Despite the fact it's only become a buzzword in the last decade or so, content marketing has been around forever.
We particularly like Content Marketing Institute's description of content marketing - “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.”
The reason we love this description so much is that is highlights the often misunderstood point that content marketing isn't just about creating engaging content (although that's obviously a major part), rather, its end goal is to 'drive profitable customer action'. And anything that drives profitable customer action is worth taking seriously.
And, by the way, content marketing doesn't just mean written articles like this one. There are many vehicles for content marketing such as videos, podcasts, white papers, tweets, GIFs, events and more.
While content marketing has always been an important part of the marketing mix, very few companies have ever done it well, and many companies (particularly those of SME size or smaller) seem to avoid dedicating resources to it at all.
We think that stems from a lack of understanding regarding what content marketing is, and, more importantly, the sort of impact it can have on the bottom line of your business – which can be significant.
With that in mind, HubSpot has released their 'Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2018' and, as ever, it makes for interesting reading. We've picked out a few stats from the content marketing section that we think you ought to be aware of. So check them out below.
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
This is the sort of statistic that any marketer or business owner should be taking note of.
Whenever there's information about the actions that potential buyers take before engaging with your business, it's time to sit up and pay attention. And when large percentages of your potential customers are telling you that content is what leads them to engage with your company, it's time to start planning a strategy.
This stat proves that your company is being discovered and judged on the quality of your content. And that should lead you to ask yourself at least the following questions:
1. Are we producing content? If not, you're losing out to competitors that are. It's as simple as that. Your buyers are TELLING you that. Seriously, it's nearly 2019. If you're not on board with this content thing, you're lagging way, WAY behind. And there's really no excuse for it.
2. Are we producing GREAT content? Maybe you are pushing out the odd blog post here and there, but are you ensuring they all provide your readers with value? Gone are the days of simply churning out content for the sake of it (thankfully). Instead, you need to think about the sorts of things your potential customers want answers to or discuss things that are relevant to your industry. Your content must be advice and insight-led, rather than sales-led too, no-one wants to read that.
Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.
This statistic has been around for a while, so you may have come across it before. However, it reinforces the fact that content marketing is one of the most cost-efficient ways to promote your business... if you're doing it right, of course.
The fact that so many companies spend money on paid search while completely neglecting content marketing is not a good thing. Don't be one of them.
We're not saying abandon paid search, but if content marketing can triple your lead generation, you should at least be giving it some serious consideration, right?
96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
That's essentially every single buyer. Think about that for a minute. You're sitting here reading this article and this stat is actually telling you that your potential customers want to read more content from industry thought leaders.
That attributes so, so much value to being or becoming a thought leader.
SO GO BECOME ONE!
Write, speak, and record. Share advice, opinion, and insight whenever and wherever you can. And do it now.
The only way to become a thought leader in any sector is to create valuable content and share it with people. Doing that enhances your credibility and authority. And the more of that you generate for yourself or your business, the more of a thought leader you become in the minds of your potential customers. And who do you think they'll come to when they have more questions to ask?
EXAMPLE: Do you think Gary Vee became a thought leader by accident? Or because he was lucky? The guy puts out great content every single day. He shares advice every single day. Seriously, he's a beast. We're not saying you have to be a content monster like Gary, but you need to get active. Right now.
To be honest, if this statistic hasn't made you leap out of your chair and start creating an effective content marketing plan, then we're not sure what will. This stat has come from the mouth of BUYERS, not content marketers.
Oh, and don't just write press releases and good news stories about your business (although you can certainly sprinkle them in). Instead, focus most of your content-creating efforts (we're talking 80% or more) on writing engaging, insightful, in-depth articles on topics relevant to your potential customers and your industry.
75% of HubSpot's blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts
That's right, content marketing creates long-term benefits for your business. At least, really great, evergreen content does. Who knew? Well, we did, but it's nice that HubSpot has illustrated the point so nicely...
Once your content is out there it goes to work for you 24/7, 365 days a year. The more evergreen the content, the longer it'll perform, and the more valuable and insightful the content, the most leads it'll generate.
Aim your content at your audience, answer THEIR questions (don't feed your ego), and post where they hang out too. And remember – always, always, ALWAYS provide value.
So there we have it, four of our favourite statistics from HubSpot's Ultimate List, and what they tell us about the benefits of content marketing. You can click here to read the rest of the list, which includes stats from Email Marketing and SEO, to Lead Generation and Advertising.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the statistics you find most interesting. And if you've got some fantastic content marketing insights and opinions to share, just stick them in the comments box below and we'll get back to you.
If you'd like to get more advice and insight from Converge on content marketing, or enjoy content written from our membership of thought leaders on a range of business topics, then make sure you sign up to our email newsletter (over there in the sidebar) and we'll ping the best stuff straight to your inbox.