What could the Pyramid of Giza possibly have to do with a blog post about content marketing? Much like the long-lasting pyramid – the only one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world still intact – content, when done right, can continue to attract and engage people long after it’s been built. For some quick proof, take a look to your right in our most popular posts section. Many of these posts were written 2 or 3 years ago or more, yet they continue to be some of our largest drivers of qualified traffic to this blog.
Why does this matter? Let’s contrast content with advertisements. Ads – whether traditional or digital – require an investment in developing creative, and then a follow-on high dollar investment in buying media space (print, digital, broadcast, etc.) so that your creative is seen over and over again. For a long time, this was the best way to reach people, often because marketers didn’t have much of a choice. Publishing was expensive – beyond the cost to create content there was still the media (printing a magazine, buying blocks of airtime, etc.) to get your message in front of your prospects, and it was far easier to purchase small pieces of that than to try to carry the whole freight yourself. There are notable exceptions, like John Deere’s “The Furrow” print magazine series in 1895 (more from the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi in a great video here), but for the most part, with the cost of publishing so high, advertising was the preferred way to reach customers.
As in so many areas, the rise of the internet served as a disruptor. Over the past two decades, the cost of publishing has been dramatically reduced along with marketers’ reliance on purchased media as the primary method to attract new customers. The eradication of these barriers means that companies are able to invest efficiently in content. Even traditional publishing costs have come down significantly with digital printing and print-on-demand options lowering costs.
Brands are becoming publishers – it’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again, and it’s the truth. Content Marketing budgets are increasing, and often at the expense of ad budgets. Marketo’s Content Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising infographic bears this out:
Even venerable brand advertisers like Coca-Cola are getting on board, betting the farm on content marketing with their Content 2020 initiative.
An ad typically expires the moment your airtime is up, whereas a well-crafted piece of content has staying power. Mike described the typical path of a quality piece of content in his post Don’t Let the Social Media Tail Wag the Content Marketing Dog.
- I write a blog post. In the first seven days, it turns into 1,000 new visitors to the blog, and 250 new visitors to the corporate website. There’s a measurable return there.
- That same blog post achieves a top 10 ranking on a long-tail search term on Google, Yahoo and Bing after 30-40 days. It turns into 5,000 new visitors to the blog over a year-long period, and 1,250 visitors to the corporate website. There’s a measurable return there.
- That same blog post generates 50 comments from readers, most of whom are not connections of mine. That’s community and audience-building. There’s a measurable return there.
- I send that same blog post out in a monthly client email newsletter, it generates 150 clicks over to the post, and it spurs two clients to inquire about additional services. There’s a measurable return there.
- I email that same blog post to five prospective clients rather than sending the typical “Just wanted to check in on status” email. Two of the five respond, and one ends up re-engaged within two weeks. That’s real lead nurturing, and there’s a measurable return there.
- That same blog post is retweeted 26 times, dugg 22 times, liked 18 times, and stumbled upon 34 times over a 60-day period. (Did you think I was going to leave out social media?) There’s some measurable return there.
- 128 days after publishing the same blog post, a lead form arrives in the inbox, and reads as follows, “Just finished reading your post. We’re struggling with this exact issue right now, and it sounds like you might be the type of folks that can help. Can we chat about your services sometime in the next few days?”
- 138 days after publishing the same blog post, that lead turns into a new client, and a very good one at that. Think there’s a measurable return there
That’s the path of one single blog post or piece of content. It impacted SEO. It impacted social media. It impacted existing sales cycles. It created new sales cycles. It created a new client.
Now imagine the impact of 50 of those. Or 100 of those. Or…you get the point.
Good, well-distributed content never sleeps, rarely expires, and is always engaging.
Like the Pyramids, well-marketed smart content is left standing and continues to draw and engage long after the other “wonders” of its time.
Get both easy-to-digest tips and more detailed content marketing approaches from Right Source and other industry experts in our free content marketing eBook: How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.
Learn even more about creating a successful content marketing approach in the webcast: What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come?
And of course, feel free to drop a comment below or contact me directly with your questions or challenges.