At this point, content marketing can start to feel a little old hat. Something like 90% of marketers engage in content marketing, which means that it’s become the default form of digital marketing. With everyone doing it, it can seem like, well, it’s just something you gotta do.
And yes. You gotta do it.
But here’s the thing: there’s a big difference between “getting it done,” and “doing it well.” And the facts about content marketing and how powerful it can be should help impel you to move beyond “checked it off the list for today” and toward “let’s put together an effective plan that generates real results.”
1. 67% of the typical buyer’s journey is digital, and content means more than ever.
Ah, the “buyer’s journey.” That classic trope that gave us everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter to – no? That’s the hero’s journey? Nevermind.
Joking aside, the buyer’s journey is just the process by which someone goes from “hmm, I have a problem” to “shut up and take my money.” Once upon a time, a B2B buyer would ring up sales first thing. But more and more, buyers are performing their own research, meaning that they’re most of the way there before they’ve ever spoken to sales at all.
And that research? That’s some good old American content marketing they’re reading, sure as apple pie. By the time they speak to someone in sales, they’re pretty sure they have a good idea of what they want to do – and if you don’t provide them with materials to educate themselves, they’ll never call you.
While it can be hard to stand out in a crowded content marketplace, forsaking it entirely means giving up most of your potential customers.
2. Companies with active blogs generate 67% more leads per month.
Blogs are extremely powerful. I know it can be hard to believe judging by the sea of abandoned, tumbleweed-ridden “blogs” out there, but done right, a blog can be one of your biggest assets. A regularly-updated blog shows that your company is active, socially savvy, and on top of things. It’s also going to probably be filled with relevant, informative posts that feed into the buyer’s journey. That means that the traffic you get is able to qualify itself much more quickly…
3. Blogs updated at least 15 times a month generate five times as much traffic.
…and you’ll probably get a lot more traffic to begin with! Blogging regularly is difficult, but blogging frequently can seem nigh-on impossible. And yes, it takes dedicated time and resources – but a blog that’s updated, on average, every other day will begin to generate crazy traffic. And there’s a very good reason for this.
Every single post is a new page for Google to crawl and index, and (because of how Google prioritizes search results) is much more likely to be served up in an SERP than your homepage. So the more you generate, on a wider range of topics, the wider a net you’re casting and the more likely you are to end up on an SERP – and that means you’re more likely to get traffic!
4. Repackaged content is often just as effective as original content.
It’s always good to have original content, but one of the main things you need to worry about – even more than content creation – is frequency of publishing. Whether on your blog, social media profile, or elsewhere, the more you get out in front of your audience the better. And they don’t care if its an original piece or if you’re sharing something you found on Mashable; what they care about is whether it’s interesting. By delivering a variety of content both generated in-house and sourced from relevant media channels, you can ensure a steady stream of publishing out of your owned media – and a better return on your investment.
5. Content creation is the single most effective SEO tactic around.
We talked a little about this in #3 above, but it’s true: content creation is where it's at.
Ok. Listen. Google doesn’t care about your keywords. It doesn’t really care about your optimized H1 or your meta description. Sure, all that matters, but what Google cares about, more than anything else, is one question: is this content relevant to the searcher’s intent? Think about Google as an answer engine more than a search engine. When you google a search term, Google doesn’t just want to return pages that include that term, but takes in your search and a bunch of other information – where you are, what you’ve searched for recently, what you tend to search for around this time, stuff like that – and then tries to figure out what it is you’re asking. It’s trying to sort out the implied question so it can deliver the best content that answers your question.
The more questions you answer, the more Google sends people your way. If you’re the best answer out there, it doesn’t matter what your meta description is; Google will serve your page first thing.
6. 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every single day.
Content, well, it’s what the internet is for. And God bless us, we sure do love sharing it. It seems like it’s all we do, with over 27,000,000 pieces of content shared every single day. That’s stuff being shared on Twitter and Facebook, in emails and instant messages – and what it really is is a powerful word-of-mouth network propelling some brands forward while others hold back. This is a flow you want to be in. And while it’s hard to stand out among those 27 million content pieces, it’s vital to make the attempt. You never know; while it may not go viral, your content may just get a bit of leverage with the right audience to lead to a sale or two.
7. Social media can reach 80% of US-based internet users every day.
We’re connected. We’re connected like crazy. And it feels like we basically live on Twitter.
Well, we do.
Most Americans are active on social media every single day, and by far a majority of internet users are. They’re passing the time, killing a few minutes in the line at the DMV or while waiting for their oil to get changed. They’re checking in with friends after a trip. They’re posting about how they’re, like, 90% sure the dude sitting next to them on the plane was M. Night Shyamalan.
And while they’re there, they’re being delivered content relevant to their interests and networks. A robust content marketing strategy that includes a social component can help ensure that your brand is in there, kicking butt right alongside bigger names like Nike or whoever. Being active with your social media and content strategy keeps your content front and center, right where people are expecting things they find interesting. If you’re appealing to the right audiences, they’ll welcome your content when it shows up in their newsfeed. You’ll have ‘em right where you want ‘em.
You just have to plan it right.