Every week we meet with a new business that wants to transform its marketing in readiness for the “content era”. Yet, for every business like this, we meet two corresponding businesses that are “sitting on the fence”, waiting to experience the full cost of delaying content marketing in 2014!
Content marketing is strategic
Businesses that delay swing back and forth debating the pros and cons of investing a content marketing solution, trying to convince their C-level executives that a content strategy is NOT just “a-nice-to-have”, but a compulsory strategic component of today’s marketing mix.
Sitting on the fence was OK in 2010 – content marketing was in its infancy then. After that, more and more brands jumped on the bandwagon and invested in content creation and distribution, experimenting with different content formats and channels, and measuring results. In 2013 content marketing broke through, proved the naysayers wrong, and established its business case, making 2014 the critical “make or break” year for businesses that either have, or don’t have a content marketing strategy.
Short and long term content marketing goals
The cost of delaying content marketing becomes more obvious when you see the goals it delivers across the time spectrum
For any business delaying implementing a content marketing strategy in 2014, the cost will be measured across four types of metrics: consumption metrics, sharing metrics, lead generation metrics and sales metrics.
Let’s take a closer look at those losses
1. Lost traffic
The first, and most important, cost will be the loss of qualified traffic and visitors. Developing relevant and compelling content that helps prospective customers discover your brand and business proposition online is a powerful way to attract qualified audiences, but if you don’t publish any content, then you won’t attract potential customers to your business. At least not online, and we know that advertising only really works as an impulse for customers who are nearing the end of their buying journey.
2. Lost leads
As you drive qualified traffic to your site via content that answers your customers’ questions, you have a chance to convert a percentage of that traffic into leads. This is where content marketing comes into its own. Using high quality, well researched eBooks, Guides and White Papers, you can attract potential customers to your website and convert them into leads via conversion forms, allowing you to email more content to them that will move them along the buying cycle toward purchase and advocacy.
How much lost traffic and how many leads will you lose?
Experience shows that distributing high quality content over time builds audiences, search engine results performance (SERPs), domain authority, and frequency of leads and sales.
Metrics vary from business to business, but two cases come to mind:
- For a small business, the Institute For Sustainability, was able to achieve the following growth in audiences over a three month period, attracting and converting customers in the home retrofit market via links on Twitter and targeted discussions and comments on “sustainable building” discussion groups on LinkedIn.
To read the full success story, download the free IFS case study
2. For a larger business, deploying content marketing to attract new audiences in large volumes, the Sage Case study is a good example of what can be achieved strictly through content marketing:
Realistically a content marketing deployment (not campaign because it’s ongoing) can boost your search engine rankings over a sustained period of time, and if the content themes and topics are evergreen and utilitarian that content will garner more targeted visits, leads and sales.
3. Lost referrals
The opportunity cost does not stop at pure traffic and conversions. If you delay a content creation strategy, then you will almost certainly miss out on building links, and that can directly impact the SEO strength of your website.
If you develop a strong content marketing strategy, then there’s a strong chance your content will build authority through links from referring websites. Without these inbound links your domain will not build authority.
4. Lost community
As employees of your company create and share valuable new content that attracts traffic and converts leads to your website and your social media channels, there’s a tangible uplift in energy that comes from connecting with prospects, journalists, bloggers, influencers and other like-minded people you did not know previously shared your view of the world. When those new audiences connect with you, it creates a new sense of shared purpose and achievement across the business that you can not get from any other place except from being on a busy market stall at Christmas time. Content marketing literally builds community around your brand, both within the business and outside it, effectively taking removing the traditional walls that separate the two. Without content you will never experience the benefit of community and co-creation.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence, I hope this post helped you understand the business cost of delaying content marketing. Realistically, you need to build content over time to capitalise on the benefits of increased traffic, shares, conversions, referrals and community. Your content needs to be well-researched, relevant and compelling to earn attention, and to build advocacy from customers, and increase sales, but you can’t do any of that unless you transition your marketing.
If you’re finding content marketing tough (no one said it was easy!), why not attend our Content Marketing Master Class: we use a tried, tested and trusted content marketing framework that gives you all the templates, tools and techniques you need to build a marketing blueprint for marketing success in 2014 and beyond! SEE all the benefits here