Is Content Marketing Still King in 2020?

Just about everyone in the internet marketing industry has heard the famous phrase ‘content is king’.  But, for those of you who are still not convinced or are asking whether content marketing continues to be ‘king’ in 2020, we’ve written this blog to answer many of the most commonly asked questions about content marketing.

With the effects of Covid-19 hitting lots of businesses hard, now is the time to start looking at more cost-effective digital marketing practices your business can employ to save costs, without negatively impacting the long-term success of your business.

According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.”

By the time you’ve finished reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you’ll conclude content is still king and will want to join the forever expanding ranks of the ‘content marketing army’; an army taking over the world of advertising which continues to thrive and grow in 2020.

So let’s start with the basics…

 

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the polar opposite of a ‘hard sell’.  You do not directly promote your company’s products or services; you instead educate consumers, tell a story, and provide them with valuable information they are seeking.

 

Types of content marketing

There are lots of different types. Content isn’t just a written article or blog, it can be a video, an image, a podcast, a social media post, an e-book, or a webinar, to name but a few!

In Aristotle’s famous words, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”  

This is a good philosophy to have when starting out on your content marketing journey.

Unlike paid advertising, leads and sales from successful content marketing are rarely instantaneous and take a while to filter through.  However, if you do your content marketing well, it will enhance the user experience and create a huge volume of organic leads and sales – you just need a little patience.  Bah!

 

Why is content marketing important in 2020?

9 reasons why content marketing continues to be important for marketing your business in 2020:

  • keeps a reader’s attention
  • grows audience engagement
  • improves brand awareness and loyalty
  • increases organic visibility
  • is loved by audiences and search engines
  • generates traffic and leads
  • drives direct sales
  • boosts your social media presence
  • grows your business

 

Here are some statistics evidencing why great content is still king in 2020:

  • 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through content.
  • 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
  • 68% of people spend time reading about brands that interest them.
  • 90% of all organizations use content in their internet marketing efforts.
  • Costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
  • Per dollar spent, it generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
  • 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
  • 80% of US internet users interact with social media sites and blogs.
  • Companies that have blogs generate 67% more leads per month than companies who don’t.
  • 78% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) see custom content as the future of marketing.
  • 70% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them and feel closer to a company as a result.
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
  • On average, companies with blogs produce 67%+ leads per month!

 

A good portion of these statistics clearly shows the importance of building trust with your audience and connecting with your customers.

Content allows you to build a relationship with your customer which increases conversions and generates leads.

If you make sure your content is rich with SEO, you’ll drive more customers to your website.

It also enhances your social media presence.

What’s not to love?!

 

1. Does content marketing really work?

According to a recent blog by ProfitWell, the data says a resounding ‘yes.. content marketing has become the gold standard in marketing.’

However, to make content marketing work, preparation is key so it’s important to have a  solid strategy.  There are lots of free resources available on the internet to help with content marketing strategy planning, including content calendars.

To start, you need to decide on the type of content you want to create.

content-marketing-formatsSource: InboxInsight

To help their members audit their content assets (as part of their marketing strategy) Smart Insights suggest using the four quadrants Entertain, Inspire, Educate, and Convince.

Here’s a copy of their widely distributed ‘Content Marketing Matrix’ infographic to help marketers decide on their content goals:

content-marketing-matrix
Source: Smart Insights

In addition to preparation, there are lots of other marketing elements you will need to incorporate into your content marketing plan.

You cannot simply write an excellent high-value content blog and do nothing else except post your blog on the internet and hope for the best.

You’ll need to optimize each stage of the marketing funnel; for example, you’ll need to ensure that you optimize your website landing pages for user experience, to create high conversion rates.

The following infographic sets out all optimization techniques which should be applied to blog posts before publishing.

content-marketing-SEO-For-BlogsGraphic courtesy of tophatrank

i.  How does content create leads and sales?

It works by attracting an audience, which leads to traffic to your website.  Once you have leads, you can showcase your services and/or products to this audience which in turn, will generate sales.

ii.  How long does it take to create leads and sales?

It can take several months to create leads and sales.  Content marketing is never a ‘quick fix’ method of marketing and for SMEs, tangible results can take more than six months.

iii.  How do you measure the ROI of your content?

  • 60% of B2B marketers use web traffic to measure success
  • 51% use sales lead quality
  • 45% use social media sharing

 

To more accurately measure your content marketing ROI, you’ll need to know how much ‘revenue’ your content has generated – this means all sales you made as a direct result of a piece of content.

Then you’ll need to calculate how much you spent in total to produce the content.

When calculating total costs, don’t forget to include all outsourced costs, work done in-house (including other departments), what you paid for images, video, audio, promotions, software, etc, and what you paid to distribute your content.

Once you have these two figures, we recommend using Convince and Convert’s ROI formula: ‘Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage’ [x 100].

For example, if you generate sales totaling $3,000 (return);

Take away the ‘investment’ – costs paid for creating content (- $1,000) = $2,000;

Then divide $2,000 by the cost of creating the content ($1,000) = 2

Times 100% = 200% (ROI)

You should aim to measure your content’s ROI every quarter.

 

2. Is Content Marketing suitable for B2B and B2C?

Although different marketing tactics are employed by B2B and B2C marketers, producing great content is ideal for both B2B and B2C marketing.

Content marketing is used by a whopping 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers.

To promote great content, Facebook is favored by B2Cs, and LinkedIn is the most popular channel for B2Bs.

content-marketing-B2B-v-B2C

Graphic courtesy of CMS Wire

 

3. Should I outsource my content?  If so, how much will it cost?

The answer to this will depend on:

  • the size of your business;
  • whether you have enough in-house marketing staff to dedicate the necessary time to consistently creating and promoting great content; and
  • the percentage of your marketing budget you want to spend on content.

 

According to Lead Forensics, marketing teams’ average spend on creative content creation is around 29% and the best performing marketing teams spend as much as 40% on their entire department allocation on content marketing.

Some of the reasons why you should consider outsourcing include:

  • your current content efforts generate a profitable amount of leads and sales, but you’re not getting as much content churned out as often as you would like;
  • the quality of content is being compromised as your in-house team are inexperienced in this field or are overstretched;
  • you can’t justify or afford to employ a full-time content marketer.

 

The costs of outsourcing are not cheap.  An experienced freelance marketing content marketer can cost in the region of $100-$300 per hour.  The high end of this hourly rate would be for more niche ‘specialist’ freelance content writers who know your business and/or products inside out and are specialists in your field.  If you want a top-notch content optimization service, then you’ll need to pay more but you’ll get what you pay for.

You could opt to employ a much cheaper freelance content writer for around $50-$100.  While most of these freelancers tend to be good writers, they’re not usually experts in your field and will struggle with the promotional aspects of content marketing, so you may end up having to pay someone else to promote your content for you in addition to writing it.

A good content marketing agency will charge anything from $300 per hour but they can do this because they offer a premium package with a team of experienced experts.  A marketing agency will create great content, optimize your content for SEO and user experience, and can competently advertise your business, using high-quality content, via appropriate marketing channels.

Quality, expertise, consistency, and dependability are pretty important factors when it comes to content marketing and this is where an agency will ‘tick all the boxes’ in comparison to a non-specialist freelancer.

Need some more stats to help make up your mind?

  • 62% of companies outsource their content.
  • 44% of B2B marketers outsource content creation.
  • 78% of respondents in a SEMrush survey stated that their content team consists of only 1-3 specialists, requiring content creation to be outsourced at times.
  • 50% of B2B markets outsource at least one content task.
  • Once content is in hand, organizations spend an average of 27% of their marketing budgets on paid distribution.

 

So to conclude, it appears outsourcing of content is fairly prevalent and a lot of businesses favor outsourcing the creation of their content.

 

4. Is Content Marketing more successful than traditional marketing?

If you’ve read this blog up to this point, you will most likely conclude that well-executed content can be more successful than traditional marketing.

Historically, content marketing has proven to be a more successful marketing strategy than traditional marketing for more than a century!

Way back in 1895, John Deere, an agricultural and construction company, pioneered content creation by producing a magazine for its customers called ‘The Furrow’.

John Deere successfully engaged with its customers through their magazine by educating farmers rather than simply providing them with a catalog of products to look at.

In 2020, The Furrow is an agricultural journal published in fourteen languages and distributed to around 2 million consumers worldwide.  At its peak in 1912 (before the age of digital), John Deere’s The Furrow reached more than 4 million consumers.

content-marketing-john-deere-the-furrow

In 2020, consumers now, more than ever, find ‘in-you-face’ advertising unpalatable.  That’s why:

  • 86% of people skip TV adverts
  • 44% of people ignore direct mail
  • 91% of email users unsubscribe from company emails

 

To sum up, check out this illustration on the negatives of traditional publicity versus the positives of successful content:

traditional-v-content-marketing


5. What are the latest content trends in 2020?

  • Video marketing and live-streaming (YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch)
  • Voice search and smart devices (Alexa, Google, and Siri)
  • Immersive Content – Chatbots, Augmented reality visuals
  • Interactive Content – Quizzes, surveys, polls, contests, games and live video
  • Personalized Content – Online Communities e.g. groups of FB, WhatsApp, LinkedIn
  • Podcasts
  • Conversational – in-person events, webinars, and online events
  • Adaptive / Dynamic Content
  • Google’s snippets

 

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s ‘B2B Content Marketing 2020 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America’ report, social media, blogs/articles, and email newsletters continue to be the most popular types.  However, in keeping with the predicted content trends for 2020, in-person events (conversational content) and video marketing are HOT on their heels.

2020-content-marketing-trends

Here at Pico Digital Marketing, we’re astutely aware that content development is a huge driver of organic website performance and continues to be the most cost-effective way to generate organic leads.  We’ll recommend the content integrated into your overall strategy that is most likely to drive results.

Our award-winning team includes SEO specialists who can also help with your digital display advertising programs.  If you want to grow your business and incorporate more great content into your marketing strategy, get in touch.

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Sources:

Demand Metric Content Marketing Infographic

Smart Insights’ Content Marketing Matrix Infographic

SEMrush Survey – Content Marketing Statistics for 2020

Profitwell Blog – Does Content Marketing pay off?

Lead Forensics – How much should you spend on content marketing?

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