Content marketing seems to be vastly misunderstood as a traffic strategy for the small business person.
The big companies are using content marketing. Consistently. Across the board.
They are even hiring people and raising up departments to get content marketing traffic.
And it’s not just articles. They are using blog posts, slideshares, YouTube, Pinterest, their own sites, their own sister sites, and many other iterations of content marketing, to drive prospect engagement, new prospect visits, and repeat prospect visits.
But small businesses seem to have difficulty “getting it going consistently”.
I’m hoping this helps.
What is Content Marketing?
First off, what is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of using content online as a way to attract prospects to a website. Content can be written, audio, or visual.
The written content might be blog posts, articles, replies in question sites, forum participation, powerpoint presentations, and even written content on social media sites such as facebook.
Audio content might be podcasts or mp3s available for listening on the web. Visual content might be videos, pictures with diagrams, flowcharts, photographs, or drawings. And when that content is used to generate new prospects, or reactivate old prospects, to come to the intended companies’ website, that is content marketing.
The Power of Content Marketing
Content marketing can happen unintentionally and/or by accident, meaning that sometimes a company might write content like blog posts or responses on facebook to questions by prospects, and that content begins to attract other prospects to the companies’ website, without that being the intention of the company. In fact, much of the content marketing online being done today is probably unintentional.
But it is content marketing nevertheless.
But the real power of content marketing happens when a company recognizes where their visitors and prospects are finding their content, or when they realize where the prospects are looking for content online about their topic, and they begin to intentionally create content for the purpose of attracting prospects or repeat visitors to their website(s).
Once this occurs, and some standardization of the amount of new prospects or new sales come as a result of a given piece of content marketing, then the company has the opportunity to expand quickly, at the pace at which their prospect generation and sales can keep up with their content marketing.
How Can Content Marketing Help a Business?
So, how can content marketing help a business?
Here’s an example:
Imagine a company realizes that each time it posts a new blog post on its’ site, it receives 100 new visitors, which turn into 10 new subscribers, which turn into 3 new buyers who are each worth $100 in revenue.
This means that the average blog post the company produces is worth $300 in revenue.
Once this metric is established, the company can then determine what it is worth to generate that revenue. Perhaps the budget calls for a 10% “advertising” cost associated with new revenue.
At a $300 revenue point per blog post, this allows the company to invest $30 per blog post. P
art of that investment might go towards the actual writing of the article, part of that investment might go towards the maintenance or development of the blog itself, and part of that investment might go towards helping the blog post interact with the prospects online, in places where their ideal target prospects congregate.
This spread might look something like this:
- $15 – blog post writer
- $5 – development and maintenance of blog
- $10 – promotion of the blog in places where prospects congregate online
Of course this is a simply an allocation of dollars, and these potential numbers are not based on the writing of one blog post.
This might be a 1,000 blog post commitment, which might mean a $15,000 investment in writing, a $5,000 investment in the creation and upkeep of the blog (per 1,000 blog posts) and a $10,000 investment in a human or collection of humans who work cooperatively on this as a small percentage of their overall workload in the company, helping the blog posts interact with other content online in ways that get it into the places online where the companies’ prospects tend to congregate and interact.
Once these budgets are created and appear to be reasonable, the work can begin.
Of course, this is just one content interaction. For example, each blog post could be repurposed as a slide share, as the content for a youtube video, as the script for a podcast or mp3 recording, and so on. Because the initial cost of creating the words themselves (the core element of the content) has already been covered, the investment in subsequent content sourced from an original created piece of content diminishes over time.
For example, those same 1,000 articles could be repurposed into slideshares at a cost of, perhaps, $2,000, when done in-house and in an assembly-line fashion. Having someone voice-over those slideshares to create youtubes might involve an additional $3 per video, perhaps costing $3,000 for the youtubes. The audio track from the youtubes can be spun off as a podcast for an additional, let’s say, $3,000. So looking at this example, a company might be able to create 1,000 blog posts, 1,000 slideshares, 1,000 youtubes, and 1,000 podcasts for, perhaps, $38,000 per 4000 units of content, bringing the cost per actual price of content down to less than $10 per touch. When these content pieces are interacted and used together to create online momentum, the impact in terms of visitors and revenue could be multiples of the initial budgeted consideration of $30,000.
How Content Marketing is Changing the Game
Of course, these are all hypothetical numbers, and are really given only as a visual representation of the possibilities that exist when a reasonable-sized initial content marketing strategy is envisioned.
The bottom line and how content marketing is changing the game in today’s marketplace is that a strategy like the one just described is becoming more and more popular, and is being seen more often as well.
So far, what I have just shared seems to simplify content marketing. And yet, I think that’s just what the industry needs. I believe that content marketing has been over-complexified, and in so doing, has made it something that companies are possibly hesitant to do until they see measurable results. But until a genuine roll-out of content marketing is put into place in their companies, they are unlikely to see a return on investment. Content marketing is something that performs best when it is done in volume, consistently over time, with a long term commitment window.
Consider a content marketing engagement commitment of 1,000 blog posts over the course of one year. That’s approximately 4 blog posts per day, and in even a small company with 4 employees, if each employee were simply enlisted to write one (1) 500 word blog post each day, at the end of one year, there would 1,000 blog posts on your company website, or 250 blog posts on each of your companies’ 4 blogs or websites.
Then, if each blog post were converted to a powerpoint and uploaded as a slideshare, a process that takes only minutes per day per powerpoint, meaning about 10-15 minutes per day to convert all 4 blog posts into slideshares, your company would have 1,000 slideshares at the end of one year.
So far we are only talking about a 15 minute investment per employee, plus the additional 10-15 minute investment by one other person to make the conversion from blog post to slideshare.
With such small amounts of time, and knowing real-world statistics of how much time is lost each day to time management inefficiences, poor communication, and the like, this is something that could potentially be added to a small organization with no real additional cost to achieve.
How Content Marketing Drives Sales
Of course, if your company begins to see a ROI on this small level of investment, and chooses to increase to a goal of 10,000 blog posts per year, instead of 1,000, then perhaps the possibility exists to consider creating a “blog post” or “content marketing” department.
However, it might be wise, instead, to simply require each employee of the company to write one piece per day, as this keeps the pool of information as wide as possible, and gives a deeper spread of fresh information and insight.
Perhaps a department could be added to simply screen, filter, and edit the blog posts submitted by the various workers and departments, instead of having the “content marketing” department actually creating the content, but instead serving as a functionary role, implementing the publication, dissemination, and promotion of the content.
Perhaps someone in the company enjoys talking and has a decent-sounding voice (I imagine almost anyone in the company could qualify), and is perhaps under-employed in his current department. He could simply voice-over the slideshares created by the “slideshare” employee, and turn those slideshares now into youtube videos. Imagine a company with a presence of 10,000 youtube videos, all done within a one – year time span. And to generate 10,000 youtubes in one year would require 40 per day, for 250 working days per year. This is a number that could be easily voice-overed by 1-2 employees per day, and would likely create a high ROI when done correctly.
So far, you should begin to see the possibilities that might exist for YOUR company.
How to Improve a Content Marketing Strategy
Perhaps your company is small, and needs to start initially with a 1,000 blog post commitment over one year.
Or your company is larger, but not ready to commit to 10,000 blog posts each year, but instead choose to split the order, and make a goal of 5,000 blog posts.
Or maybe you are a larger company, and you know that your company already has the spare talent to create as many as 20,000 to 50,000, or even 100,000 blog posts in a year, with matching slideshares and youtubes.
And this only scratches the surface of the possibility window.
Each blog post, slideshare, or youtube could be independently promoted via social media channels, such as facebook, linkedin, or pinterest, or advertised specifically on websites that exist in your companies’ topic-space online.
With tracking and analytics installed on each content piece, ROI per blog post, slideshare, or youtube can be determined.
This allows you to then choose to re-promote profitable content pieces, for example:
- promoting profitable pieces in facebook’s PPC department,
- having youtube advertising in place which promotes your targeted videos in targeted keyword searches for your individual youtube videos, and
- other content dissemination pointing to these key pieces of profitable content,
- such as instagram,
- linkedin, and
- other social media dissemination sites.
Is Content Marketing in Your Future?
By now, you should be seeing that the possibilities are practically endless, and can be increased at as fast a pace as you can afford to expand your web footprint!
At this point, my guess is that your mind is bouncing around, excited about the possibilities with content marketing. And of course, you can start as small as you wish, and grow as fast as you wish, and become profitable at all points along the way.
Your next step is to simply get started!