The internet has made it possible for people to find the answers to every question they could possibly have with just a tap of their keyboard. At no point has information been more accessible than it is now. Truth is, this is how content marketing is changing the game for savvy marketers who take advantage of people’s demand for knowledge.
So how is content marketing changing the game? It is about sharing information. Information that is not only useful to the reader but may ever so subtly prod people toward certain products and services. Proper content marketing isn’t about directly advertising.
When content marketing is done well, many people aren’t even aware that they’re being marketed to.
Fact is, modern content marketing techniques have been proven to be more effective than any other marketing technique. Content marketing can generate more hot leads at a lower price. Any business that wants to see a huge increase in sales needs to invest in content marketing.
While content marketing isn’t necessarily something new (types of content marketing have been happening for centuries), it is only recently that content marketing has become the centerpiece of every digital marketing strategy. It really is changing the game.
Let’s dive into how content marketing is changing the game, and why it’s such a powerful tool in the marketing arsenal of any business.
What is Content Marketing?
When most people think of marketing, they think of snazzy ads that scream “buy something,” whether these ads are on TV, online, or sent through the mail. Content marketing is different. Content marketing isn’t about directly promoting a product, service, or brand. It is about sharing information with the world. Sharing useful information. It’s still marketing, but most people aren’t even aware that it is marketing.
Content marketing can be approached in a ton of different ways. Read the blog of a business? That’s content marketing. Watched how-to videos from a company? Content marketing. Downloaded an eBook or watched a webinar? Yep, you guessed it. Content marketing. It is literally just sharing content for free.
We aren’t really here to talk about what content marketing is, though. Our aim is to tell you how content marketing is changing the game. So let’s dive into the details.
How Content Marketing is Changing the Game
Stats suggest that around 70% of companies actively marketing themselves are investing in content marketing. One study suggested that as much as 26% of the marketing budgets of some of the world’s largest firms is invested in content marketing. Why? Because content marketing is the future. This is how content marketing is changing the game for savvy businesses.
Simply put, content marketing has been shown to improve sales massively. Let’s look at the reasons why.
People Want Information
Sure, people head online for a bit of mindless fun. Whether it be interacting with their friends and family on Facebook or debating some hotly contested topic on Reddit or Twitter. However, we are positive that everybody, at least once, has used the internet to find out the answers to certain questions.
They may want to learn how to do something around the house, discover products that may be beneficial to them, or perhaps work out how to solve a major issue they are having in their life.
Marketers can use this demand for information to their advantage. Content marketing involves producing content that can provide advice and guidance to people.
Content marketing puts information out there that people find useful, and that they feel answers any questions that they may have. The hope is that:
- A person becomes more educated about a product or service, hopefully turning them into a lead or conversion.
- A person genuinely feels as if they have been helped by a business, which can help the brand (what brand doesn’t want to be seen as helpful?).
Stats show that content marketing is helping with purchasing decisions. In the B2B sector, studies have indicated that around 60% of people will read through multiple pages of information related to a product or service before they make their purchase, i.e. read guides to make sure they are buying the right product, or to check a company is good at what they do. This figure probably isn’t too dissimilar in B2C.
This is probably the main way that content marketing is changing the game. Marketing has become less about directly advertising products and services, and more about information sharing.
More Leads at Lower Price
We won’t beat around the bush. Marketing is all about generating sales. So, yeah, even though content marketing is dressed up as sharing useful information with people, the ultimate goal is to see an improvement in a company’s bottom line.
Businesses wouldn’t bother with content marketing otherwise. Luckily, content marketing has been proven to be highly effective here. Far more effective than other marketing techniques.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that content marketing generates up to 300% more leads than traditional marketing methods. The cost per lead works out to be 40-70% cheaper too. It’s so effective that pretty much every business increases its content marketing budget each year.
In fact, in 2023, businesses are spending more on content marketing than ever before. Almost 73% of businesses are spending at least $1,000 on content marketing a month, with the larger businesses spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. They wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t effective.
Now, this doesn’t mean that traditional marketing methods need to be thrown out the window. There is always going to be a place for ‘in your face’ advertising. However, the fact that content marketing is generating so many leads at such a low price does mean that the attention of marketers has changed.
A few decades ago, it would have been completely unfathomable to give away tons of information for free (it did happen, just not as much). In the internet age? It is an absolute necessity to make the biggest number of sales.
Boosts to Search Engine Positions
When search engines first appeared on the scene, it was fairly easy to get ranked. Well, at least in comparison to today. You didn’t really have to put together a useful website. You could stuff a site with keywords and gain at least some traction for certain searches.
That’s now, quite rightly, gone out the window. Search engines want their search results to be useful. They want to rank websites based on the quality of information, site reputation, etc. This is another area where content marketing has changed the game.
It doesn’t matter what your business is, almost all of your traffic is going to come from the search engines. About 93% of all web traffic comes from search engines. A pretty sizable figure, hence why it is so important to rank in the search engines.
In fact, SEO is where a good chunk of a company’s marketing budget will be spent. Of course, to even stand a chance of getting ranked in searches, you need to be actively engaged in content marketing. A business needs to be producing quality content for their sites, and then sharing it everywhere.
Companies are now producing more information than ever before (thank content marketing for that). Business websites are no longer just ‘selling’ products and services, they have become massive information hubs.
Most major businesses are actively maintaining blogs, or something blog-like. This is because this form of content marketing has been proven to increase traffic from search engines.
More traffic means more potential to generate more leads. The only other way to increase traffic from search engines is to invest in PPC advertising, and that can get pretty expensive. The lower cost to gain more exposure across the web is just another example of how content marketing is changing the game.
Brands are important. When a person develops trust in a brand, they are much more likely to make a purchase from them. This is why companies spend heavily on branding. It is why businesses spend so much time ensuring that their brand values are communicated not only to their staff but also to potential customers. A brand is the most important thing any business can have.
Content marketing has changed the game when it comes to branding. It is now easier than ever before to develop trust in a brand. A few useful blog posts, videos, or interactions on social media can go a long way toward strengthening a brand.
It makes sense, really. If a business is sharing a ton of posts on certain subjects, readers will start to realize that the business knows what they are talking about. They will start to feel that the business cares about the customer (why else would they be sharing knowledge for free?), and this trust can lead to sales.
It may not lead to a sale right away, but it does help the brand stick in the mind a little bit longer, hopefully leading to sales in the future.
Content marketing really has been a massive game changer for branding. A couple of decades ago, companies would be spending a ton of cash trying to ensure that people know about their brand and its values. Nowadays? A brand can gain some goodwill by producing and sharing some quality information.
Useful Content Gets Shared
It is incredibly rare that people share adverts. Yes. It happens, but not often. Quality content that results from content marketing? Happens all the time. You have probably done it yourself. Just another example of how content marketing is changing the game.
People stumble across useful articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts all the time. They share them with their coworkers and friends. This leads to more eyes on the content and potentially more sales.
This is how content marketing is changing the game here. If a business can create useful content, then people will market on their behalf. We’ve seen it happen. You’ve probably seen it happen. A good quality article goes viral for a company, and suddenly they have tons and tons of sales.
Truth is, you would never get that with traditional advertising.
Businesses Need to Invest in Content Marketing
This is just scratching the surface of how content marketing is changing the game. It genuinely is now the most effective form of marketing for any business. When implemented properly, content marketing can strengthen brands and generate leads in a way that no other method of marketing can even come close to.
If a business wants to succeed in the information age, it needs to invest in content marketing. If they don’t, their competitors will leave them in the dust.
Final Thoughts: How Content Marketing is Changing the Game
Content marketing is changing how businesses reach customers in a powerful way. People always seek knowledge and conversations, especially online. By producing content that readers find useful, interesting and helpful, businesses can make it easier for customers to find them and their products with less effort.
It also builds trust with its audience as people are more likely to buy from a source they know and one that has already provided them with useful content. The power of content marketing is not to be underestimated – it provides an opportunity for businesses to reach millions in unique ways and level the playing field when competing against larger companies.
Content marketing continues to evolve and marketers must continuously develop new strategies and approaches if they are to remain successful. So let’s not forget, content really is king!
Chris Henneghan is one of Schubert’s longest-standing employees, starting with the agency in 1987. She now serves as Senior Vice President and Brand Strategist. Chris is a Notre Dame grad and enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and reading.
Learn more about Chris