Traditional Content Marketing Strategies No Longer Work. What Works Now? And How Expensive is It?
Content marketing has always been an important part of an overall brand or product promotion strategy. Instead of a thousand words, here are the results of the 2020 HubSpot Marketer Survey:
- 70% are actively investing in content marketing development.
- Nearly 40% say content marketing is an important part of their overall marketing strategy.
- 24% want to increase their investment in content marketing this year.
Please note that companies want to increase their investments despite the fact that back in 2017 they spent 46% of their budget on content creation. This is not counting the funds for their promotion.
Unfortunately, the lion’s share of marketing budgets is wasted. It is increasingly difficult for brands to attract their target audience through text, audio, and visual materials. The reason is that there is simply too much content.
Modern Problems of Content Marketing
Semrush found that marketers spent about $10,000 in content marketing last year. 75% wanted to attract more customers in this way, 71% – to increase targeted web traffic to the site, 56% – to improve brand reputation, and 45% – to increase user engagement.
Despite the fact that users have long overdosed on the amount of content, the top main challenges that marketers face are still:
54% – creating content that generates leads.
52% – creating content that drives more traffic to the site.
45% – creating content that will interest the target audience.
The popularity of content marketing has started to grow since January 2014. Now, it has reached its peak according to Google Trends. However, as trending as this request is, few marketers can implement an effective content strategy. There is too much information, and people are too selective. Therefore, marketers are forced to not only create catchy, interesting, and expert content using the E-A-T algorithm. They must allocate considerable sums to promote it. Otherwise, no one will notice the article, no matter how useful it is.
However, are such high costs of content marketing justified, and do you just need to adjust the strategy?
Content Marketing Without Money. Is It Possible?
According to Meaningful Brands‘ report, the top six goals of content are to inspire, entertain, educate, inform, help, and reward. “Is your brand meaningful?” There is a deep meaning in this. You will only be able to cut your content marketing costs when you make your brand an influencer among your target audience.
Well, it’s also important to change the approach. Specifically, focus on three important goals:
- Create content that your target audience will definitely notice.
- Post content where you can see it.
- Increase ROI through the right content strategy.
Compare these three goals to the top of the main challenges. Now engaging content has come out on top, not lead generation. First, you need to think about how to create a community around your brand and only then about increasing sales. In this question, there are no ready-made templates. Every business needs to do its own pretty deep research.
Nevertheless, we can give the most common example of attracting targeted organic traffic to a website. These are answers to questions that are most often asked by your potential customers which other sites do not answer. Recently, Search Engine Journal published a guide on how to promote your site for free using this strategy.
The answers to the questions are usually published on the site. However, your target audience can be active on Instagram. Therefore, it is better to initially create the content for the site where it will be posted. To do this, you need to understand where your potential clients spend most of their free time. Once you’ve determined where your target site is, put all your energies into promoting it.
Well, let’s consider the last point about ROI. If you want the content to bring profit, you need to immediately write it with this message. What business goals do you want to achieve? What’s your call to action? Has your copy become an intrusive advertisement for your product? At some point, content marketing replaced direct advertising because users started to ignore it. Keep this in mind so as not to create text and visuals like this. Content should not be published for the sake of mindlessly filling a page. The importance of business goals and a well-thought-out strategy has not been canceled.
In general, content marketing without money may not work. You still need resources to promote the site, not to mention the high-quality content. However, by following the tips above, you can figure out how to stop wasting money and profit from your content.
How Do You Know if Your Content Strategy Is Working? Efficiency Checklist
The effectiveness of content marketing is difficult to measure. And there are several reasons for this:
- Cumulative effect: The first publication will interest the customer, the fifth will convince them to understand your product, and the tenth will push them to buy. Not everything will happen quickly.
- Large reach does not always lead to higher conversions. The content can go viral because of some factors, but the audience is not guaranteed to pay for your product.
- The lead chain spans all your channels that the user is following. It is difficult to assess the contribution of everyone.
- End-to-end analytics is essential to properly measure sales performance.
- A unified analytics system for all content distribution sites has not yet been invented.
Yet marketers measure the effectiveness of a content strategy in terms of indirect parameters. There are many, so we will list only the most common ones.
Content Marketing Effectiveness Checklist
- Check if the traffic on the site has increased.
- Look at the bounce rate. If it decreases, you are promoting publications among the target audience. Read the related article – What is a Good Bounce Rate?
- Check how long the user is on the page. The larger this parameter, the better. This means that the content was able to catch the attention of readers.
- Analyze the scroll map. This way you can see if your CTA is getting attention. Find out more in the article What Is a CTR. Why Is Click-Through-Rate Important?
- Check the number of likes and shares on social networks. Interesting and useful content usually goes viral.
- See if your readers leave comments under your posts on social media. What do they write? Note when the target audience is the most active and on which platform.
- Pay attention to what time of day and what days of the week the traffic volume is growing. Publish the following content during these time slots.
- Mark the geolocation of your visitors. Perhaps you need to create some of the content targeted at the residents of a particular area.
- Analyze your recent posts and see which topics have received the most response. Did the response affect conversions? The content may not be viral, but have conversions increased? This will help in the future to find a more effective approach to readers.
- Distribute conversions by goals. For example, some people just went to the site, some left an email, and some made a purchase.
Bonus: 5 Life Hacks to Improve Content Performance
Effective content increases brand awareness, introduces you as an industry expert, provides tangible competitive advantages, increases target audience reach, and increases loyalty. However, what kind of content should it be? What formats are currently attracting attention?
To answer this question, let’s take another look at the HubSpot statistics.
- 51% of companies admitted that updating old content was their most effective content tactic in 2019. Read the related article – Republishing Content.
- One of the top forms of media used in all content strategies today is blogging. 86% of the companies surveyed had their own blogs.
- In 2020, the video had overtaken blogs and infographics in popularity. 87% of marketers said video increased traffic to their sites, and 80% say video content directly contributed to increased sales.
- Since that year, Google’s search algorithms have begun converting texts to podcasts, images, audio, and video formats. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts every day.
- Almost all marketers use social media to distribute content.
In order to stop wasting money on content that won’t work, pay attention to this data even though this does not exclude everything that we have indicated above. Every business needs to do its own in-depth research to understand how to properly manage money in marketing.