COVID-19 has changed the way we operate. Whether it’s remote working or Zoom classes, digital-first strategies or rethinking supply chains, every single business has been affected. Amid this chaos, one term keeps coming up again and again: content marketing.
This is probably one of the buzziest, most bandied-about terms of 2020. Sadly, though, it is also one of the least understood. We’ve read all the reports: 70% of marketers are investing actively in content marketing.1 More than 40% of company budgets went to just content creation in 2019.2 Another survey found that more than 60% of their respondents planned to increase their content marketing budgets in 2020.3
The hidden truth behind the numbers
It all looks very impressive. Everyone is going to increase their content budgets, yay! That’s the consensus, right? But look deeper. Seven out of 10 have started investing actively. Those companies that said 40% of their budgets is for content? That number is nearly 80% more than what it was last year. A similar case shows up when you look at all those respondents who had planned to increase their budgets this year.
Content has been around forever, but people are only now starting to increase their budgets for it. Why?
Many companies don’t understand the full scope of content
Let me give you an example. We spoke with a client last week who was looking at us to improve their customer outreach. They were drawing very few people to their website, and 80% of those were bouncing – clicking away from the site – within minutes.
This – not to put it mildly – was not good.
They had read our blogs and seemed to know ‘content marketing’ was what they needed. They dropped words like ‘SEO’ and ‘brand awareness’.
After listening to their explanation, we asked them: what do you want us to help you with first?
First? They were confused. They wanted only one thing: clean up the website content. After all, that’s why customers were bouncing off their site, right? The content on the site was not strong, and that’s why their marketing was failing. Right?
Wrong. They, like many people, assumed that the ‘content’ they had was bad, so their ‘marketing’ was not working. And that, in some convoluted sense, became ‘content marketing’ in their heads. So we took them on a small journey with our questions.
Content marketing is not just one thing
Using any kind of content to increase awareness about your company or brand is content marketing. But first, people need to broaden their understanding of what content is.
We asked them: How do you learn about new companies? What activity makes you go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, I need to learn more about that company/person/topic?’
Did you read a post on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter that caught your attention? That’s content.
Did you attend a webinar or seminar where the presentation just blew you away? That’s content.
Were you struggling to understand some concept, and then the website you were on had a very helpful link saying: ‘Click here to read our detailed report/case study/analysis of this topic’? That free download is part of content.
Were you just aimlessly scrolling through your feed when an amazing headline just stopped you in your tracks? That’s ALSO content .
A video that stunned you? Content. A podcast you love? Content .
Content marketing: The bottom line
Every single thing you read, watch, listen to, download or bookmark about a topic you like is some kind of content. And using all of that to get customers to understand you, your brand and your company is Content Marketing.
And that is why you need to make it your priority this year. Because if people cannot meet you physically, if they are wary of coming to stores or attending major events in person, then content marketing is the ONLY way you can reach out to them.
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1. HubSpot, State of Content Marketing
2. Zazzle Media, Content Marketing Survey 2019