One of the questions I often get asked is “Is content marketing valuable?” This is a very good question because over the last 5 years, content marketing has been pushed as the golden ticket of marketing. Famous marketers have said “Content is King.” Lee Odden even said “Content isn’t King, it’s the Kingdom.” With so many marketers pushing the benefits of content marketing, many brands and companies stated a blog or content program only to give up 6 to 8 months later because they didn’t see desired results.
Brands spent thousands of dollars on content marketing only to see little or no measurable results. This made many brands angry and they felt the were sold snake oil to pad agencies pockets. The idea of creating content that consumers wanted was pushed and bought, but left the buyer feeling cheated. Brands and companies have been use to advertising campaigns that produce immediate results. I can start a PPC campaign on Google and see results within hours, but with content marketing brands waited and waited, got worried, waited some more and then gave up. Declaring content marketing useless. But is content marketing valuable? The answer is yes, which often leads to the next question “How long does it take?”
Is content marketing valuable?
I want to use this site as a case study of sorts. I want to look at some of the stats and talk about how content marketing is valuable and also give a timeline of how long it might take based on your brand’s level of commitment. I want to start with a picture of this sites wordpress stats. WordPress is not the most accurate software, but it shows an important point about how long it takes for content marketing to become valuable.
How long does it take?
In this picture we can see that the first year CM received 13,308 views. The next year it increased by 3.6x and last year it increased by 3.6x. This year it is on course to increase by about 1.5x. These increases are due to continuously adding content based on SEO and readers desires. Content marketing builds on itself. After 6 to 8 months it could have been very easy to give up. The results during the first year were dismal. 13k views after a year of work is not very valuable and for a brand looking to sell products or services this would not be seen as valuable. But fast forward 4 years and the site will receive around 250,000 unique visitors, this is descent traffic for any small brand.
The cost of running this site is about $200-300 US dollars a year. The site is more cost effective than any other form of advertising and I have complete control over the content. On top of all that, I have been able to make money off of the site. I have started to offer services and I now have a client and multiple leads. If I was selling a product or service for the last 3 years I would have made even more money. I have made back all of the money I spent on this site and I will continue to build a client base.
In order to attract 250,000 visitors a year, I would have to spend thousands of dollars on Google, Facebook, or other advertising platforms, but because I have spent time and energy on creating content that is indexed on Google and that gets shared on Facebook, I now receive that traffic and business for about $300 US dollars a year.
Brands should use content marketing
Here is how I think brands should use content marketing: Content marketing is not a be all, end all marketing method, but a part of the marketing mix. Great brands will add content marketing into their marketing mix because it is focused on their core audience. They should provide useful content that is optimized for search, mobile friendly, and useful to their core audience. They should also use traditional marketing (Print, TVCs, Billboards, etc) and digital marketing (social, PPC, videos, ads, etc) to attract and engage with new customers.
A brand that is looking for fast results with content marketing can achieve this by writing great content (or hiring someone to help) and then using digital advertisement to drive traffic to that content. I have written 188 articles on this site and now receive around 20,000 unique views per month. If a brand wanted faster results, they could write unique content everyday. They could post multiple times a day and could produce enough content to gain 100’s of thousands of views per month. The truth is those 100’s of thousands of views might not happen for a year or two. This is the value of content marketing, if done right it is a great way to earn traffic and business over a long period of time. If you are looking for a quick win, paid advertisement is still the fastest way to get results, but if you have time to build something around your brand, content marketing is still ‘king’.
So, is content marketing valuable? I say yes, but it is only valuable if the brand is willing to commit to a long term plan and has a written plan. Strategy is the most important part of a content marketing plan and knowing who, when, and what will be posted and promoted are extremely important for a content marketing plan to succeed. Do you think content marketing is valuable? Leave a comment and let us know about your success or failure with content marketing.