Should you use content marketing, and how to do it effectively?

Should you take content marketing seriously? Which type of content is most popular among marketers? How can you effectively organise content creation and distribution in your business? I will answer all these questions below.

Content marketing vs. traditional marketing

Is content marketing as effective as traditional marketing that we should take it seriously?    

It seems that we should. According to Demand Metric Research, content marketing costs 62% less and generates three times more leads than traditional marketing.

So it appears that creating high-quality content and sharing it with a target audience is one of the best ways for a business to build awareness, trust and authority in the marketplace, leading to new customers.

But since there are many types of content, how do we know what to focus on? We need to remember that each type of content is most useful for a particular business model. But let’s draw on the experience of other businesses and find out which type of content they prefer the most?

According to studies by the Content Marketing Institute, blog posts and short articles of less than 3,000 words are the most popular type of content. About 83% of B2C businesses and 90% of B2B businesses use them.

Despite its advantages and popularity, let’s try to look at content marketing from different angles and uncover what challenges businesses face when trying to implement content creation and distribution strategies for their audiences.

According to the SemRush survey, one of the main challenges for businesses is allocating enough time and resources for their marketing efforts. About 64% of the respondents agreed. Unfortunately, since we are not familiar with the circumstances in the respondents’ companies, we don’t know how much time and other resources they have available for their content marketing activities. But we can suppose that if they knew how to use their resources for content marketing more effectively, the number of successful cases would be higher.

However, it seems that even if the company is able to allocate sufficient resources, there is another challenge that prevents them from using content marketing as a strategic channel for lead generation. According to another survey by the Content Marketing Institute, about 68% of medium and large companies (with 50+ workers) don’t know how to implement content creation and distribution activities because they lack the necessary processes.

At this stage, it would seem we have come to the point that the majority of businesses would attract more customers if they understood what the marketing content creation and distribution process is all about and how to use it as effectively as possible. 

I don’t claim that the content creation process we implement for our customers is the best in the world, but I can honestly attest that implementing it has saved our customers and us a lot of time, and I believe it will save you a lot of time as well.

Content creation and distribution process

In general, content marketing consists of two main stages: creating a content marketing strategy and implementing it.

During stage one, you must try to create your customer’s profile, imagine their customer journey, devise content that would be useful to them and figure out the best medium to promote it. I won’t describe this process in detail because the guys at Hubspot described it very well here, I think.

Instead, I will focus on the implementation of the content marketing strategy. I will use the process of creating and distributing a blog article as an example because, as we have seen before, this is the most popular type of content that businesses prefer to use. But it’s important to mention that you can adopt this process for almost all types of content. 

So, once your strategy and a list of topics you are going to write about are ready, it’s time to create a blog post or article. To do this, we follow these steps:

  1. Review the list of topics that you think will be useful to your audience. 
  2. Analyze each topic for keywords it could contain. It’s vital to know how many visitors you can potentially attract once your audience finds your article on Google, your blog, in their mailbox or on social media platforms. I usually pay close attention to the monthly number of requests and the difficulty rate of each keyword. I use SemRush for this purpose.
  3. Select a topic with the best keywords group. Once you have grouped keywords and topics together, it makes sense to select the topic where the number of requests vs keyword difficulty is optimal. Also, you can decide whether it’s better to include all the keywords from a group in one long article or distribute them across a few smaller ones.
  4. Create requirements for an article or blog post. Think about what title, structure and main ideas your article will have and how the keywords you chose earlier would organically fit into it. It’s helpful to check the top 3-5 competitors in Google search results for inspiration.
  5. Write your copy. Now it’s time to take everything you’ve learned so far and turn it into a text. 
  6. Check your text for orthographic errors. I’m sure you are a literate person, but we all have some blind spots. So, it’s better to find a proofreader and send them the text for checking, just to be sure.
  7. Create and add graphics to the text. Does your text contain any graphic elements? Usually, it’s better to add some. It will help your readers visualise and understand your thoughts better. If you don’t have graphic design skills, you can outsource the task to a designer. It’s easy to find one on some freelancing platforms. Personally, I prefer to use UpWork.
  8. Add links. Would you like to add some links to other pages of your website or third-party pages or videos? Adding links is good because it makes the information you provide more credible and increases readers’ interaction with your article, which is beneficial for Google rankings.
  9. Check the SEO quality of the article. To increase your article’s ranking, you need to make sure that all its elements are optimised for search engines. If your blog is built on WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to check your optimisation level. Otherwise, you can do it manually or get an SEO professional to do it for you. 
  10. Publish the article. You’ve done so much to make this moment happen. Your article is ready, and now it’s time to show it to the world. So, let’s publish it.
  11. Promote your content. I assume that once your article is published, you will want to share it with as many people as possible in the hope of increased lead acquisition. I used to do this manually, which meant posting my content on social media pages, including various specialised groups, boosting it there or pasting links to it on other websites and forums like Quora, Reddit and so on. This process takes a lot of time, which is why I now use an automated solution like Quuu Promote.
  12. Measure the article’s efficiency. Since the main goal of any article is to engage readers and convert them into leads for as few resources as possible, it’s time to measure its effectiveness. First, you can measure the number of impressions, reactions and shares. On a deeper level, you can use Google Analytics to track the article’s conversion rate in general and on a particular medium by adding UTM markers into the URL. From a financial point of view, you can record how much money you paid to freelancers who helped you create the article and check how much of your time you spent creating the article. Now multiply the number of hours you spent by your hourly rate, and you will know how much money you actually spent on that particular piece of content. Read ‘Which Tasks Should You Delegate First’ to find out your hourly rate, if you don’t already know it.

Looking at the entire process, it’s not surprising why many businesses find it time and resource consuming to keep at it constantly. But there are a few ways to optimise the process.

Doing blog content creation more efficiently

If we can’t shortcut the steps I mentioned above, we can delegate them to others. There are two levels of such delegation: 

  1. Involving only profile specialists in the process;
  2. Involving profile specialists and a content manager in the process.
Involving profile specialists

Deciding to delegate some tasks of the blog content creation process to profile specialists can free up a lot of time for a business. So let’s do it and look at the same process again.

As you can see, we have separated a process into different roles. Now each row of the diagram shows the responsibilities of a particular specialist, the responsibilities of a business owner/manager are in the red frame. To download the diagram in good resolution click here.

So, SEO analysis can be performed by an SEO specialist, text can be written by a copywriter according to your requirements and images can be created by a graphic designer. Not bad. We have just delegated five more tasks and can spend this freed-up time on other important things. Of course, it’s still our responsibility to check the results we get from others, but it would take much less time than doing everything ourselves from scratch. 

But there is a deeper level of delegation that we will use by adding a content manager to the process.

Involving profile specialists and a content manager

Since the main responsibility of a content manager is to organise the entire content creation process, let’s see which of the tasks we can delegate to them?

As you can see, adding a content manager dramatically changes the process. Now, almost all the steps are delegated to a content manager. All the business owner/manager has to do is monitor the process at the particular stages and intervene if necessary, their responsibilities are in the red frame. To download the diagram in good resolution click here.

That onerous blog content creation process that seemed time-consuming in the beginning has been transformed into an almost automated process with minimal time investment from business management. And it means they can now invest their time in business development, for example.

But does this mean that once you find a copywriter, graphic designer or content manager, you immediately free up your time? No, because every business has its own specifics, and any new professional who joins your team will need some time to catch on to your management style. And the less you have documented, the more time they will need to onboard. Sometimes, if standards and processes are not documented, an onboarding process can take up to six months. So, it’s better to have a documented structure beforehand.

I hope you now see what a game-changer it can be for a business when it involves profile specialists and a content manager in the process. So, you might want to save this idea for the moment when you start implementing this content management process in your business.

If you think that moment has already arrived but you still need some help with the implementation, book a preliminary call with us. Me or one of my teammates will help you to steer the process in the right direction.

It’s obvious to me that business development and strategy are the fields where every business owner should strive to increase their personal effectiveness within their business, and even these fields are not the end of their journey. Read ‘Are you a mechanic, driver or passenger in your business?’ to gain an understanding of the entire journey that business owners usually go through, to find out at what stage of the journey are you now?

Thank you for the time you have spent reading this article. I hope it was helpful to you, and will also be beneficial to your friends. So, share it if you like it!

Kyrylo Bezrukov Epracer’s founder

 

 

 

 

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