Editor’s note: Because proving the value of content marketing continues to be necessary, Julia McCoy updated her 2016 post with some fresh stats and perspective.
Content marketing has been moving at the speed of light in recent years.
Consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising and sales tactics that feel cheap, slimy, or underhanded. Instead, they’re attracted to authenticity, transparency, and friendliness in a brand.
The advent of the internet and social media has a lot to do with this. These channels help consumers pick and choose exactly which brands they interact with. If people don’t want to see your ads, they’ll click away – it’s as simple as that.Consumers are fed up w/ in-your-face advertising & sales tactics that feel slimy. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
As such, marketers have discovered that they need to approach the consumer differently. We can’t serve up the same old ads anymore and expect results similar to 30 or 40 years ago. Instead, we must add value to consumers’ lives to make them want to give us the time of day.
Hence, the fundamentals behind content marketing – relationship-building, focusing on the customer versus the brand – were born in response.
This approach – oh boy, does it work.
For some excellent proof, let these nine statistics do the rest of the talking. They really do speak for themselves. Prepare to persuade.
1. Pit content marketing against paid search, and content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent.
Paid search has been touted as the be-all, end-all for cost-effectiveness. However, a recent study by Kapost (in collaboration with Eloqua) proves the opposite.
When the two are pitted against each other, content marketing has both lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits.#Contentmarketing has lower up-front costs & deeper long-term benefits than paid search, says @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet
As time goes on, content marketing builds its own momentum – no extra dollars required. Meanwhile, paid search needs a continual cash flow to keep getting results.
2. Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
That’s right. Content marketing is not only cheaper than outbound marketing; it also generates more leads.#Contentmarketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing & generates 3x as many leads, says @demandmetric. Click To Tweet
Outbound marketing is the old way of doing business. Outbound marketing consists mainly of promotional messages that try to tell consumers how great a brand, product, or service is. These ads are served to consumers whether they want to see them or not. These ads are pushy, interruptive, and intrusive.
Turns out, people today generally don’t respond to this type of product-pushing. That’s because there are other ways to engage with brands – better ways (*cough* content marketing *cough*).
3. In 1984, a person saw an average 2,000 ads/day. By 2014, they saw around 5,000.
Two words: Ad. Overload.
How are people dealing with this overload, where they’re bombarded with ads daily?
Two more words: Ad blockers. More than 615 million devices now have ad-blocking software, according to PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report.615 million devices now use #adblock via new @PageFair report. Read more >> Click To Tweet
In the face of consumers pelted with ads day in and day out, content marketing swoops in like a breath of fresh air. It provides value for their lives, isn’t intrusive, and aims to be helpful above promotional (*insert praise-hands emoji here*).
4. Almost half of 18- to 49-year-old people get their news and information online – and those numbers are growing.
A 2016 Pew Research Center study shows that people are regularly turning away from TV as the main source of their news and information. Instead, they’re logging onto the internet.Almost half of 18-49 year-old people get their news & information online. @pewresearch Read more >> Click To Tweet
If you’re like The Little Mermaid and want to be where the people are, your brand marketing needs to be online. The best way to go about it, the way that people overwhelmingly prefer? Content marketing.
Social media, blogs, and search engines – these places are where you’ll find users who want to get informed. These channels also happen to be where content marketing does most of its work (and works its magic).
5. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
A whopping 77% of internet users read blogs. Combine that stat with the fact that small businesses with blogs see more lead growth. Now you’re onto something.Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. @impactbnd Click To Tweet
Regular blogging is a go-to content marketing strategy for a reason – it works.
6. After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase.
Content marketing builds trust in a way that no other method can match. Building trust over time means consumers pay attention and listen to your brand’s voice.61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. @impactbnd @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
That is incredibly, ridiculously powerful. It’s subtly persuasive without being in your face. It’s built on transparency and a down-to-earth approach. It’s content marketing.
7. Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
Traditional marketing is starting to look a little sad at this point, but let’s keep going. Content marketing, among all the other benefits, also drives higher conversions. In fact, it has six times the power of traditional marketing for converting people into leads and leads into customers.#Contentmarketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods via @ABGEssentials. Click To Tweet
Content marketing may require more time, patience, and effort over the long haul, but the rewards are far greater.
8. The most effective SEO technique? Content creation.
Populating websites with blog content is how you end up with 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content.Websites w/blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those that don’t publish. @TechClient Click To Tweet
The result of content creation: You have lots of little pathways sprinkled over the internet that lead back to your site. And, the more content you create around topics relevant to your audience, the better your chances of boosting traffic from search and nabbing conversions.
9. Businesses publishing 16-plus posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than businesses publishing zero to four articlesPublishing 16+ blog posts a month brings 3.5x more traffic than publishing 0 to 4 articles via @HubSpot. Click To Tweet
You want leads? Guess what.
Does it need saying? Even if it doesn’t bear repeating, here you go. One more time for the people in the back: Content marketing, content creation, and blogging lead to leads. Lots of leads.
It takes an investment, but the returns are real.
Bottom line: Skilled, consistent content marketing works
Content marketing is the present and future of marketing. It’s efficient, compelling, and subtly persuasive. It also can be less expensive. Best of all, it works, as these nine statistics prove beyond a doubt.
Of course, like any strategy, content marketing requires skill, persistence, and consistency to work.
This is perhaps the No. 1 secret to getting results like those outlined. You have to work for it. But, oh, is it worth it.
Want more stats to support your content marketing strategy (or to inform potential improvements), check out CMI’s latest research. Subscribe today and be alerted when the 2018 B2C content marketing research is released later this year.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute