As the digital landscape evolves, it can be hard to stay on top of the best ways to reach your target market. Whether you’re focused on a B2B or B2C audience, chances are you’re considering a shift toward content marketing. Display advertising is getting tougher, so many marketers are finding more fruitful ground through organic, social, email, and native advertising. There are tons of stats and reports that support adopting content marketing strategies, but (and this is kind of meta) there are enough marketers producing content about content marketing that it can be hard to zero in authoritative sources (or track down the original source). Here’s a big push in the right direction–good luck making the case!
Content gains trust According to AOL and Nielsen, 27 million pieces of content are shared daily. Some of it is great, some not so great. Content can serve many purposes, but to be successful and stand out it needs to create value for potential readers.
The good news is that your audience is more willing to develop a relationship with you via your content. Ascend Media notes that 74% of customers prefer to get to know a brand through articles than through ads. Content also endures. When an ad spend dries up, content stays live, is discoverable, reusable, and continues to bring your audience value. Heck, we’re linking to a few reports that are a few years old in this article!
Good content rocks SEO SEO used to be confined to being more technical as it hinged on URLs, tags, sitemaps, etc. At a time when shallow content made it easy for Google’s crawlers to make a mark for websites, the weak content hauling in the search traffic wouldn’t be able to keep readers once they got onto the site. As Google and others have made algorithmic shifts to reward quality content, it’s become a more rewarding place for content marketers who go the extra mile.
Bottom line, marketers who aren’t creating compelling content are having a difficult time with SEO. To make the case clear, just look at the big changes Google has made to its algorithm:
- In 2012 the Panda update karate chopped low-quality content.
- In 2012 the Penguin update KO-ed spammy backlinks.
- In 2014 the Pigeon update made search results more relevant.
- In 2015 Google ran out animals starting with “P,” but it pushed through “Mobilegeddon,” which hurt sites with a poor mobile experience.
Google wants its users to immediately find content that’s useful, informative, and easy to consume. According to a July 2015 report from Acsend2, 33% of marketers said that a lack of quality content has been a significant challenge to SEO success. This shortcoming stems from the need of original, high-quality content. The more valuable a piece of content is, the more likely it is that readers will spend more time on the page and share across their social networks.
Content helps convert In addition to building your brand and empowering your audiences, content moves your prospects and leads down the funnel. In a study by DemandGen, leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities. Further, website conversion rates are almost 6 times higher for content marketing adopters versus non-adopters. Even existing customers can benefit from awesome content that helps them do their job better or makes their day-to-day a bit less stressful not only keeps them happy, but makes them strong evangelists for your brand. And when they win, you’re more likely to win, too. Not only can you increase LTV, but creating content that is readily shareable makes it that much easier for them to spread the word–and (according to Nielsen) 92% of people trust referrals from people they know.
Content speaks better than advertising Creating more content isn’t the answer, however. This past year alone, US ad blocking grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users. The rise in ad blocking is pushing publishers, advertisers, consumer groups, and tech vendors to think of new ways of bypassing these speed bumps. More often than not, consumers feel bombarded by content that is neither useful nor entertaining. The high use of ad blocking shows just how important it is for consumers to take back their virtual experience.
Supporting this growth in ad blocking is Apple’s recent iOS update that broadens the tool’s reach by supporting apps that filter out ads and other noisy content on the mobile front. Youtube is also joining the ad-free experience by launching YoutubeRed. This move towards buying-in to opt-out of ads gives consumers a louder voice as they stand their ground against unwanted content.
In this same light, research by PageFair and Adobe shows that of those not currently using ad blocking, 41% say they would consider using the tool if the quantity of ads increased from what they typically see — 57% for those aged 18-34. This raises the question of whether consumers would be less likely to use ad blocking if the content that interrupts their experience were more relevant and personalized? This is a huge turning point for marketers given the spike in native ads, sponsored posts, and other paid content. We all consume content, and as marketers, we should be hyperaware of the content we create for our audiences.
We’re human after all Just because Salesforce has predicted that customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human by 2020, it does not mean that customers expect to interact with a robot. Whether your goal as a marketing team is to raise awareness, drive engagement, or build your client list, your content marketing will be successful if you make sure your content goals are tied to your company’s major business objectives. How content will support your bottom line can take many different shapes. But being able to make the case for content is the first step to making sure your marketing efforts stay in front of the trends. Want to dig deeper? Get more stats and analysis with our look at the future of content marketing, or check out our playbook for social media marketers.