We’re facing an industry shift, no longer is publishing alone good enough to drive more traffic to your site and leads into your funnel. But what comes next in the content marketing lifecycle?
Content marketing has been lingering in the awkward adolescent stage a little too long, it’s been unsure of how to mature into the next phase of its evolving life. Marketers have had ideas, both good and bad, on how to make it better, but has it worked? Maybe? Sometimes? Sorta?
It’s time content marketing grows up. Move out of its parents’ basement, stop spending their money on crazy experimental theories that may, or may not, have been a good idea at the time (go ahead, content marketing, try to explain how that last social campaign helped your branding and ROI). It’s time content marketing ends the pattern of immaturity, loses the short-sided and (sometimes) lazy attitude in its “strategy.” Content marketing needs to stop talking so much about itself and think about what the customers need, and what they want to hear.
It’s time content marketing stops publishing for the sake of publishing – stop valuing quantity over quality.
Sure, quantity is important – companies who publish 16 or more blog posts each month see around 4.5x more leads than those that publish between 0-4 monthly posts, according to a study from Hubspot. But as we mature in the field of content marketing, more just isn’t enough.
Why More Won't Win the Battle Alone
Content marketing is the only marketing that matters. Your department is investing more time and money into content than ever before – you’ve found robots with algorithms to write your posts, tools to optimize them and technology with viral mics to amplify them. The more you publish, the more traffic you’ll see, right? The theory has held so far, though you can’t really explain why.
But something’s wrong! Chugging out post after mediocre post isn’t delivering the same high traffic results anymore. More is no longer enough.
From its highest to lowest points last year, the output of content per brand increased by more than 35 percent per channel. Nearly every brand in existence has bought into content marketing. Around 78 percent of the world’s CMOs recognized the tactic as the way of the future. But while output spiked in 2015, consumer engagement took a sharp downturn, dropping by 17 percent according to TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software.
Content absorption is a finite resource. There’s a limit to how much can be consumed, liked, shared, pinned, retweeted, posted, etc., and brands are in competition against each other for their share of the eyes (and buys). The fight to be heard in the increasingly cluttered landscape is merciless.
No longer can you solve your marketing woes through buying more advertising space – the space is just too crowded. A mature b2b content marketing strategy uses preparation, planning and promotion. It’s authentic and simple, though not simplistic. It listens to customer needs and solves their challenges as they face them. It predicts their questions, and proactively seeks to share the knowledge without the direct aim of benefitting the company over the consumer. If content solves consumer problems, they’ll talk about it, telling others about your product or service and bringing more traffic (read: more leads) to you.
Mature Content Isn't Short-Sided (or shorthanded)
Creating ridiculously good content isn’t enough alone, either. If you put all of your energy into producing the highest quality content, but only publish it once in a blue moon, no one will find it. You can’t bank on content that succeeds only in a bubble. Google looks for, and actively rewards, sites with relevant, useful and consistent content.
Mid- to large-sized companies that publish 11+ blogs a month see almost twice as much traffic to their sites in comparison to their counterparts publishing one or fewer pieces of content each month, the Hubspot researchers found. And, posting new content daily leads to a 5x jump in site traffic over posting just once a week.
Compiling a rich catalogue of content helps your SEO rankings because there’s more for a search engine to look through and it gives your visitors more to click through. B2B companies that have an index of more than 401 posts generate almost three times more leads as a b2b content marketing strategy that has under 200 total posts.
Moral of the story: Blog early, blog often – as long as you can do it well.
Doing Content Better
High quality content is a must to build a strong, trustworthy rap online. And, keeping a hefty stash of posts uploaded to your site keeps visitors happy and coming back for more.
As a b2b content marketing strategy matures, it should focus on becoming more strategic – more real. It needs to look at planning, processes, strategy, frameworks, creativity, relatability, usefulness and metrics.
Posts that dig into a single topic significantly outperform their vague counterparts, according to an SEO analysis report from Backlinko. The study suggests pushing out focused content, to a focused audience, helps SEO rankings and boosts traffic.
A b2b content marketing strategy is more than blogs, though. Visual content boosts site viewership by about 94 percent. Videos on a landing page bumps conversions by around of 86 percent. And infographics are liked and shared on social media up to 4x more often than other content.
The grown-up b2b content marketing strategy is holistic. It’s strategic, with laser focus on relevancy and consistency. No longer can it choose either quantity or quality. It must see both as the tactic to succeed. Content marketing is maturing – are you ready?