Successful inbound marketers understand the link between campaign development, content marketing and branding, and the power it holds to staying competitive while boosting ROI. In fact, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015 Report, companies are three times more likely to see a higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than outbound. With the right mix of content contributors and promotion of content, businesses will experience more traffic, engagement, lead generation and sales.
According to HubSpot’s report, organizations that saw the largest increase in ROI from 2014 to 2015, expanded their content creation strategies by employing and including contributions from not only staff writers, but also guest contributors and freelancer / third party writers. Companies that called on fewer guest and staff contributors experienced a definitively lower ROI for the year. What this tells us is that successful inbound content creation, takes as much balance as walking a tight rope.
Most organizations still rely on the marketing department to produce content such as blogs, white papers, case studies, eBooks and collateral. Yet, a small percentage produce content that dives deeper than the surface level to include the unique expertise of various personnel and other industry experts. This is often due to the common disconnect many organizations face between sales, marketing and other departments.
As marketers allocate more time and budget resources to production and promotion of content, the best results will come from leaning on the contributions of a diverse selection of company contributors, freelancers, guest writers, industry influencers and other partnerships.
Step Off with the Right Foot:
Is one of your biggest challenges how to produce enough content to move the needle and be effective? This can be a real struggle when faced with personnel limitations but it doesn’t have to keep you on the ledge. Try these ways of producing quality content that will extend your team and keep you from going over budget.
1. Bring old content to life.
Remember how much time you spent creating all the content that sits on your blog or as eBooks, whitepapers, etc. that are no longer promoted? Maybe some content goes back a few years but is likely to still be great information that if tweaked, can generate new leads. There are many ways of recreating content by changing titles, adding keywords, creating a “part two” version and more. Just be sure to review existing copy for accuracy and replace stats, use different images, and include updated quotes where needed.
2. Invite engaged customers to contribute.
If you’ve created good content in the past and have continually engaged customers, they are probably talking about your company in various places like blog comments, social and more. Listen to what they have to say, take note of customers that are super engaged or passionate about your product / service and invite them to share their experience as a guest contributor. Not only will your advocate’s feature bring some diversity to your posts, it may be viewed as more trustworthy and approachable for your readers. It’s all about establishing relationships and motivating others to be ambassadors for your brand.
3. Leverage curated content.
Most content marketers have leveraged the art of curated content. Oftentimes late in the day when you have a blog post due at 8am the next morning, right? It’s a quick and easy way to pull together some of the most relevant points, facts or recent articles about a particular topic. While everyone feels differently about the best way to produce curated content, most agree that with this tactic it is important to try and re-create or bring a personal point of view to the information you provide. A good way to piece together a curated post is to highlight the best part of an article, include an intro including how you feel about it and provide a summary as to how the reader can use the information.
4. Identify industry experts and leverage their knowledge.
Next time you are on a prominent news website or blog, check out how often you see the word “contributor” next to the writer’s name. These individuals are not necessarily journalists or employees of the publication, but rather, freelancers or industry experts that have shared a piece of content that is important and relevant for the site's readers. Securing guest bloggers to contribute not only saves you time in your content schedule; it can often mean greater exposure for your business. Additionally, when influencers are invited to guest blog on your business’ site, they will likely share the post with their large networks – potentially driving significant traffic to your website.
5. Use a freelancer or 3rd party solution.
Marketers that are committed to inbound strategy are typically blogging at least once or more per week (sometimes even every day). Agency representatives face even greater challenges trying to keep up with content production for multiple clients. If you are someone who is tasked with creating large amounts of content, the tactics listed above can help – but there also comes a time when a freelance or 3rd party solution is a must. While there is a cost associated with this solution, it may be less than adding an additional employee. Freelancers are a good option when looking for a one-on-one relationship with a writer who you can work closely with to fit your specific needs. Other 3rd party resources such as Scripted, Zerys, Writer’s Access and BlogMutt provide databases of writers to choose from based on content topic and various other needs.
Showing ROI growth is the ultimate factor behind inbound strategies and balancing content creation. Frequent analyzing of work plays a critical role for marketers when evaluating campaign success, making campaign modifications and securing greater budgets for future years. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015 Report states that marketers who check their metrics at least three times per week are over 20% more likely to achieve a positive ROI.
Undoubtedly, organizations, marketers and agency representatives are recognizing the fine balance it takes to frequently and effectively produce valuable content. By keeping goals in mind to convert prospects, increase brand recognition and strengthen customer loyalty, success can be achieved through developing relationships internally and externally and with a diverse selection of content contributors.
What tactics has your team employed to find balance with content production and ensure a positive ROI?