Updated: Aug 14
If Facebook ads are the cool kids and the teacher's pets, content marketing is that poor little fella who sits in the back of the classroom who works his/ her ass off consistently every single day yet earns barely any recognition. Constantly bullied by the marketing budget and the number of leads, his only real friend is SEO.
The thing is, content marketing will be the only kid in the class who is going to graduate, find a job, and have his dream family in the end. Why?
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately drive profitable customer action. This can include blog posts, social media content, email marketing, videos, and more.
The biggest problem people have with content marketing is their lack of strategy and planning. To see success with content marketing, businesses must develop a clear strategy that aligns with their business goals and target audience.
The biggest problem with content marketing is not how effective it is, but it is the lack of a self-explanatory, 5th-grader-would-understand way to measure its effectiveness.
1. Understanding Content Marketing
While things like Facebook ads can show you a flashy report card at the end of every month, content marketing isn't all that concerned with report cards. Content marketing is about winning the grand prize - it's about doing all of the right things to get into college. So, as most people do in real life, they naturally ignore it until they realize their flashy report cards don't get them to the results they want.
What very few people realize is that content marketing does not work in a vacuum. People have this weird tendency to think that ads are ads, and content marketing is "the other content pieces". This is absolutely not true. Content marketing covers all content whether it is paid or organic. It is what keeps the brand consistent and builds brand loyalty.
That is also why people often assume content marketing is not the right path to deliver effective results. For sure, content marketing is not an easy path, but content marketing is a motivator in driving effective results.
Let me illustrate this with a scenario. Paul, an owner of a vacuum cleaning machine company wants more customers. The first thing he thinks he should do is to create ads. So, he did just that and waited for a month. Nothing happened.
Guess what he would blame for the results?
I can guarantee you it is along the lines of the platform, the targeting, and the creative. But what if I told you nothing happened because he didn't have a content strategy?
2. What is a content strategy?
In short, a content strategy identifies what content should be created based on the target audience's needs, and it sits within the whole content marketing strategy, which looks at where content should go and what should be backed with a budget.
If Paul had a content strategy, he would know what hooks can attract his target audiences, what content they demand, and what knowledge he should provide.
If Paul had a content strategy, he would also know where his target audiences hangs out online, what other pages and things they like, and what questions they are asking.
That means that the ad Paul could have created with a content strategy would have been much more relevant. It also means that Paul's targeting would not just be industry-related keywords and behaviors, rather something more niche and more resonating with his target audiences. In the end, this would mean the chance of him getting a lead is much higher, and the cost of acquiring this lead is much lower.
These are the metrics that justifies the blog you're reading now.
Other things such as site duration, number of pages visited, and returning visitors can also be improved with a content strategy, based on the same principles mentioned above.
3. Fixing your content
So, now that you understand the importance of content marketing and that it can dictate the future of your brand, what can you do to fix it?
Tune your mindset - Stop chasing the shiny things! By that, I mean new algorithm hacks, downloadable templates, and those so-called tips and tricks. Think long term, think about the things that will still matter even if Facebook shuts down tomorrow.
Stop looking for quick fixes - Stop getting fixated on executions such as Google ads, Facebook ads, and whatever ads you do. Think about where these traffic land afterward and if your content can attract them or make them stay.
Justify all your content efforts - Do not ever create a piece of content for the sake of creating a piece of content. Ask yourself why you are creating it, what good does it do, and what previous experiences/ learnings/ research supports you in creating this piece of content.
Look for patterns - The dumbest way to do content is to create a bunch of content pieces and then wait for something to happen. The smartest way is to spot patterns in high-performing posts and replicate them so you can predict your content performances.
Strive for growth - You should never look at any metrics in isolation. When you look at reach, look at engagement; when you look at engagement, look at the seconds watched on your video. You are trying to strive for relative growth because huge numbers do not necessarily convert.
And how do you do all of the things mentioned above? By investing in content marketing!