Is content marketing worth it? In simple words, yes! But there is no reason for you to take me on my “word” (No pun intended), which is why this article is written to substantiate the answer to the question: is content marketing worth it?
But before we dive into the technicalities and benefits of content marketing, the definition of content marketing is warranted to ensure that we are all on the same page. Content marketing is creating and publishing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain your target audience. And the ultimate goal of content marketing is profitability (because after all, it is marketing). The essential terms to note here are valuable, relevant, and consistent. Creating something with these traits should be the core of your content marketing strategy.
Simply put, it’s using content to market your product/services. It involves creating awareness, building trust, gaining a competitive edge, and converting leads. When it’s done right, content marketing can help you retain your audience’s attraction and increase the probability of repeat customers. You also establish trust with your audience and set yourself as the authority on your topic/product.
Is It Worth It?
But why is content marketing worth it? If you try to incorporate/improve your current marketing strategy by focusing your efforts on content, will it pay off?
It depends a lot on how well you strategize and execute said strategies. But one of the inherent benefits that make content marketing worth all the effort is that it allows you to declare how you are different.
You and unique. And your target audience should know what sets you and your business apart from the competition. If your content reveals your uniqueness and how you have distinguished your business from the norm, you can share a fresh perspective with the audience. The more “you” there is in your business, the less it becomes just another forgettable and generic name. And this is what content marketing helps you with.
Content marketing helps you spread awareness about your business and bring your target audience “in the fold” in a non-invasive way. It’s a subtle but potent way of marketing, which helps you establish yourself as trustworthy, authoritative, and unique. This essentially helps you build a loyal consumer-base, many of whom might become your brand’s advocates.
So again, yes, content marketing is worth it.
Effort In = Effort Out
This is a simple rule of life, which, practically speaking, is not as simple. If effort and hard work were the only two relevant variables in the equation of success, the world would be quite different. But that’s the ideal we have to stick with. Otherwise, we would be too confused to keep moving forward.
It’s not for everyone, because every individual and business is unique. A tiered and multi-pronged content marketing strategy that’s necessary for a highly competitive market might be overkill for a niche brand. Content marketing should be different for different individuals and businesses. The key selling point of content marketing is that it allows you to tell your unique story, and a generic strategy would defeat the whole purpose.
That said, there are some things that every content marketer may need to focus on. When it comes to content marketing, it’s not just how much effort you put in, but what you are putting effort into that matters. And some of the things you need to put the effort in are:
Create and document a content marketing strategy. About two in every three successful content marketers have a documented marketing strategy. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate plan, with a hundred slides, flow charts, and infographics. It can be something simple, like a to-do list. In fact, a simple strategy will keep you oriented and not feel over-burdened.
It should cover:
- Your target audience
- Competitors and their competitive edge (in terms of content and products)
- Your uniqueness and how should the content reflect it
- What form of content you will create and which platforms you will cover
- Schedule and frequency of posts
- Tracking your ROI
And several other things. Strategies will differ from business to business, niche to niche, and target audiences.
This is one of the areas where you will have to expand your efforts early on in the process. If you do not have a clearly defined target audience in mind, your content will be all over the place, and you will likely botch the marketing aspect of it. Understanding your target audience won’t just help streamline your content creation, but also it’s publishing. You will choose the medium (video, graphics, text, or all), based on how your target audience typically consumes content. And you will choose the right platform for publishing.
Remember, quality beats quantity every time (almost). The almost here is for cases where you might have to brute-force your way ahead of a well-established competitor by publishing a lot of good quality content (more than theirs). This might help you appear as a better authority and resource within your niche.
Whatever your quantitative goals are, you want to focus on creating content that’s valuable to your readers. This is the most positive and potent impact of content marketing. You establish trust by providing genuinely helpful content to your readers. This gives whatever product you are selling automatic credibility. Your content should also be optimized for search engines and authoritative. A good practice here is to start looking beyond keywords and try to own whole topics so that your readers don’t have to swim away to different resources for related queries.
Cover All Areas
Understand what’s relevant and what’s seasonal. Identify which “form” of content will help your goals best, and which platform will be most potent. This will ensure that you are using your resources optimally, and your efforts are yielding maximum results. Looking at the big picture, you need to sync your content marketing with paid advertisement campaigns and social media marketing, so that one thing reinforces the impact of others.
Also, just like your content is supposed to market your product, you are supposed to market your content. You can’t just wait and hope for an organic search to drive all the traffic towards your content. You need to promote your content through newsletter, social media, and influencers (if need be).
Finally, keep track of whether or not your efforts with content marketing are paying off. You need to track how much traffic has increased to your website and other outlets, the number of leads, and actual conversions. And though analysis is important, don’t let slow results agitate you. Unlike other forms of marketing, content is a more long-term strategy. Publishing valuable content might not create sudden spikes in viewers or sales, but you’ll likely see a gradual increase. If there are no results whatsoever, you may need to refine your content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing for Multiple Purposes
Content marketing is a wholesome process and can be used on every step of the sales funnel. You have to curate your content according to the levels of a sales funnel.
Top Of The Funnel (Exposure/Awareness)
The top of the funnel is all about creating awareness about your business. When you are chasing exposure, have to create content that:
- It shows up in organic search. That requires finding the right keywords, owning topics, and creating SEO content.
- It is developed specifically for social media and helps you engage directly with your readers. There are multiple strategies to explore here i.e., creating viral content, topics that entice discussions, infographics that offer valuable information, etc.
- You can also publish snippets from any of the new content you create on social media platforms to invoke interest and drive more traffic towards your site.
Middle Of The Funnel (Consideration/Relationship)
Once you’ve got the attention of your target audience, your content marketing’s focus should be on building interest and nurturing the budding relationship. You can:
- Collect emails from your target audience. You can do so by offering free access to your webinars (more value, less product) that attract a wider audience or entice them with promotional offers.
- Build upon their interest by constantly upgrading your content and keeping your leads in the loop.
- You can create guide-books, case studies, and white papers to offer to your “warmer” leads.
Bottom Of The Funnel (Conversion/Sales)
Once you’ve warmed up your leads enough, and they have started to trust your content and your product, it’s time to seal the deal.
- At the bottom of the funnel, you need to prove the value of your product. The top and medium levels of the funnel are supposed to drive the people who may need your product the most. The bottom of the funnel content should address any last reservations they might have.
- Create specific and well-timed pieces of content (with potent CTAs) that help them make the final decision.
- Testimonials, in-depth product reviews, and incentives work well at this stage.
If you still don’t have a definite answer to “is content marketing worth it,” then we might need to refine our content marketing strategy. But we are sure that you understand and appreciate the impact of content marketing and how investing effort in content creation can pay off. But before you rush off to the computer and start writing your first piece of marketing content, take some time to plan and strategize. And don’t put it off till later. Starting from the right foot, right from the beginning, can save you many hassles down the road.