Ever heard of the phrase, "content is king"?
You have Bill Gates circa 1996 to thank for that one, but there's a reason why it's reverberated in industry and popular culture, and more crucially, why it's still so relevant over 25 years later.
Content marketing is one of the strongest ways to achieve any number of business objectives. According to SEMrush's State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, content is helping businesses drive brand awareness and lead generation, sales performance, outreach efforts and more.
Not only that, but when it comes to ROI, it really is king. Some marketers say content strategy can be 3x more effective than traditional tactics, while the most common marker for success is total sales.
So besides gaining infamy for creatively-planned, brilliantly-executed content, how can you boost your business' performance through content marketing?
Starting could be simpler than you think.
#1: Video-Led Strategy
It might not come as a surprise to you, but video remains one of the strongest, highest performing content channels for businesses - or more specifically, short form videos of less than 3 minutes long.
ROI: Ten years ago, 'video content' meant hiring an agency, enlisting a project manager, coordinating interviews, buying B-roll and audio… nowadays? Many marketers and freelancers are adept at filming and simple edits, and that talent pool is growing, meaning more cost-effective production.
Best practice: Short-form videos are best used across platforms like Instagram or TikTok. And no, this doesn’t mean it won't work if your demographic is aged 35+. Over 40% of TikTok users are aged 30-49 years old, and there's growing interest for B2B too. Combine short-form video on your website alongside written content for bonus engagement points and SEO best practices.
#2: Audio-Led Strategy
Everyone has a podcast, right? If you want your business to join the ranks, now could be the time. Best for B2B audiences, industry podcasts are growing in popularity, and 51% of marketers said they'd planned on upping investment into the medium in '22.
ROI: Podcasts can be streamed easily and widely, resulting in accurate measurement. The downside is that measuring this against sales is more challenging because they tend to be split across channels. Publish your podcast exclusively on your website and you won't get the listens. But encouraging your audience to visit your site organically from their podcast platform is hard.
Best practice: If you do opt for podcasts, then be sure to create a clear but subtle CTA in the content. Whether that's an exclusive download, additional info, visual content aids or even merchandise.
Alternatively, 'audio-led' can mean something else entirely - such as audio chatrooms with special guests. There are fewer insights on their efficacy, but with growing apps and downloads, it's one to watch.
#3: Purpose-Led Strategy
Less of a content pillar and more of a strategic technique, underpinning your content with your social responsibility is a strong margin for driving performance, and could be one of the most powerful tactics in your book. In fact, 82% of marketers will be increasing investment into social responsibility.
ROI: We may not be talking about a specific platform or tool here, it's proven that younger consumers buy into brands which authentically demonstrate purpose. In fact, younger buyers are 4-6 times more likely to support such businesses, and do so consistently.
Best practice: Purpose-led content strategies only work if you're committed to the cause at hand, so this works best for businesses which are truly driven by a particular mission. Brand partnerships and collaborations work well here, as can hyper-personalised content. Combined, these will support customer experience (CX) and help develop loyal customers who are ready to advocate for you.
#4: Events-Led Strategy
Events are often seen as a contributor to initiatives, but in content marketing, they can be your strategy's central channel. Not only can it connect you to your buyers, but increase your potential outreach and leads.
ROI: Some findings indicate that 70% of users become loyal customers following an in-person event, while webinars with interactive features such as surveys, quizzes or real-time results are amongst the highest performing. Measuring your event as part of your content strategy also means measuring the pre- and post-promotional content too - and importantly, your business performance in the weeks immediately following your event.
Best practice: One word: accessibility. Accessibility is more than simply tapping into a remote audiences. It's a marker for inclusivity. Your event should be suitable for those with hearing or visual impairments, or alternative sensory needs to help demonstrate your drive for greater inclusion. A key best practice for great content marketing.
Don't underestimate the task at hand
A content marketing strategy is by no means inaccessible. But it can require a good deal of brain power and experience to get it just right - particularly if your objectives or pain points are more complex than others.
The benefit to internal resource is largely cost-related, but you will need dedicate most if not all of that resource to your new content marketing strategy, and without the right experience, you won't see the results you want.
If you're not ready to hire an agency partner at a high fee rate, opting to hire a freelancer to devise and deploy your content strategy could be the best route for you. The Work Crowd's network includes a range of content marketing professionals who could be the perfect solution to your 2023 strategy.