The amount of content created by businesses continues to increase, while reader engagement decreases. But don’t worry, there are still ways to make your content marketing efforts pay off.
A recent study by TrackMaven found that the volume of content produced by brands during one year increased by 78 percent, but reader engagement decreased by 60 percent. The study analyzed 13.8 million pieces of content published by 8,800 brands over the course of one year. A study by Content Marketing Institute further shows that, for most organizations, content marketing is consistently dropping in effectiveness on a yearly basis.
Going by these two studies, is content marketing no longer effective? Not necessarily. Research shows that content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing while generating three times as many leads. Research also shows that year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, content marketing still works. However, you need to know what you are doing.
If you are ever to make content marketing work for you, it is absolutely essential to consider the following content marketing principles.
1. Have a Documented Content Marketing Strategy
Research by Content Marketing Institute reveals that 60 percent of marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are successful with their content marketing, compared to just 7 percent of marketers with no strategy.
There are a lot of factors that will influence your success as a content marketer but the most important one is your strategy; nothing beats having a clearly documented content marketing strategy.
2. Make Original Written Content a Core Part of Your Strategy
While marketing with multimedia (such as videos and infographics) is gaining prominence as the internet advances, written content is here to stay. According to research conducted by Social Media Examiner, 58 percent of marketers find that “original written content” performs better than other types of content, including visuals and videos.
For a complete content marketing strategy, we recommend a combination of different types of content. Superstar content marketer Neil Patel was able to take his blog to over 100,000 monthly visitors within a year without doing any form of multimedia marketing.
This doesn’t mean that you should ignore other content types. However, don’t get caught up with the fancy and overlook the essential.
3. Detailed, Long-Form Content Will Always Beat Shorter Content
Now that we’ve established the importance of creating original written content, exactly what type of written content should you create? Apparently, nothing beats detailed, long-form content. An analysis of over 100 million articles by BuzzSumo found that long-form content gets more social shares and links compared to shorter content.
In fact, it was established that the longer a piece of content is, the more shares and links it will get. This research was further corroborated by a study by SerpIQ which found that majority of the top 10 rankings in Google involve content that has more than 2,000 words. The longer the content, the more likely a site is to rank higher.
Surprisingly, content marketers spend more time creating short-form content. Available data shows that content marketers create 16 times more content that is less than 1,000 words than content that is over 2,000 words.
So make it a core part of your strategy to create more long-form content for your content marketing efforts.
4. Quantity and Consistency Matters
For a very long time people have been debating the issue of content frequency and whether it influences results. Some advocate only writing content that needs to be written and published when you can guarantee a high standard, while others advocate publishing new content daily.
What does available data say? According to data from Hubspot, based on an analysis of content from over 13,500 customers, publishing more content will almost always result in increased traffic. Hubspot found that companies that published 16 or more blog posts monthly got around 3.5 times more traffic and 4.5 times more leads than companies that published less than four blog posts monthly.
In other words, if you’re publishing less than four pieces of content monthly, it’s time to increase your pace. That said, consistency is important; once you decide on content frequency, be sure to stick with it.
5. Content Marketing Is More Than Just Content Creation
Success in content marketing goes beyond “build it and they will come.” They rarely come if you build it and wait!
Beyond just creating quality content, you also need to work on distributing and promoting content. This is where having a solid social media strategy, having an outreach strategy, building an email list, and considering content syndication come into play.
6. It Takes More Than Just Traffic to Succeed at Content Marketing
Ultimately, successful content marketers have realized that content marketing is about more than just traffic; if you want just traffic, you can get traffic for as low as a few cents per visit by advertising on Facebook. However, real content marketing should deliver results; many startups do content marketing wrong because they focus on traffic, clicks, and views, and in the process neglect their conversion funnels.
If you have a blog, make sure there’s a way people can discover your other offerings. Also make sure that products you offer relate to the content you create. Once the content is in place, use an email list, content upgrades, and a conversion funnel to convert the traffic your content generates.
7. Content Marketing Takes Time to Work
Content marketing isn’t a “quick shot” approach; it is highly unlikely that you’ll start implementing your strategy and attain your goals within a few months. The most successful content marketing examples took years before realizing a big win, and even the “quick winners” had to wait for at least six months.
It is important to know that content marketing takes time, whether it has to do with the time it will take for your content to start ranking for desired keywords, or for your content marketing efforts to reach critical mass and start to deliver results.