When AlturaSolutions started offering content marketing services a decade ago, there was undoubtedly less competition, making it more effective. Few B2B organizations even had a blog or content marketing section on their websites, so they were eager to get started.
But today, things are quite different.
Nowadays, virtually every B2B organization has some form of content marketing program. Most marketers say it did prove successful, at least initially, but some now question if it still works today.
Here are the reasons why they are wondering:
- Is there too much already out there? An unlimited supply of content is available now in virtually every industry sector.
- Is it worth the effort to keep up? Customers now want to see content in different formats, and the popularity of each format changes over time. What works today may not work tomorrow. Articles, videos, podcasts, gifs, and images seem to go in and out of favor, and their effectiveness varies.
- Is it worth the time and money? Creating an ongoing stream of content can be costly. While usually less expensive than traditional advertising, high-quality content must be continuous. Twenty or more fresh pieces a year are needed. A post or two won’t have any impact.
Businesses find that content generates leads, but those leads do not always turn into sales. That’s the biggest disappointment with content marketing today. So, let’s take a closer look and see what’s going on, starting with a definition:
Content marketing is a marketing strategy in which an organization posts educational materials on its company websites, social media, print, and other platforms, helping current clients, their clients, and prospects solve problems.
The goals and benefits of content marketing have traditionally been the following:
- More leads, inquiries, and sales.
- Cost savings.
- Increased customer loyalty.
- Being found more quickly because of improved search engine optimization (SEO).
Now, let’s address these goals and benefits to see if they are still relevant and how they relate to the marketers’ questions about content marketing, starting with leads, inquiries, and sales, and the last one, SEO.
Despite an ample supply of content available, optimizing that content for search engines means it has a better chance of reaching the target audience. SEO is the most essential benefit of content marketing and has been for years. For search engines to even know your organization exists, they need words – content – to latch on to.
As to leads, inquiries, and sales, high-quality content that is published regularly, properly search engine optimized, and educationally focused (with some promotion), the result is interest in your organization, more web traffic, more inquiries, and greater trust in your organization. And with trust come sales.
Further, we should know, as of 2020, HubSpot, an Internet marketing leader, says 70 percent of marketers are actively investing in content marketing because it helps lead to sales.
As to the other goals and benefits:
Content Marketing and Cost Savings
This is a touchy subject for us because we want publications to thrive. However, the reality is advertising has become expensive. At one time, it took three placements to see if an ad was working. Today it can take six, even nine placements. This means if a full-page ad costs $3,000, it can cost $27,000 to see if it generated results.
Quality content in various formats, tailored to show up where the audience spends time and gathers information, does require effort and investment. Still, content marketing programs are rarely as costly as ad placements.
Further, according to HubSpot, 60 percent of companies with a content marketing program say it is effective, worth the cost, and generates the most significant return on their marketing investment.
Content Marketing and Customer Loyalty
Good, solid content helps promote B2B organizations as experts and thought leaders. By staying on top – if not one step ahead – of industry trends, your organization becomes the turn-to organization in your industry for both your current customers and your prospects. Your existing customers are happy that they are partnering with you. Prospects are glad they found you.
So, content marketing still works. But to be sure, here are two more stats to consider.
According to HubSpot’s “The State of Content Marketing in 2022,” 90 percent of marketers using content marketing plan to continue investing the same amount in 2022. However, 66 percent of marketers, according to their study, plan to increase their content marketing budget.
It appears the best way to answer our question of whether content marketing is still relevant is to say: follow the money. Marketers are unlikely to throw money away; if they invest the same and more in content marketing today, their vote of confidence means there must still be something to this marketing strategy.
For more than twenty years, Robert Kravitz and his firm, AlturaSolutions Communications LLC, have been working with people and organizations, helping them excel as Thought Leaders, marketing the value of their products, services, and expertise. He can be reached at: email@example.com.