Today, Content Marketing is all the buzz. And as recently reported by Content Marketing Institute | CMI, brands everywhere are investing it at an increasing rate.
As the momentum suggests, interest and attention to this marketing discipline are not going to ebb any time soon. The universal goal for all of this interest and activity is to be invited into people’s search, sharing and discussion stream online.
If it’s not abundantly clear, people are dismissing the interruptive and annoying online ads that so many brands still rely on to reach customers and prospects.
So, how do you get invited into the conversation with prospects?
More than ever, brands need to think and act like publishers.
Success with content marketing requires developing capabilities and applying resources to each of the critical activities in the chart shown on the left.
But before you jump on the bandwagon, be forewarned. Content Marketing is not a silver bullet or a one-time event.
Be prepared for a significant investment that is commensurate with some very measurable long term benefits.
For those seeking a 30 day ROI with content marketing, it’s just not going to happen.
Time to align expectations with reality.
If you’re serious about replacing the tired old advertising model for building awareness and attracting prospects to a brand or solution, a more realistic goal for considering content marketing should be to evaluate your results in 9 to 12 months.
With consistent investment and following best practices, you should see a lift in your inbound marketing results. It’s a fact that sites with 100 to 200 pages of quality and optimized content generate 2.5x more leads than those with just a few static pages.
What’s more, as inbound authority HubSpot reports, the more frequently you publish, the better inbound lead performance you can expect. For example, websites that publish 15x or more a month on average see a 5X increase in the number of inbound leads they receive.
Content quality drives success.
It’s important to remember that content marketing is about the content. With the increase in content publishing, 100 word posts with little substance or unresearched content just won’t cut it any more. To deliver the high SERPs | Search Engine Results Position you’re looking for, there’s a growing content trend to more comprehensive posts that are properly search optimized with targeted keywords.
No results unless you get found.
As Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures in Phoenix adds, “Social Media has all the buzz with marketers and brands. But the real value is in Search.”
His realistic perspective is supported by Google data that discloses less than 5% of search users click on paid search results. So it’s reasonable to ask, if you’re spending money on paid search, like Google Adwords, does that really make sense?
Because people start any buying process online in the search box, there’s a growing trend by search users to make queries with longer tail phrases—or even completely structured questions.
Google has confirmed that 7-8 words search is increasing. And the reason this is important to consider is that the more words a prospect types in the search box, the closer they are to buying. So you want to ensure that you do everything you can to enable your content to appear high in the search results.
A poster child of content marketing done right.
Content marketing measurement is not about the number of social shares or blog post comments. Marcus Sheridan, president of River Pools, has become the poster child for the dramatic effects content marketing can have on the success of a business.
His company eliminated a $250K annual spend on traditional media and advertising. By focusing all of his resources and effort on creating content that his prospects would be searching for, he helped them think about and address many of the key questions they would ask before pulling the trigger on purchasing a pool. His 3 posts about “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” have generated thousands and thousands of page views and more importantly, $1.7 million in sales.
Although each of these posts doesn’t directly answer the question of price, they created the opportunity to start a dialogue with a prospect in a way that was disarming, educational and not just about the “sale” of a pool.
7 essential components of a Content Marketing strategy.
There are no “silver bullets” or one-size-fits-all content marketing plans that apply to every organization. However, there are some core, common elements that need to be addressed for success.
The list below outlines the essential components of a content marketing strategy.
All of these strategic issues must be considered and addressed before you can expect any success with content marketing. Skip this work and you might be better off sticking with Yellow Page ads and direct mail flyers.
How have you approached your content marketing planning and implementation? Is it working out?