Editor’s note: Because proving the value of content marketing continues to be necessary, Julia McCoy updated her 2016 post with some fresh stats and perspective.
Content marketing has been moving at the speed of light in recent years.
Consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising and sales tactics that feel cheap, slimy, or underhanded. Instead, they’re attracted to authenticity, transparency, and friendliness in a brand.
The advent of the internet and social media has a lot to do with this. These channels help consumers pick and choose exactly which brands they interact with. If people don’t want to see your ads, they’ll click away – it’s as simple as that.
As such, marketers have discovered that they need to approach the consumer differently. We can’t serve up the same old ads anymore and expect results similar to 30 or 40 years ago. Instead, we must add value to consumers’ lives to make them want to give us the time of day.
Hence, the fundamentals behind content marketing – relationship-building, focusing on the customer versus the brand – were born in response.
This approach – oh boy, does it work.
For some excellent proof, let these nine statistics do the rest of the talking. They really do speak for themselves. Prepare to persuade.
Paid search has been touted as the be-all, end-all for cost-effectiveness. However, a recent study by Kapost (in collaboration with Eloqua) proves the opposite.
When the two are pitted against each other, content marketing has both lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits.
As time goes on, content marketing builds its own momentum – no extra dollars required. Meanwhile, paid search needs a continual cash flow to keep getting results.
That’s right. Content marketing is not only cheaper than outbound marketing; it also generates more leads.
Outbound marketing is the old way of doing business. Outbound marketing consists mainly of promotional messages that try to tell consumers how great a brand, product, or service is. These ads are served to consumers whether they want to see them or not. These ads are pushy, interruptive, and intrusive.
Turns out, people today generally don’t respond to this type of product-pushing. That’s because there are other ways to engage with brands – better ways (*cough* content marketing *cough*).
How are people dealing with this overload, where they’re bombarded with ads daily?
Two more words: Ad blockers. More than 615 million devices now have ad-blocking software, according to PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report.
In the face of consumers pelted with ads day in and day out, content marketing swoops in like a breath of fresh air. It provides value for their lives, isn’t intrusive, and aims to be helpful above promotional (*insert praise-hands emoji here*).
A 2016 Pew Research Center study shows that people are regularly turning away from TV as the main source of their news and information. Instead, they’re logging onto the internet.
If you’re like The Little Mermaid and want to be where the people are, your brand marketing needs to be online. The best way to go about it, the way that people overwhelmingly prefer? Content marketing.
Social media, blogs, and search engines – these places are where you’ll find users who want to get informed. These channels also happen to be where content marketing does most of its work (and works its magic).
A whopping 77% of internet users read blogs. Combine that stat with the fact that small businesses with blogs see more lead growth. Now you’re onto something.
Regular blogging is a go-to content marketing strategy for a reason – it works.
Content marketing builds trust in a way that no other method can match. Building trust over time means consumers pay attention and listen to your brand’s voice.
That is incredibly, ridiculously powerful. It’s subtly persuasive without being in your face. It’s built on transparency and a down-to-earth approach. It’s content marketing.
Traditional marketing is starting to look a little sad at this point, but let’s keep going. Content marketing, among all the other benefits, also drives higher conversions. In fact, it has six times the power of traditional marketing for converting people into leads and leads into customers.
Content marketing may require more time, patience, and effort over the long haul, but the rewards are far greater.
Populating websites with blog content is how you end up with 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content.
The result of content creation: You have lots of little pathways sprinkled over the internet that lead back to your site. And, the more content you create around topics relevant to your audience, the better your chances of boosting traffic from search and nabbing conversions.
You want leads? Guess what.
Does it need saying? Even if it doesn’t bear repeating, here you go. One more time for the people in the back: Content marketing, content creation, and blogging lead to leads. Lots of leads.
It takes an investment, but the returns are real.
Content marketing is the present and future of marketing. It’s efficient, compelling, and subtly persuasive. It also can be less expensive. Best of all, it works, as these nine statistics prove beyond a doubt.
Of course, like any strategy, content marketing requires skill, persistence, and consistency to work.
This is perhaps the No. 1 secret to getting results like those outlined. You have to work for it. But, oh, is it worth it.
Want more stats to support your content marketing strategy (or to inform potential improvements), check out CMI’s latestresearch.Subscribetoday and be alerted when the 2018 B2C content marketing research is released later this year.