Is content marketing boss or bullsh*t?
Why we advocate content marketing and why we believe it is an essential component in your marketing strategy
The biggest problem we’ve come across as an agency when it comes to content marketing is people not understanding how it works. Somewhere along the way the assumption was made that creating a piece of content would drive conversion immediately. That isn’t the case and it never was.
Content marketing is a strategic and long term approach for growth. It’s the creation of evergreen content that forms an impression and resonates with its audience, but it doesn’t mean that it leads to an immediate conversion. That’s not our goal here.
As a marketer, I’m going to go straight in and state that content marketing for me, for Abstrakt and for our clients, works, but I’m also going to explain how and why.
I was reading an article on Marketing Week that debated content marketing after Mark Ritson published a somewhat controversial article saying the whole thing was bollocks (his words, not mine). I shrugged off Ritson’s comments, as I’ve already declared, I’m an advocate of content marketing, where as Ritson seemingly sits on the fence. The most interesting point for me actually came from Kristof Fahy, CMO of Ladbrokes and he stated:
“There are thousands of hours of content knocking around – what customer is going to want to navigate through that to find the specific bit that was designed for them?”
The thing is, if content has been planned and ‘designed’ correctly a customer isn’t going to have to navigate or trawl through anything. It’ll be right in front of them. Website design has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and there’s a discipline known as user experience. At its very basic definition, it means understanding what your user needs, not what you think they want, and then creating a simple journey for them to follow. Content marketing is a fundamental tool in helping move the user along the journey.
Find what matters to your customer
Content should be created with a commitment to answering a customer’s questions, facilitating their needs and helping to build their trust in the credibility of your business. When time is dedicated to understanding what matters to your customer and supplying them with a solution, they’ll return to your business. Why? Because they mattered to you and now you matter to them and so a long term relationship is formed. As content marketers that is what we’re here to do - form lasting relationships and build upon customer lifecycles.
If your content doesn’t matter (and by matter we mean is of interest) then yes, maybe it is bullshit, because if you’re not helping your customer be more effective then what’s the point? Content for contents sake is a waste of time. Content that customers want to read is why you’ll find so many people calling it ‘King’. It drives conversions further down the sales funnel. It happens but we have to be patient.
Changing the way customers consume media
We live in a world of swipes and clicks and there’s no getting away from that. Content marketers have learnt to take an integrated approach across digital and print, social media and word of mouth; one message, one voice and multiple channels. When you break through the noise and engage one customer at a time - at the right time for them - that’s when content comes into its own.
Sometimes all it takes is for that one customer to feel like they mattered, when a business saw their problem, understood it, and presented them with a solution, to completely change their perception on a brand or simply an idea.
That content “knocking around”
To go back to Kristof Fahy’s point about ‘content knocking around’, it’s more often than not that content that’s had time to rank, gain momentum and become visible, which performs highest for a business due to its longevity.
In April 2017 we wrote an article at Abstrakt with our views on why we develop using Craft CMS instead of WordPress. If you consider the amount of articles written about WordPress and its pros and cons, you can imagine how such an article could be lost due to “thousands of hours” trying to find it. But it’s not lost. It’s not even forgotten. It’s actually our most read article and our 7th highest ranking web page in the last 12-months.
Its success is down to something quite simple. We wrote it with users in mind. We’d suffered the same frustrations as they had and understood the needs of a developer, as well as content managers just looking for a simpler solution. And yes, it has led to leads and converted to sales. We’ve had several clients move from WordPress to Craft CMS because something as simple as an article explained why one solution really does perform better than another.
When it comes to B2C, our client Shavers.co.uk introduced a content marketing strategy in November 2015 and has doubled organic traffic year on year to the website. No, the conversion rate isn’t always soaring because the traffic wasn’t high immediately, but that was never the goal. The objective was to position Shavers as the leader in knowledge and advice for men’s grooming in the UK. They’re succeeding in that and have a loyal base of returning customers and visitors to their content, as well as new visitors daily. These visitors do convert over time, it just might not be on the first visit.
If you build it, they will come
Kristof Fahy also stated, “If brands look hard at everything they’ve created, there might be a few things that have hit in decent numbers but I guarantee there is lots of stuff that hasn’t, but no one talks about that.”
Fahy is right in that there is a lot of content that hasn’t hit “decent numbers” but they haven’t hit decent numbers yet. That’s where we come back to that longevity. If you’ve created content for your customer's needs, they will find it and it will resonate. If you haven’t the real question is, why did you create it in the first place?
We advocate content marketing at Abstrakt because we’ve seen the impact it has and how it works hard for us and our clients. It might take time but putting the resource into a content strategy really does influence the growth of a business. You just have to be realistic, set clear and achievable goals and not be afraid to play the long game. It’s always worth it in the end.
If you want to know more about content marketing and creating a content strategy to grow your business and matter to your customers, get in touch. We’d love to talk content and getting the most out of it for your brand, your business and your customers.