“Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less,” is a much-quoted statistic from Demand Metric.
But does content marketing really work? And, if so, how long does it take to work?
In this content marketing FAQ, the Loomly Team unearths the answers to all your questions — and more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is content marketing?
- What is the difference between content marketing and content writing?
- What are the main goals of content marketing?
- What are examples of content marketing?
- How does content marketing work?
- What are the benefits of content marketing?
- Does content marketing really work?
- How long does content marketing take to work?
- What are the best ways to do content marketing?
- What are the five best content marketing methods?
- How do you find content marketing ideas?
- Is content marketing a skill?
- How do you become a content marketer?
- What is the role of a content marketer?
- What are the best content marketing tools?
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing valuable and relevant content to engage, inform, entertain or grow a brand’s following.
Content marketing is a type of inbound marketing that tries to attract, engage, entertain, and inform a target audience rather than directly promoting a brand’s product or services.
You can use content marketing to:
Content marketing uses a diverse range of content mediums to connect with an audience, including:
The CMI defines it as:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
What is the difference between content marketing and content writing?
Content writing is the execution of a content marketing idea by creating content for web pages, blogs, social media, and other marketing mediums. Content marketing, on the other hand, is a strategy on how to use content to achieve the desired outcome.
What are the main goals of content marketing?
There are four main goals of content marketing that really matter to brands.
Building a list of subscribers permits you to communicate with them regularly. And that allows you to market to them with valuable and relevant content.
Great content can encourage prospects to sign up for a demo, register for an event, or request access to a resource center. Unlike subscribers, leads provide more than an email address. A lead could be defined as a contact in some organizations because they share more information about themselves than subscribers do.
Sales support and enablement
Content marketing typically involves creating pieces that offer proof points to help customers decide (or justify) choosing your product or service. For example, testimonials and case studies provide examples of how you have helped others.
Customer support and loyalty
Though many think of content marketing as a top-of-the-funnel play, content can also reinforce the customer’s decision after the sale. Customer marketing content can help make sure the customer gets value from the purchase – and is likely to buy again.
What are examples of content marketing?
Here are eight examples of content marketing you can learn from:
- Coke’s “Share A Coke” Campaign – Personalization and emotional connection are key.
- Buffer’s Open Blog – Focus all your time and effort on value.
- Hootsuite’s Game of Social Thrones – Find a new and exciting way to connect with your audience.
- Microsoft And Stories – Be human. It’s the one trait you and all of your customers have in common.
- HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing – Create top-notch content. Quality trumps quantity.
- McDonald’s Question Time – Engage with your customers on their terms, at their level.
- GoPro’s Visual Content – Visual content is powerful in content marketing. Learn to do it well.
- Share As Image’s visual content for dummies – Focus on the basics, do them effectively, and always strive to add value.
There are five key elements all of these campaigns share:
- Tell powerful stories.
- Be honest and open.
- Personalize where possible.
- Quality over quantity — but if you can have both, then do.
- Employ visual content at all costs.
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing works by offering readers informative and useful material that provides insight and value. Using blogs, ebooks, social media posts, graphics, and videos, content marketing attracts potential customers, keeps them engaged, and moves them further along the sales funnel.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Content marketing drives traffic to your site, helps establish you as a leading voice in your industry, and gives audiences useful, actionable content that they need to solve their problems.
But content marketing also:
- Increases brand affinity
- Creates larger remarketing audiences
- Drives traffic through image search optimization
- Feeds your social flywheel
Does content marketing really work?
Consumers are attracted to authenticity, transparency, and friendliness in a brand. As such, marketers have discovered that they need to approach the consumer differently. Instead of serving up the same old ads, they must add value to consumers’ lives. Hence, the fundamentals behind content marketing – relationship-building, focusing on the customer versus the brand – were born in response.
These nine stats prove that content marketing really does work:
- Content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent on paid search.
- Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
- In 1984, a person saw an average of 2,000 ads/day. By 2014, they saw around 5,000.
- Almost half of 18 to 49-year-old people get their news and information online – and those numbers are growing.
- Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
- After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase.
- Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
- Content creation is the most effective SEO technique.
- Businesses publishing 16+ posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than those publishing zero to four articles.
Bottom line: Skilled, consistent content marketing works.
How long does content marketing take to work?
While the actual amount of time will depend on your business and circumstances, for a small to medium-sized business, a strong content marketing strategy generally takes between six and nine months to yield real results.
What are the best ways to do content marketing?
Here are nine ways to make your content marketing more effective:
- Have a plan.
- Know your audience.
- Know when and where to post.
- Quality over quantity.
- Mix up content.
- Focus on people, not search engines.
- Optimize your content.
- Test, analyze, and improve.
What are the five best content marketing methods?
Here are the five best content marketing methods you should be using:
- Blogging – More than 70% of B2C marketers blog regularly and rate blogs as one of the most effective formats for distributing content.
- Social media – 96% of B2C marketers regularly use social media to engage with customers.
- Influencer marketing – Influencers have the star appeal and the audience engagement to put a positive spin on your marketing campaign.
- Email newsletters – 86% of B2C marketers use email to distribute content, and email marketing has the highest ROI.
- White papers – 50% of B2B marketers rank them as one of the three most effective ways to achieve objectives.
Whatever kind of content marketing methods you adopt, you should always start with the foundation of quality content.
As of July 2020, the top 10 content types used by B2C marketers in the previous 12 months were:
How do you find content marketing ideas?
Check out this list of 95 creative content marketing ideas.
Is content marketing a skill?
Yes. To be more specific, content marketing relies on a set of skills.
SEJ lists the Top 10 content marketing skills to learn for greater brand success:
- Detective work – digging up facts about your audience.
- The art of interviewing subject matter experts.
- Writing each piece of content with a goal in mind.
- Knowing how to stand out.
- Keyword research savviness.
- Looking ahead – planning content way ahead of time.
- The ability to repackage content.
- Optimizing for voice search and AI.
- Using links for higher authority and relevance.
- Measuring your content’s success.
How do you become a content marketer?
Here are seven ways you can build the skills you need to kickstart your content marketing career:
- Start by building your writing skills.
- Learn from the experts.
- Develop your tech skills.
- Get creative.
- Brush up your research skills.
- Spruce up your personal brand.
- Enroll in courses that help you succeed.
What is the role of a content marketer?
A content marketer needs to be both a storyteller and a data analyst. Ultimately, your goal as a content marketer is to work as a part of the company’s overall digital marketing strategy by identifying and engaging with the target audience in a way that is meaningful to them.
Take a look below at the day-to-day responsibilities of a content marketer:
- Written content creation – create a vision for blogs, emails, and social media posts.
- Video content creation – planning relevant video content related to your brand and distributing it across multiple media platforms.
- Social media management – create, manage, and track content across social media
- Gated content generation – educate, enlighten, and keep your audience interested in the content they signed up to access.
- Editorial calendars and strategy – create a publishing strategy so that you can plan your content in an editorial calendar.
- Data analysis – collect and interpret data to find what’s working and adjust plans for maximum effectiveness.
What are the best content marketing tools?
Here are the best content marketing tools:
- Analyze topics and find influencers with BuzzSumo.
- Capture, organize, and share notes with Evernote.
- Measure your online influence with Kred.
- Collaborate with team members via Trello.
- Create funnels with ClickFunnels.
- Tweet when others are listening thanks to Tweriod.
- Design beautiful imagery with Canva.
- Dominate the buyer journey with Uberflip.
- SEMRush: An all-in-one marketing toolkit.
- Email marketing with MailChimp.
- Trigger emails and events with GetResponse.
- Social share buttons with MashShare.
- Outrank competitors with Ahrefs.
- Manage social media thanks to Hootsuite.
- Correct spelling and grammar with Grammarly.
- Bonus: Create awesome videos with InVideo.
Content marketing in a nutshell
When asked about the role of content marketing, Seth Godin famously answered: “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
That was several years ago, yet it still rings true today.
In fact, the global content marketing industry will be worth $412 billion by 2021.
Make sure content marketing is front and center of your strategy.