Digital marketingIt’s official: content marketing is today’s marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

CMI suggests that content marketing is now proving so effective for brands of all shapes and sizes, we could probably do away with the ‘content’ and just call it marketing.

For clarity’s sake, we’re going to continue calling it content marketing, but you get the point. Content marketing should no longer be a consideration – it should be the first thing you think about when it comes to marketing your business.

Not sure that’s strictly correct? CMI contributor Julia McCoy makes the case:

1. Content marketing is immune to ad blockers

As of August last year, 200 million people worldwide had installed ad-blocking software. As a result, paid advertisements – all the rage in online marketing, back in the day – is being rendered totally ineffective.

You can’t blame consumers for wanting to make their online experience more enjoyable, but for brands, it does make communicating with them somewhat more difficult.

Thankfully, we have content marketing to get through to consumers, which is immune to ad blockers and seeks to serve people, rather than pester them.

2. Compelling, valuable content = more traffic

Statistics show that if you can create compelling, valuable content, time after time, you will experience a good deal more site growth than those who come up short with their content.

According to B2B marketing platform Kapost, content marketing ‘leaders’ – those who offer content of the very highest quality – experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.

3. Content yields brand recall

As marketers, we like to think we’ve made an indelible impact on our customers with our marketing efforts. However, unless you’re personalising your messages and getting through to them on a regular basis, they probably won’t remember your brand.

Content marketing allows us to make regular, personalised contact with our customers, which, in turn, sees greater levels of engagement. According to a 2015 IBM Digital Experience Survey, 56% of marketers believe that personalised content promotes higher engagement rates.

4. Good content sees consumers stick around

In any content marketing campaign, you need both in-depth and skim-able content. Too much in-depth content and consumers will get fed up of reading; too much skim-able content and they will view your posts as being a touch lightweight.

Get the balance right by producing high-quality, relevant content and your audience will spend significant time on your site. According to NewsCred, the median time people spend on content marketing articles is 37 seconds.

5. Content marketing is great value for money

Compared to traditional marketing efforts, content marketing is relatively cheap. While it can take a while for the benefits to come to fruition, when they do, it tends to put other forms of marketing in the shade.

According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads.

6. Pretty much all B2B marketers use content marketing

Content marketing is ubiquitous: 88% of B2B marketers say they use it in their content marketing strategies. McCoy suggests that the fact everybody is using is proof that content marketing has become more than just a marketing approach – it is just ‘marketing’.

It’s easy to see why content marketing dominates B2B marketers’ marketing strategies: it “produces more sustainable value and makes it easier for brands and customers to connect with one another”, as McCoy puts it.

7. Content marketing drives higher conversion rates

Last year, CMI analysed content marketing adopters and non-adopters and compared their conversion rates. It found that the adopters had conversion rates that were nearly six times higher than their competitors.

The continuous nature of content marketing means that, in the end, prospects will turn into customers, having been convinced by months’ worth of a brand’s content.

8. Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with email marketing

Lest we forget that content marketing goes hand-in-hand with one of the most effective forms of marketing: email marketing. According to the DMA’s latest National Client Email report, for every £1 spent, email gives back a whopping £38 in ROI.

Content marketing feeds email marketing in many ways, with marketers able to use recently published content for personalised newsletters etc.

9. Content marketing is readily being outsourced

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of major organisations now hire someone to manage the content creation and distribution process. For many, content marketing is such a big undertaking, requiring huge amounts of skill and time, they think it’s best if they outsource.

It’s very much a full-time job: there’s the content creation, then there’s the promotional aspect on social media, but before all that a strategy needs to be put in place and maintained.

However, as we can see, it’s worth all the time and money. Arguably, so much so, that we might as well just all concentrate on content marketing for the foreseeable future – or ‘marketing’ as we might all soon be calling it.

Ben Hollom

September 1, 2016