Effective Content Marketing – 300% Growth, But Only 5% Matters

Web Content is the Key for Better RankingsCreating Effective Content Marketing – Traffic vs. Engagement

When it comes to content marketing, media spending, ad buying, and other popular marketing tactics, finding good benchmark data that you can use to measure can be hard.

Announced at AdWeek in New York today, Beckon — the marketing performance data platform — has analyzed over $16 billion in omnichannel marketing spend and performance data to better understand what works, what doesn’t, and where to invest your budget.

The report looks at spend and performance data from hundreds of brands, and the findings show some interesting juxtapositions. The most popular tactics, it seems, are actually those that perform worst. And those tactics that do well are simply not being leveraged by a wide enough audience.

Perhaps the most surprising thing was true inaccuracy of the common perception that most companies need to be content machines, continually cranking out materials from your freelance content writers or internal marketing resources.

Many brands might be shocked to hear that while branded-content creation has grown by 300% from 2015 vs. 2016, consumer engagement with that content is totally flat. They’re investing a lot in content creation, and it’s not driving more consumer engagement.

How bad is this engagement issue?

The study found that a very small percentage of branded content, only 5%, resulted in 90% of their total engagements. The other 95% of a brand’s content typically had single digital views and likes.

That is a big-deal number. Web content marketing has seen such an explosion in popularity these last couple years, and the “Content is King” movement has become so ubiquitous it’s verging on a meme. It’s been simply assumed by most that content marketing is effective, as it’s become so popular in the marketing landscape, that it’s been assumed as a worthwhile pursuit and investment for most companies and their leadership. Does this disprove the theory?

Publishing many variations of content may make sense if you’re pursuing highly targeted marketing, only serving targeted content to a targeted subset, the study concluded.

But we’re pretty sure fans of targeting and program variations would say they’re investing in all those already. So the real goal is to increase effectiveness overall, not keep it flat.

So how do you make sure that engagement is always increasing among your visitors and prospects?

The study found that low-quality content seems to be a primary cause of flat engagement. You need to provide a true “value-add” to what you are writing. You can have unique content by Google standards that will generate extra traffic, but if it’s just so-so that simply isn’t going to cut it. You get no credit for content that doesn’t generate engagement. Being in the top 5% is the goal.

So the answer would seem to be to avoid “me too” content at all costs. Original, well-conceived content will continue to perform well.

SEO vs. Engagement with Your Web Content – Choose Both

There have been many times in the past (and present) when SEOs have focused so much on traffic, and traffic alone, that engagement suffers. But that metric means little without converting the visitor into a customer or getting them to take whatever other action that is desired.

In reality, most site owners will more than gladly trade lower traffic numbers for much higher conversion rates. And with really high-quality and strategic content, thankfully they don’t have to choose between the two. With very well-written and conceived content, you can attract ever-increasing numbers of visitors AND increase your content effectiveness and the conversion rate at the same time.

Brands need to ensure that the content quality and consistency is the primary goal, in addition to all of the necessary and beneficial SEO best practices in place. Cranking out content just because you can will result in higher traffic, for sure. But the bottom line is – you shouldn’t create content faster than you can do it well. It’s far better for engagement.  And be sure to measure its effectiveness as your KPI for content teams – not the volume of content published, because what gets measured gets done and the volume of content is NOT what’s important here.

This drive to create brand content despite poor returns is interesting because there is an entire industry that revolves around promoting content marketing (which I am a part of) as the Holy Grail of tactics. Given how much brands are spending on content creation, this can a very worrisome stat, as it should be.

Are You Just Writing Content Because That’s What You’re “Supposed” To Be Doing?

This drive to create brand content despite poor returns is interesting because there is an entire industry that revolves around promoting content marketing (which I am a part of) as the Holy Grail of tactics. Given how much brands are spending on content creation, this can a very worrisome stat, as it should be.

As a freelance content writer and web writing service myself, the last thing that I would want to do is rain on everyone’s parade regarding web content development and marketing. Content is truly King, as has become the saying. It works, I’ve seen it many times in my business.

But what does this statistic really mean then?

Well, it means the effectiveness of web content strategy and marketing needs to be a focus to truly see good results. All of the most popular marketing vehicles eventually get to this point where everyone is aware of the strategy and “on board” with it, because they have a somewhat ambiguous knowledge they should be doing so.

But writing content because “it’s just what you do these days” is a major step for ineffective content this really isn’t going to move the needle on your online marketing efforts.

They understand it’s important, and that’s the first necessary part of course. But not truly on WHY content works. It has to be great. It has to contain some real thought; it has to have unique angles and data, well-conceived arguments or insight that is valuable enough to that reader that they think to themselves, “Wow, these guys really know what they are talking about. I trust to do business with them or engage with them.”

Remember, purchase decisions, and actually all decision making in general, is first based upon emotion and then the logic comes in after to fully justify what has just occurred.

Great content addresses both of these critical elements. The trust and confidence you build with visitors – and sincere appreciation for not cluttering up their already limited span of attention available with even more inconsequential things, and instead providing something of real value – can often be the difference between choosing the Sign Up, Get Your Quote Today or Buy Now button vs. simply passing thru, on their way on to the next stop on their journey.

Then as they move forward in their relationship with you – which is constantly being re-evaluated, btw – this high standard you are achieving is what keeps this customer, who’ve you fought so hard to obtain in the first place, from moving your shiny e-newsletter to the Spam folder after all, but continue to engage with you. Or to continue following you and growing their connection to you via social media, and sharing your content.

In other words, quality counts here. Big time. And there are no short cuts to great writing.

Yes, some of the strategies you will hear from SEO and content professionals such as re-purposing old marketing material and online articles, etc. is still very true. But that’s just the very beginning. You must put this fodder into the hands of someone who really knows about writing effective web content, from both an SEO AND engagement standpoint, to get the results you want for your business.

I am a full service write content writer and strategist that has experienced success with clients over a wide range of fields and industries, both B2B and B2C, and I focus on getting results with content writing, not just creating a never-ending flow of information that never actually converts.

I know what works and what doesn’t. Please contact me to learn more writing effective content and how I can assist you should you have the need.

You know you must have a content strategy in 2016, and that you have to spend the resources needed to so. So you should enure that you are truly makes the most of an investment you already know you need to make, and do it right.

Call (314) 494-3494 or reach me via jhaynes@bestonlinewriter.com and let’s start the conversation that actually makes your content strategy succeed.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment