How do you take Content Marketing beyond the buzz and implement a practical process for your company that will either tap into existing resources or add new resources and processes and become self-sustaining?
Many companies are realizing that content marketing can help build traffic, create more leads and grow business. In fact, recent research by the software firm Curata found that 59% of US marketing professionals will be spending more on content marketing in 2014 than in previous years.
Although companies realize that that Content Marketing is important, many have limited knowledge on how to convince management to allocate resources for this new or expanded marketing focus. The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to have the backing of upper management. To be effective, content marketing takes time and marketing that doesn’t have an immediate ROI needs the backing of leadership.
The marketing and advertising landscape continues to change and evolve as the effectiveness of traditional media continues to wane and content marketers step up to fill the gap. Content marketing is on everyone’s radar and many marketing departments are scrambling to increase budgets and grow their departments.
There are 5 things to focus on in order to convince the ‘C’ suite to approve your content marketing budget and resources recommendations.
1. Content Marketing Creates Business Assets
Your content should serve a business purpose on your website or blog. That purpose may be to help potential customers answer questions or help them make a decision. Regardless of the specific purpose, the content becomes an asset on the site. In many cases it is ‘evergreen’ content and it will keep working for years; driving traffic and leads which eventually convert to revenue. As your content footprint grows and you publish more and more information on your product or service, you start to become an industry expert and thought leader. Your brand benefits from this and the content adds credibility and authority to your website.
2. Content Marketing Grows Website Traffic
Over time, this regularly published content will help your website gain authority not only with your clients but also with the search engines, thus helping grow sustained traffic over time.
HubSpot surveyed over 7,000 websites and found that websites that regularly published content get 5x the traffic than websites that don’t blog or publish frequently. What would it mean to your organization if your website was able to generate 5x more traffic?
3. Content Marketing Generates Leads
One very popular content marketing format is the ‘Free Guide.’ Free guides allow you to dive deep into a particular topic and give your users a wealth of information to help them with a buying decision.
Yale Appliance does a great job of creating free guides for buying Appliances. Vertical Measures just published a free guide that helps webmasters recover from a Penguin penalty. And one of our clients, the College of Golf published a free guide years ago that is still working for them. This Career Guide To Golf is behind a lead capture form and has allowed this client to capture 100’s of leads since publication.
The lead form gives you precise measurements as to the effectiveness of this type of content marketing. Leads that come from downloads that require an exchange of contact information are generally better qualified leads. The user is serious enough that they have exchanged their contact info for your content. In fact, you may want to take this a step further and track the annual contract value of content marketing leads and compare them to PPC or other forms of marketing and advertising.
4. Reducing the Cost Per Lead
Content Marketing can help reduce your cost per lead over time.
As you start to develop your content footprint, more users will find your site and convert, thus lowering your overall cost per lead. Your PPC costs will remain constant over time and can even improve incrementally if your campaign is managed well. Once you add leads gained from content marketing, your blended or overall cost per lead will drop.
And you can combine the two by using PPC to promote your new content marketing pieces thus increasing the effectiveness of your new content.
According to a survey from HubSpot, content marketing or ‘inbound’’ marketing as they refer to it costs 62% less per lead than traditional marketing.
5. Content Marketing Impact is Measureable
How many leads did your last radio spot bring in? Do you know or are you just guessing? Consumers are growing more and more tired of interruption marketing and are finding ways to tune out. Content marketing is welcomed especially if it’s relevant and contains useful information. Plus, content marketing is trackable. Once published, you will know how users found the content, how long they engaged with it and if they followed your call to action and clicked to other pages on your site. You cannot track traditional media with this granularity.
Speaking of measurable, you should also look to case studies to prove your point. Just Google ‘content marketing case studies’ and you’ll find a plethora of posts with detailed success stories, many with very specific stats that prove the value of ongoing content marketing campaigns. I’ve listed four of the posts I read doing research for this post. They are a good broad brush of B2B and B2C success stories:
Econsultancy.com – Six Case Studies – These B2B and B2C case studies have stats that show content marketing dramatically and positively impacted website traffic and revenue. One example shows that unique visitors increased 81%.
TopRankBlog.com – This post includes 11 examples of how content marketing increased revenue and traffic including a campaign by Xerox that generated 1.3 billion in sales. That is the largest amount of revenue generated by content marketing that I’ve seen to date.
TheSalesLion.com – Yale Appliance which was mentioned above as a company that does a great job of producing free guides was highlighted by Marcus Sheridan on his Sales Lion site. This post details how the Yale Appliance website grew from 18,000 visitors to over 48,000 visitors and how they now have over 140 keywords in the top three slots in Google for their search terms.
Content Marketing works but it takes time to build an audience. Many businesses give up too early in their content marketing campaigns because they set their expectations too high, expecting exponential growth rather than incremental growth at first. By throwing in the towel early, they lose out on search traffic, backlinks, social shares and authority not only from their audience but from the search engines as well.
Content marketing requires a long term commitment and the long term benefits support the up-front costs. Content will keep working for years after it is published, which does not happen with traditional media or paid advertising. The key is to get top management sold on the idea of content marketing and make it one of the foundational elements of your company’s marketing plan.
Organize your presentation to convince management around:
- Building business assets with published content
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Generating Leads
- Reducing the Cost Per Lead
- Proving it works through case studies