paid advertising being one), but having content on your site is pretty essential for SEO.
Evergreen and recycling content
Sounds like something you might do for the environment, but these are actually two concepts to apply to content marketing to get the best return on investment.
Evergreen content means content that never dates and can be used over and over again. Producing evergreen content means leaving out dates, current affairs and zeitgeisty topics so the content remains relevant.
Common evergreen formats include:
- how-to content
- product reviews
Recycling or repurposing your content means squeezing the most out of it by reformatting it – maximising its shareability. For example, turn a blog post into a list or quiz, transform a video into a series of social posts or design an infographic from an article.
Is it worth it?
The content marketing space is becoming more and more crowded. There are vast swathes of content washing around the web and not all of it is good. Content marketing needs to engage, educate and entertain to be worth the time investment. Strategy and structure are essential to make sure your content is meaningful and coherent. The distribution of content needs to be on the right platforms, at the right times and at the right frequency.
But, if executed well, there are big gains to be made through content with plenty of stats to prove it. At Crocstar, content marketing is our bread and butter: we know how to plot a strategy and deliver it for amazing results. Get in touch with us and we can make sure your content is time well spent.