Is quality content still the holy grail of online marketing? If so, what are its benefits and drawbacks? How can you repurpose your content to make it work harder and last longer? Let’s find out.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent online content to attract and engage a clearly defined target audience with the goal of driving profitable customer action.
A content marketing strategy may include any or all of the following:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Case studies
- Quizzes and calculators
- Interactive forms
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to build relationships with customers and prospects, and to ultimately increase website traffic and generate leads.
The benefits of content marketing
Content marketing is much harder than it used to be, but it’s still relevant and provides immense benefits if executed properly. In fact, it has become increasingly important as the digital landscape has evolved and competition for consumer attention has grown.
01. Attract and engage customers
By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, you can attract and engage a specific target audience. The right content can help you establish trust and credibility with your potential customers, which can lead to increased conversions and sales.
02. Generate leads and sales
By providing content that helps educate and inform your audience, you can create a context that lends itself to generating leads and sales. This can be done by frequently including a call to action (CTA) within your content. Some effective CTAs are newsletter subscription forms, links to products or services, and scheduling calendars to book appointments.
03. Increase brand awareness and loyalty
By consistently providing shareable content, you can improve brand awareness and loyalty. This can be done by creating content that aligns with your brand values, and goals — And that is relevant, timely, and useful to your customers.
04. Establish experience and expertise
I dislike the term “thought leader,” but it’s worth mentioning here. By consistently providing high-quality, informative content, you can position your company as a thought leader in your industry. This can help establish your business as a credible and trustworthy source of information, which can lead to increased brand awareness and loyalty.
05. Can be cost effective
If you’re not careful this can get away from you, but compared to traditional advertising — television, radio, print, etc — content marketing is often more cost-effective. This is because online content marketing allows you to reach a large audience at a relatively low cost, and it can be more targeted and effective in reaching your potential customers.
06. Long shelf life
The content you create can be used and shared even after it has been published to your primary channel, providing longer term results than conventional advertising. As long as your content is valuable and relevant, it can generate leads, conversions, and brand awareness.
Section summary: Content marketing is a powerful strategy that can help your business attract and engage a specific target audience. It takes time and effort to create quality content and distribute it, but it can provide long-term results for your business.
The drawbacks of content marketing
We’ve covered the good, now the not-so-good. In addition to the invasion of conversational AI, content marketing already has a few formidable quirks to contend with.
01. Can take a long time
Content marketing is definitely a long-term strategy, and it can take a long time (if ever) to see the results of your efforts. It may take months — or even years — to see a significant return on investment. If you’re in a hurry, you’ll need a different plan.
02. Demands high-quality content
I hate the word “quality” — It’s such an elastic term. I use it here in its most extreme form: Exceptionally good. To be successful, a nontrivial amount of quality content needs to be created on a regular and frequent basis. To say the least, this can be a challenge for a small business with limited resources.
03. Requires dedicated effort
As mentioned above, content marketing requires a consistent effort over a long period of time. This means creating and publishing high-quality content on a regular basis, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. To clarify, publishing a poorly-researched 500-word article once every three or four months is not a viable content strategy.
04. Difficult to measure ROI
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of content marketing is challenging, at best. While it can be easy to track raw website traffic and engagement, it’s a lot harder to measure how that traffic translates into leads and sales.
05. Content shock
It’s tough to stand out in a crowded market. And every market, it seems, is getting overcrowded. With so much content being published, it can be next to impossible to make your content stand out and get noticed by your potential customers.
06. Can be expensive
Once you get a system in place, creating quality content can be a revenue generator. But getting the process started takes time, effort, and money. Hiring a professional or creating an in-house team dedicated to content production can be costly.
Section summary: Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires talent, commitment, consistency, and resources to get results. It can be difficult to measure the ROI and requires a significant amount of quality content to be created on a regular basis.
How content marketing generates leads
If you own a small business, chances are your website serves one main purpose: Selling products or generating sales leads for services. In either case, well-written copy can help achieve your goals. Here’s how content marketing can help generate leads and sales.
01. Brand awareness
By creating valuable and informative content that attracts and engages potential customers, you can establish trust and credibility with your audience, which can lead to increased brand awareness.
02. Multiple content formats
Different channel formats such as blog posts, video, podcasts, email, and social media can be used to help your content reach different audiences and provide value in different ways.
03. Calls to action
When you include calls-to-action (CTAs) in your content, you encourage potential customers to take a specific action — Such as signing up for a newsletter or scheduling a consultation.
04. Search engine optimization (SEO)
By including keywords and phrases in your content that potential customers are searching for, you increase the chances that your content will be found by those looking for industry-specific information.
Learn more: Fundamentals of SEO
05. Email list building
By collecting email addresses from those who engage with your content, you can build a targeted email list of potential customers.
Learn more: What is email marketing
06. Lead nurturing
When you use your email list to provide valuable and relevant information to potential customers over time, you can nurture leads and guide them closer to making a purchase.
07. Traffic analytics
By measuring and analyzing the performance of your published content, you can continually improve your marketing strategy and content to generate more leads.
When you engage with your audience in a meaningful way, you can build relationships with potential customers, which can lead to more referrals and more sales.
Learn more: The truth about social media engagement
Section summary: By providing valuable information through content marketing, your business is able to establish trust and credibility with your audience, which can lead to increased brand awareness and ultimately, more leads.
Get the most out of your content
Aside from the obvious benefits listed above, here are a few ways to repurpose your website content in order to increase your return on investment.
01. Publish on different platforms
Republish your best content on other platforms. Digital channels such as Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter offer an effective way to reach new audiences and generate more traffic and engagement.
02. Break long content into small pieces
A long-form content can be broken down into smaller pieces for use in email campaigns, sales funnels. infographics, social media posts, and Google Business Profile posts. This can also help increase the reach and engagement of the original content.
Note: One of my favorite techniques is to create comprehensive FAQs (or other lists), then share individual questions on social media.
03. Create a video from written content
It takes a bit of work — and YouTube may not be your style — but written content can be transformed into video to reach different audience preferences. As noted above, this can also help increase the reach and engagement of the original content.
04. Create a podcast from the video
This is becoming more and more popular. Publishers are creating videos, then using the audio alone to create podcasts. Again, this is a great way to reach audiences with different media preferences.
05. Create an email sequence
A series of blog posts — or one long-form article — can be turned into an email sequence (or course), that can be used to nurture leads and generate conversions.
06. Produce a webinar
A blog post, case study, white paper, or instructional video can be turned into a live webinar, which can be used to generate leads, conversions, and revenue.
07. Publish an ebook
With a bit of editing, a series of related blog posts can be compiled into an ebook or white paper. These can be sold, offered as free downloads, or used as an incentive (lead magnet) to build a newsletter list.
08. Republishing evergreen content
Evergreen content is search-optimized digital content that is always relevant and stays “fresh” for readers over a long period of time. Republishing evergreen content can be done to increase the reach of the original content, as well as update the content with the latest industry developments.
Section summary: By repurposing content in different formats and channels, you can increase the reach and engagement of the original content, generate more leads and conversions, and ultimately increase your return on investment.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires commitment, consistency, and resources to get results. The ROI of content marketing can be tough to measure and it requires that a significant amount of quality content be created on a regular basis over months or years.
But even when considering the drawbacks, content marketing can be a powerful strategy to help your business attract and engage a specific target audience and generate leads and sales.
So, is content marketing dead? Will it get killed by conversational AI? I don’t think so. We’ll always need great human-generated content. But we’ll need much better search technology if we have any hope of finding the best of it.