How does content marketing drive ROI?

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Whether you’ve already heard of content marketing or have recently stumbled across it, you’ve doubtless got some questions as a business owner.


Content marketing is all about playing the long game. Publish a blog post today, and you’re unlikely to immediately start seeing leads as a result of its presence on your website. In some cases, you may never receive any leads from a single piece of content.


So, why bother, you might ask.


The answer is simple: content marketing has proven, time and again, to provide a brilliant return on investment (ROI) for the businesses that take it seriously.


It’s not a new marketing strategy, either - content marketing has been around for decades. The idea is to build brand awareness by consistently providing helpful, actionable content that speaks to a specific audience. The more you do that, the more likely they are to warm to your brand and, eventually, purchase something.


Sound simple? As a premise, it really is very simple indeed - once you’ve got your head around it. But let’s think about how content marketing drives ROI…


Thinking back to the early days of SEO

Content marketing hasn’t always been treated with the respect it deserves.


If we cast our minds back to what many industry experts describe as the ‘bad old days of SEO’, we’ll recall a time when websites used to be stuffed with keywords in an attempt to get noticed by Google.


You’d find them everywhere - in the header, footer and shoe-horned into every spare corner of body copy. It was horrible - but it actually worked for a time.


Now, Google is far too clever for such tactics. It can read content almost like a human and knows when a webpage is worth promoting. And that’s great news if you want to get involved in ethical, unique and genuinely engaging content marketing campaigns!


The demand for content is greater than ever

People, businesses and not-for-profit organisations are demanding great content more than ever these days.


If you’re a consumer or buyer for a business, the amount of choice you have when you need or want something is ridiculous. Thus, you’re most likely to side with businesses whom you trust and who appear to have your best interests at heart.


The best way to make yourself heard as a competing business these days is to publish trustworthy, brilliant content.


If you do that (whether you do it in house or via external assistance), you’ll start to build an audience that will probably become very profitable indeed as time goes on.


Finding the gap

In order to get measurable ROI from your content marketing efforts, you need to create stuff that people genuinely want to engage with and share.


To do this, you need to undertake something called a ‘gap analysis’. This aims to uncover the discrepancy between what your audience wants to learn while searching online and how well those needs are being met.


You might find that those needs are met satisfactorily, but the likelihood is you’ll simply find rubbish content.


If that’s happening in your niche, you could be the company to fill the gap!


Here’s a super-simple way to conduct a gap analysis:

  • Look at the competition. Who’s producing the best content? Why is it the best content?
  • Look for content opportunities. Put your customer hat on; when searching for specific needs and requirements are you getting the answers you want? Those unmet needs will help you identify the gaps you can fill with great content.
  • Plan your editorial style and calendar. With the above pieces of research done, create your audience persona, and develop a voice and list of potential content pieces that will fulfil the persona’s needs.


Conclusion

Content marketing should deliver a measurable ROI for your business. By conducting a gap analysis and keeping in mind that there has never been such a demand for content as there is in the digital age, you’ll create a strategy that will eventually deliver - big time!

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