While most companies are finally doing content marketing, it’s no secret that some companies don’t see the full value of content marketing. Because they’re not doing it strategically. What is the most common result of the nonstrategic approach? Content quality is sacrificed for production volume.
You’ll also hear companies lament the price of content marketing. They think, a couple grand for one (legitimately good) blog post? Pass. I’ll go grab that self-described “social media expert” from Upwork who says he can create $150 blog posts instead.
Here’s the reality. No smart business person would complain about the cost of content if they realized that, oftentimes, it only takes one piece of well-crafted, data-driven content to drive more revenue than hiring another body on the sales team.
You don’t have to believe us just because we’ve said it. And you shouldn’t. Instead, we’ll show you how a single article on our site has resulted in approximately $500,000 — and counting — in recognized revenue. Not leads. Not opportunities. Cash in the bank.
This piece was first published in January 2019 and refreshed in May 2020. So all of the success this blog post has seen has been in just over two years. Imagine what the next two — or 10 — will bring.
Want these results for your company? It’s time to change your approach to content marketing.
Stop Focusing on Content Volume
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you there’s a magic number of pieces you need to produce per month or year to find content marketing success. Unfortunately, this rhetoric has led to an emphasis on content volume over content quality.
If you genuinely (and be honest with yourself) have the bandwidth to create a lot of truly exceptional content, then good for you. Carry on. The problem is that most companies end up sacrificing quality for quantity.
In reality, you’d get better results if you focused on creating and perfecting a dozen pieces of content than if you cranked out twice as many mediocre pieces. Why? Because, more than likely, only a handful of your very best pieces will actually generate business results. The others (again, be honest with yourself!) are just part of the content glut, represented by 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day.
Here’s an example. One of our clients sees a mere 3% of their content deliver 80% of their content-related conversions. But those conversions number in the tens of thousands.
Here’s another. That single article on outsourced marketing that’s yielded about $500,000 in revenue? Included in that number is a $120,000 job we recently landed from a conversion on that post.
That’s the power of one well-done article. Do you think we would’ve seen the same results from 10 crappy, or even average, pieces?
Expert Writing Needs Top-Notch SEO, Too
It’s no longer enough to create original, topical content without considering the science side of content, namely SEO. And vice versa.
Again, you don’t need a ton of content right away, but you do need to ensure the content you are creating balances the science and art of writing.
Too many firms either focus on the art part (the sound and quality of the words on the page) or the science part (keywords, technical SEO, distribution). That’s the wrong approach. A keyword-stuffed mess won’t rank well, but lofty thought leadership with no SEO angle won’t either.
Our exemplary example piece ranks for 56 relevant keywords, including a handful of top 10 rankings. More importantly, some of these ranked keywords indicate a high user intent, meaning the user who searches on something like “outsourced marketing” is more likely to be a potential buyer than the user who searches on “social media tips.” This keyword positioning success wouldn’t be possible without a fundamentally sound SEO effort and high-quality writing to prove our topical expertise.
Your Job Isn’t Done When Content Goes Live
Before we refreshed the post, the keyword rankings on our article were not as strong as the images above show. The article still had plenty of SEO clout in its original state, but it significantly improved with just a minor makeover.
Updating your content is another neglected aspect of content marketing strategy. Once again, companies are laser-focused on pushing out new content at a consistent clip. In actuality, you can create less, update more, and see better results. Yes, a content marketing firm is telling you that you can create less. Take advantage.
As mentioned, our article was published in January 2019 and updated in May 2020.
Oh, and 20 conversions that led to three pieces of business worth around $500,000.
This data speaks for itself. There’s really no stronger case for refreshing your content — no matter how well it’s performing initially.
Metrics are Key to Understanding Content Marketing’s ROI
The average company has not seen the impact of a single piece of content on actual business results because they simply don’t measure it.
You might be measuring your content in terms of SEO data — keyword rankings, readership, time on page, etc. But are you tracking conversions on each piece of content?
It’s truly eye-opening to see a user’s journey from reading a post to a closed sale. And you can’t know the efficacy of your content marketing efforts without this stat. It’s time this metric takes its place beside standard SEO KPIs.
Above All Else, Be Patient and Persistent
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t throw in the towel after a couple months — or even a year — without big wins. Think of it like investing in stocks. You research your options, invest, wait, shift your funds, wait again, and, if you’re doing it right, watch it grow.
And, when in doubt, think back on our outsourced marketing article’s journey.
In just over two years, and with just one refresh, that article has earned about half a million dollars in revenue. Not to mention first-page results in Google, more than 200 organic clicks on the high-powered “outsource marketing” keyword, and nearly 4,000 pageviews.
We dare anyone to question the value of content marketing when even just one well-done article has this much power.