How Does Content Marketing Generate Revenue?

CS-Moneybag

Businesses are quickly adopting content marketing as a way to drive brand awareness and increase sales leads, but how exactly does content marketing generate revenue? Marketers and business leaders alike are struggling to tie their content marketing efforts to their bottom line – which is a huge problem. In order to understand exactly how revenue is being generated, you’ll need to understand the two major components of successful content marketing; quality and tracking.

I can’t stress to you enough how important it is to produce quality content. If you provide material that is genuinely good, people will talk about it and share it with their networks – all of which contributes to generating brand awareness, directing traffic, and ultimately increasing sales. Now – I should mention that it’s also very important to promote your content, but promotion is ineffective unless you have something valuable to offer your audience and convert them from visitors to customers. This bring me to the second major component; tracking. Once you’ve created great content, you’ll need to monitor and track everything in order to understand how your content is being received and consumed by your target audience.

The analytics derived from tracking and monitoring will allow you to see how many more visitors your site is attracting, the number of email subscriptions you’re collecting from your blog or website, as well as the number of leads or conversion points you’re getting. Almost any analytics tool will allow you to track conversions based on entry sources. You’ll also be able to view which pieces of content they consumed during their buyer journey – giving your sales team extra intel on what that prospect might be looking for (aka – a qualified lead).

But it all starts with good content. Attracting your target audience and generating word of mouth is important for increasing traffic and sales. Marketing Charts conducted a survey that found 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know, so creating “word of mouth” buzz is very effective. Once you’ve attracted readers to your site with quality content, you can begin tracking their consumption, maybe even obtain their email address, and start nurturing them through the funnel.

This is how content marketing generates revenue — through a continuous cycle of creating quality content and tracking. By building a foundation of quality content, you give your audience a reason to engage with your brand. Meanwhile, monitoring and tracking will give you insights on which content your audience is consuming along their journey to becoming a customer. Having those two major components in place will enable you to drive revenue through content marketing.

Nokia Buys In to Content Marketing – Literally

A variety of companies – both B2B and B2C – have adopted content marketing in recent years, with many of them experiencing a great deal of success. It takes skill and dedication, but content marketing has a history of delivering a strong return on investment (check out my previous blog for examples). However, technology supplier Nokia is trying to fast track their results by shifting their content marketing efforts into hyper-speed.

Nokia

To accomplish this, Nokia is paying Wired magazine (a popular magazine that reports on how emerging technologies affect culture, politics, and the economy) to create an editorial style website called “MakeTechHuman” that aims to start a conversation about where technology is taking humanity. Pretty heavy stuff, huh? Print ads, events, and an onslaught of online articles will be utilized throughout the year-long campaign, costing the company millions. But will it all be worth it? The campaign is set to kick off following an invite-only dinner at the TED conference in Vancouver.

So we’ll have to wait and see if this type of “hyper-drive-conent-marketing” is effective or not. In the meantime, there are a few factors that may influence the results:

Factors working in their favour: 

  • Despite the fact that their brand image is tied to an older technology (remember how many people had Nokia cell phones in the 90s?), the company has been going strong for 150 years. They don’t even sell phones any longer! Recently, they’ve made most of their profits in B2B selling equipment to telecomm giants Verizon and Sprint.
  • If the content is perceived as valuable by their target audience, it will drive prospects through the funnel – leading to increased revenue.
  • Partnering with Wired provides Nokia with credibility in the technology industry, since the magazine company is an established thought leader with a large tech and business audience.
  • Business giants General Electric (GE) and American Express have achieved great success with their content-marketing hubs, with GE getting 30% extra value for every dollar spent.

Factors working against them:

  • You can’t build credibility overnight. It takes time to earn the trust of readers – months of distributing quality content designed to provide genuine value to the target audience. Articles will be labeled as “sponsor content”, which tells the reader that the article has an agenda other than simply sharing information – it was created to generate revenue.
  • The last site that a company in the tech industry sponsored was Verizon’s SugarString, and the online community shut them out. After facing intense backlash and ridicule in regards to their publishing, Verizon shut down the site within two months of its launch.
  • It’s still unclear why a B2B company will be spending seven-figures over the next year on attracting the consumer community (B2C).
  • Nokia will need to define and articulate what they do and why people should care, because that message is not being clearly communicated.

At the end of the day, this is a marketing campaign that is expected to drive results. Nokia is walking a thin line, and I’m interested to see the results of this campaign. What are your thoughts?

3 Factors Influencing Your Content Marketing Success

Yoda Content Marketing

We’re almost three months into 2015, and by now everything must be going according to plan, right? With buy in from your superiors and the knowledge required to succeed, you must be thrilled. Well – according to the Content Marketing Institutes’ B2B Content Marketing Trends report, that’s not necessarily the case. Despite the fact that 86% of respondents said that their organization uses content marketing, only 38% believe that their efforts are actually effective. So what gives?

There are three primary factors that influence the effectiveness of content marketing:

  1. Lack of a documented content marketing strategy: There’s no “A for effort” in content marketing – if you want to be successful, you have to have a documented strategy – as in written down and disseminated amongst your team. Out of the 83% respondents who indicated that they have a strategy in place, only 35% say it is documented. Having a strategy helps you stay on task and reach your goals. In fact, 42% of survey participants say their content marketing efforts match their strategy “very closely” – and the most effective marketers are those who follow their documented strategy.
  2. Not disseminating your content marketing strategy – or your content: Make sure everyone is aware of your plans and agree with your strategy. You should also create a flow chart, or project calendar, and distribute it to key stakeholders. Providing insights and updates makes content marketing more “real” – as some may have difficulty grasping the more intangible elements. Delivering a document that clearly displays how changing priorities directly impact your content marketing efforts can help others gain a better understanding. Sending out all the great content you’re creating to any employees who may find it beneficial or helpful is a great way to gain support and views. Ideally, employees will share that content with their networks, increasing engagement with your brand.
  3. Share your achievements: Are you one of the lucky few that can successfully calculate the ROI of your content marketing – and by “lucky few” I mean one of the 21% of respondents that stated they are successful at tracking the ROI? Good – now share those metrics with everyone! Still not sure how to determine the ROI? I suggest taking in a few instructional materials to learn how, because it’s one of the key indicators of your success. It’s so important that 46% of respondents have identified “measuring content marketing ROI” as an initiative that they are currently focusing on. Also be sure to share your other wins, like a significant increase in blog views, or publishing company content on a reputable site, or obtaining a great case study.

By documenting your content marketing strategy, sharing it with your team, and communicating your successes, you’re in a better position to achieve your goals and avoid distractions.

Content Marketing: The Struggle is Real

At times, it can feel like you’re swimming against the current; trying to push your content marketing efforts forward, only to be met with resistance. Other times, it can be a struggle to maintain your position and define your role when your superiors utilize your skills for copy writing instead of content marketing. Several companies jumped on the bandwagon when content marketing first entered the scene, but they lacked the patience necessary for it to be successful. It takes time to start seeing the benefits of content marketing — but when you do see results, it’ll blow you away.

There is no better example than Red Bull. The company’s media house set the goal of becoming independently profitable – with content so good they could sell it. This “forced” Red Bull to create content that people loved. That content helped Red Bull build an unbeatable reputation and dominate the crowded energy drink market. But I could go on about Red Bull’s success in content marketing forever….(seriously, if you haven’t read about their content empire, you need to check it out).

Several other businesses have achieve success with content marketing. Zagg, an online retailer of mobile accessories, earns 172% ROI and 10% of the company’s website traffic through their blog. Publishing 25 to 35 posts each week, the company’s three writers are tasked with producing content that is shareable, popular, and promotes the company’s product range. Oh, and 60% of their blog traffic is from new users – not too shabby at all.

Meanwhile, a B2B company called SunGard, which provides IT operations support, hit it out of the park with their video series by injecting humour into educational content on pain points and industry trends. By analyzing their audience’s content consumption patters, SunGard was able to map out a campaign that promoted their content across multiple touch points via email, social media, and paid media. The result of their efforts? Over 3,000 leads generated in 3 days! And that’s not all – they also saw email clicks and click open rates that were 2-3 times the average AND the CTAs to download a whitepaper at the end of the videos had a 87.4% click-through rate.

Did these companies achieve this type of success over night? No. It took a lot of time and resources. But each of these companies started from somewhere. Content marketing only recently became popular (though it’s arguably been around for a really long time, but that’s another blog post). So my advice to you is to always remember:

Content Quote