When it comes to your overall marketing spend, content marketing is the most cost-effective method. Content marketing is the SEO side of search marketing, and according to HubSpot, 70% of marketers found that SEO tactics are far more effective than pay-per-click ads, which is the SEM side. If content marketing didn’t work, it wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry with literally billions of pieces of content being uploaded to the web daily.
Calculating the return on investment (ROI) for content is also not as simple as it is for financial ratios or a more clear-cut business decision, such as increasing production capacity of goods with a new piece of equipment. 25% of B2C marketers don’t measure ROI on content and simply coast on intuition because they aren’t sure what to measure for: traffic, new subscribers, total revenue, conversions, or other metrics that eventually lead to revenue.
While content marketing’s effectiveness has already been established, here are factors you need to consider when crafting a content strategy and determining what purpose it ultimately serves. It’s better to have some content than none at all to help establish your online presence, but if your social media activity isn’t getting traction and your blog posts aren’t getting much traffic, you should consider why you’re creating content in order to hone your content marketing goals from there.
Search Engine Hits and Ranking
Creating content around keywords and phrases requires a more scientific approach than simply creating a content calendar based on what you think people are searching for. If you’re specifically looking to drive traffic to a blog post, webpage, or landing page based on popular search terms, a more methodical approach is paramount for reaching this goal.
Content is an excellent and highly cost-effective method of driving traffic, although it takes time to consistently generate traffic. If your primary goal is to get traffic and climb in search engine ranking, knowing which keywords to target is the first step. Crafting high-quality content that people want to link to is the next part, so it should have authoritative backlinks since link quality plays a major role in ranking than you’d think.
Ranking difficulty is another factor to consider: if you own a chocolate brand and you’re trying to rank for broad, general keywords like “chocolate” or “best chocolate gifts”, they have a high volume but equally high ranking difficulty. Large brands like Hershey’s and Lindt spend millions of dollars to rank for these broad keywords for both paid search engine ads and consistently pushing out enough content to achieve top organic search ranks.
If your content isn’t ranking at all and not getting enough traffic, it’s time to find keywords people are searching for and aiming for that sweet spot between search volume and ranking difficulty.
For further reading check out SEMRush’s [Study] How to Build an Effective Content Marketing Funnel
Brand Positioning, Authority, and Thought Leadership?
Content can position your brand as an expert in your industry or field. Every brand has a blog these days, but what if your blog posts, whitepapers, or videos became these highly-respected institutions that people get excited about? For example, Blue Bottle Coffee attracted a large audience with their coffee-making videos on Skillshare. In addition to providing helpful content on making the perfect cup of coffee, the professional videography and inviting atmosphere in the free videos helped cement Blue Bottle as a high-quality brand.
Search ranking doesn’t always have to be the preeminent end goal in content marketing. Quality content that is helpful, entertaining, timely, and/or generally interesting can simply be used in branding efforts and consistency. How you want people to perceive your brand can be accomplished through web content today, whether it’s through infographics and videos that establish your company as a thought leader in the field or visually-appealing Instagram posts that keep your audience excited and intrigued.
Content marketing can simply be an exercise in further investing in your brand, and helping it evolve.
Industry and Product Innovation Through Content Creation
Many marketers and new business owners will want to stick to tried-and-true methods when it comes to business processes. However, marketing is an area where creativity can truly shine even if SEO ranking formulas and ROI calculations seem more like tech or accounting.
Content can be used to completely revolutionize the way we talk about things. One of the most well-known success stories with this is Blendtec, a pioneer of YouTube videos. Their “Will It Blend” series has millions of views, and it all began by offering potential customers a simple look at how strong the product was. They could have opted for a more practical set of recipe videos and put a funny flair on them, but the outrageous clicks that resulted from blending wood planks, iPhones, entire rotisserie chickens, and other strange objects is what catapulted the brand to where they are today, all while completely changing the way that brands use simple videos to market their products.
Blendtec proved that you can simple and beyond the pale at the same time, and without making an enormous investment in professional crews and video equipment.
There’s a reason why the phrase “content is king” persists, but it’s important to figure out why it is in general and for your particular marketing goals. Content can go a long way in building brand cohesion and awareness, and create more opportunities in addition to simply generating more revenue in the long run.