For businesses hoping to remain competitive, it’s not a question of whether to produce content — it’s a matter of how much and what kind.
Today, marketers see content marketing as an essential tactic for reaching customers, raising brand awareness, and ultimately, increasing revenue.
That’s a rapid shift from just 10 years ago, when content marketing was still a relatively new trend. Now, producing the right content for their audiences is essential for businesses looking to compete and differentiate online.
A new report from The Manifest offers some insight into just how important content marketing has become and what top marketers are doing right.
More Than Half of Businesses Invest in Content Marketing
In 2018, 53 percent of businesses invest time and money in content marketing. That number is up from 36 percent just two years ago, and it’s only expected to increase.
What’s behind this rapid growth? There are a few compelling reasons that have businesses jumping aboard. Companies like LendEDU, an online student loan and personal finance marketplace, have seen a number of benefits, including:
- Building brand awareness — Content marketing helps companies reach a wider range of consumers with relevant, high-quality content.
- Establishing thought leadership — As a result of its content, LendEDU has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, among others.
- Driving traffic — More backlinks to your content online means more traffic to your website.
- Improving SEO rankings — Creating valuable content that answers questions people are searching for helps your website appear higher in search results.
Content marketing also improves your website overall, helping to ensure that people stick around longer once they land on it, and ideally, pushing them down the funnel toward becoming a customer.
Marketers Aim to Publish Better Content, More Often
Of the businesses that invest in content marketing, 51 percent publish content daily, 31 percent publish weekly, and just 2 percent publish less than monthly. For companies with more than 5,000 employees, the number that publishes daily jumps to nearly two-thirds (62 percent).
Of course, not everyone has the bandwidth for daily content, so marketers with fewer resources should focus on quality over quantity.
For example, small business owner James Pollard of The Advisor Coach says he publishes weekly but sets aside an hour every day to work on content. “Nothing has helped me more than disciplining myself every single day to create good content,” Pollard said.
Video Content Comes Out on Top
As content marketing has grown in popularity, the types of content businesses are producing has evolved too. Today, content is about much more than written blog posts — marketers are overwhelmingly turning to visual mediums like video to reach and engage new audiences.
The Manifest’s research found that video content ranked first, with nearly three-quarters of marketers producing them. When you look at the sheer volume of people who watch videos online, that’s not too surprising. Another big reason for that is consumers aren’t just looking for information — they also want to be entertained.
Said Victor Blasco, owner and CEO of Yum Yum Videos, a video content company, “With video content, you can educate, entertain, and communicate a product and your company’s values and culture. … Even when you are looking for information and data, you want to be entertained.”
Two Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts
Marketers agree: If you want to take your content marketing efforts to the next level, publishing more original content and making content more visual are the two areas to focus on.
These two goals tied for first in The Manifest’s survey, with 22 percent of marketers identifying them as priorities going forward. Here’s why you should too:
In an online world full of distractions, visual content can help grab people’s attention in a way that written content can’t. As Catty Berragan of social media marketing agency Social Chain said:
“Humans are innately visual creatures, so highly visual content helps create an emotional connection with the reader. … Every time we post or share a piece of content, we’re competing for the attention of our readers in an extremely oversaturated, cluttered space. Using images or videos in your content marketing will provide you with extra real estate to capture that elusive attention.”
Publishing more often can also help you differentiate your business from the competition and establish yourself as a thought leader, even in a crowded space. For example, as a travel agency, Nanak Flights has the challenge of competing with many other travel sites and blogs.
The company focused on putting its own unique spin on everything it produces, even when the topic isn’t completely original. According to Nanak Flights CEO Rishi Kapoor, adding original content to your website has benefits for both building brand awareness with readers and improving SEO.
“The more you produce,” said Kapoor, “the more you solidify yourself as a leader in your sector.”
As more companies invest in content marketing, businesses that don’t want to be left behind may be wise to follow suit. If you’re just getting started, focus on producing relevant, high-quality content once a week, or even less often, and build on that as you go. Prioritize visual content, by breaking up text-heavy blog posts with images and experimenting with video content.
Once your content marketing efforts are in place, you can focus on publishing more frequently, adding more visual components, and continuing to grow and optimize based on what works for your audience and your business.