When it comes to content marketing at Orbit Studios, we’re number crunchers. Data analysts. Metrics maniacs.
We love writing too. See, we firmly believe to ace content marketing you have to study both math and language arts.
So to pass both classes on this year-end exam the plan is to:
- Pick the brains of some of our favorite experts
- Present insightful content marketing quotes from them
- Summarize—or create a meaningful sum—for each idea with an equation
You’ll get the idea.
First period: Statistics
We’ve seen some encouraging statistics this year about content marketing at large. Our annual survey of business bloggers told us more bloggers are getting more positive and strong results from their efforts this year, compared to last.
The two data points on the right side of this chart indicate a 20% increase in bloggers who report strong results.
The annual B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends North America report indicates an impressive increase in B2B content marketers seeing improved success.
In B2C marketing, this year’s survey respondents checked the “much more successful” box at an even higher rate.
Second period: Journalism
For journalism class, we thought we’d scour some of the best marketing blogs, study what leading experts are saying, and compose a story featuring their insights.
Here you go my mathematically minded and linguistic loving friends: stats, equations, quotes, opinions, observations, suggestions and more from many of the finest professors in content marketing.
Why = your story
|“When people talk about their content marketing, they talk about the WHAT… the blogs, the podcasts, the videos, the events, the social posts. But the WHAT doesn’t matter if the WHY is lacking.”
“Nobody cares about your products or services. If your why is based on selling more shoes or consulting services or routers, your WHAT will have no soul. Your content will be wanting. Why you exist is not your product. Your why is the problem your product solves.” Joe Pulizzi – Content Marketing Institute post
|“We all know that any company with a website is a ‘publisher,’ but only recently have we begun to understand what that really means.
Only now are we able to glimpse how ‘publishing’ can empower marketing and marketers in more fundamental, important ways—beyond checking the box on a bunch of tactics. It can take us deeper into unmapped territory, to help us to flush out the richer story of our businesses, our purpose, our Why.” Ann Handley – AnnHandley.com post
Quality > quantity
|“A lot of marketers are under the assumption that simply creating more content than the competition will get them the results they want. I beg to differ. If Google algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin have shown us anything, it’s that quality trumps everything else.” Neil Patel – Content Marketing Institute post|
Search success = traffic
|“We’ve exhausted the idea that any content problem can be solved by just creating more content. More content can help, sure. But if that’s all you’re chasing… get ready to be exhausted and broke. You need strategy and innovative thinking if you want to get results now. And you still need SEO’s free, high-converting traffic.” Brian Sutter – Wasp Barcode Technologies – Contributed Forbes post|
|“While it may sound like what’s old is new again, there’s no denying that SEO is critical to content marketing performance. It’s how your audience will find you.” Shafqat Islam – NewsCred post|
Marketing funnel = powerful content
|“A lot of marketing funnels out there aren’t suffering from bad writing; they’re suffering from the wrong type of content. As you’ve probably heard before, “For every job, there is a tool.
The same goes for the content in your funnel. Give your funnel the best possible chance of succeeding by outfitting it with the most powerful content for every stage.” Julia McCoy – Buzzsumo post
Integrated experiences = advocacy
|“The new objective for marketing will be to evolve customers, from unaware all the way to a brand-subscribing advocate. And content-driven experiences will be the natural-selection process that moves the customer along.”
“We are seeing brands have much more success when there is a process for creating consistent and integrated experiences. And the key is that these experiences are solely designed with the purpose to create delight at every single stage of the customer journey.” Robert Rose – Chief Content Officer Magazine
Variety = advantage
|“Look at these content formats and find ways to get a competitive advantage from them. If all of your competitors are just doing blog posts and short-form and long-form articles, you might be able to win with a visual gallery. You might be able to win with an interactive piece of content or a tool, or you might be able to win with complex information visualized. That’s a powerful thing.” Rand Fishkin – Moz post and video|
|“Thoughtful content marketers experiment with different content formats in an effort to determine which resonate with their audience (or audiences). With some patience and persistence, marketers stand to increase their reach and resonance by spreading their wings across a wider mix of media.” Jay Baer – Four Ways to Fix Your Broken Content Marketing, Convince and Convert ebook|
Signature content = authority
|“Develop a signature piece of content. When you produce an authoritative work on a topic in your industry, it is a major source of credibility for your firm. You are demonstrating what is the most important criteria potential clients look for in a new firm…expertise. Think of it as a short cut to the short list.
Other forms of signature content might include a major research study that is relevant to your audience or a significant best practices guide. The key is that it has to be truly noteworthy. In other words, you must offer resources so valuable to your potential clients that they make your reputation.” Lee Frederiksen, Ph.D. – Hinge Marketing post
|“Don’t be distracted by those people that are always demanding something new. The strategy of making most of your content evergreen is powerful. It allows you to build an asset bank of content that can be constantly shared. The other upside to that is that it also attracts links as people include it in their blog posts. That builds organic search engine authority.” Jeff Bullas – JeffBullas.com post|
Collaboration = partnerships
|“Use interviews to make connections with new potential referral partners. Content can also help create new partnerships. Just find people in non-competitive businesses who work directly with your target audience and include them in your next article.” Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media post|
Content ≠ marketing only
|“Content isn’t just for marketing anymore. Today, the content you leverage in your sales process might be even more important than the content in your marketing process.
After all, the people getting your content in the sales process are already qualified, they’re actual opportunities and they’re engaged in a buyer journey. What you say to them and how you say it will make or break your chances of turning them into new customers, beating your competitors and driving revenue.” Mike Lieberman – Square2Marketing post
Retention-focused content = advocacy
|“According to Adobe, 40% of the average company’s revenue comes from current customers, yet just 2% of budget is spent on retention efforts. In 2017, smart content marketers will create more content for current customers, enhancing retention and triggering improved LTV and advocacy.
Creating content solely for new customer acquisition is a dereliction of duty for content marketers, in our estimation.” Jay Baer – Convince and Convert post
Data = relevance
|“Data is more critical than ever because users increasingly expect highly relevant experiences. Amazon, Google, Netflix and other online services have trained users to expect speed and personalized experiences. This has trained users to expect these relevant experiences.
If content marketing doesn’t grab attention immediately, it won’t be effective. Marketers have to step up their games using data to ensure that the content is relevant to the persona, and the targeting is right so the content speaks to the user’s mindset and needs.” Russell Glass, referenced in TopRank Marketing post
Accountability = business value
|“We tend to look at content as standalone assets and evaluate performance in a vacuum, cherishing those assets that perform well and discounting those that don’t. But there’s more to consider. We need to look at content metrics that reflect how well our content is at playing nicely with other content. In essence, how good it is at guiding progress—becoming a conductor for engagement and intent.” Ardath Albee, Marketing Interactions – Kapost post|
|“It’s still somewhat normal to see teams execute 50%, 60% and even 70% of their marketing activities without measuring results. We need to hold ourselves totally accountable for delivering results that businesses can value. And there’s a path to getting there.” Michael Brenner, Marketing Insider Group – Interview on Keyhole.co|
Advertising = larger audience
|“Content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Unless you already have a huge audience, you still need to use the pipes of these advertising ecosystems to target buyers and attract new audiences. You still need to market your content because it’s not just going to magically perform organically. It’s very hard to scale content marketing without paid social and search distribution.” Joe Lazauskas, Contently post|
42% of bloggers are still not using email marketing—a tactic we rely on at Orbit. Meanwhile, there is almost a 5x increase in paid content promotion since 2014.
Persistence = success
|“We all want quick fixes and wins. That’s human but short sighted. Successful content marketing demands a long game mindset. Keeping fit and training requires persistence. Building a big brand is a journey. So keep going as there is no other way. Content marketing demands persistence.” Jeff Bullas – JeffBullas.com post|
Your action-oriented summary
In 2014, Mark Schaefer warned us about content shock. He made a clear case that content marketing is not a sustainable strategy for many businesses.
In 2015, Steve Rayson of Buzzsumo crunched data from millions of posts and proved the majority of content earns very few shares and zero links.
(Of course, and maybe ironically, both of these stories enjoyed enormous success.)
Despite these sobering slaps upside the heads of content marketers everywhere, significant studies from 2016 and 2017 reflect encouraging news regarding the results content marketers have experienced.
What conclusion should you draw?
To me, central themes are simple and undeniable:
- Achieving success in content marketing requires creating GREAT content—content that’s more relevant and valuable to your prospects and more resourceful than what your competitors offer.
- Achieving success time after time requires following the advice above time after time.
Finally, achieving success perpetually requires committing to being a student of marketing, a subject that’s evolved far more in the past decade than the entire century that preceded it.
Create mind blowing content. Examine the results. And keep studying this stuff.