Inbound content creation is a foundational piece of a company’s digital marketing success. Gone are the days when magazines, newspapers, salespeople, and even TV advertising were the biggest influencers on consumer behavior. Thanks to the power of the internet, people are finding their own resources, information, and options before making a purchasing decision.
Particularly for companies that sell a specialized, expensive, or competitive product, the more valuable information you can provide online, the longer your consumers will spend using your website as a resource. That’s the methodology behind inbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that centers around providing valuable information to interested visitors. There’s less of an emphasis on pushing information out (also known as outbound marketing) and more on positioning content so that leads can find it. You can learn more about the differences between inbound and outbound marketing here.
The inbound mentality aligns with the digitization of business, media, communication, consumerism, and almost every industry that used to exist in a brick-and-mortar space. We live in a world where anyone can create, post, and share content online. Consumers are using the internet to find their own information about products, services, education, advice, and connection. Which means that the content shared by a business online can oftentimes be the only interaction a lead will have with your business before making a purchasing decision.
With an overabundance of content published across the internet, standing out has become the challenge. It’s not enough to create just any piece of content and expect engagement. Consumers and leads are looking for relevant, accurate, and valuable content to speak to their questions, frustrations, and needs.
What is Valuable Content?
Valuable content is a broad way to describe the why behind your words rather than the what. It’s about providing accurate, unbiased information rather than pushy promotional copy. Valuable content assumes that your company is a resource more than a solution.
The exact words you publish online can and should change regularly. Now, we’re not advocating regular content overhauls that confuse your users and stress out your creators. We’re talking about changing with your industry, keeping product and company details up-to-date, and approaching thought leadership as a platform to share expertise rather than an opportunity to sell your stuff.
70% of B2B organizations changed their messaging in response to the pandemic, according to the Content Marketing Institute 2021 Industry Report.
Valuable content is a moving target, which is why the words you share online can have a big impact on whether or not anyone is paying attention.
Why Your Words Are Important
1. Content Marketing Costs Less for More ROI
Yup, you read that right. Content marketing costs around 62% less than traditional marketing (*cough cough* outbound marketing) and generates about 3 times as many leads. Why? Because the internet gives people the power to find their own information. And the process of creating and optimizing content so that it can be easily found online is oftentimes easier and less costly than advertising, trade shows, and relying on in-person sales.
But remember, not all content is created equal. Writing an occasional blog post is not content marketing. Content marketing looks at every single piece of existing and soon-to-be-created content a company owns and incorporates tools and tactics like search engine optimization, topic cluster creation, and buyer journeys to create a holistic view of what’s working well to capture lead attention.
2. Phrasing is Impactful: Asking vs. Giving
When it comes to digital marketing, marketers and content creators are always trying to determine what it is our end user wants. That’s why buyer personas, market research, user data, and content strategy exist. But all too often, we as marketers fail to communicate what the buyer wants and instead use phrasing about what we want from them.
An example of this in action is email opt-in messaging. Sumo, who makes email marketing tools, analyzed 400 email opt-in messages to determine what type of communication is used most by companies of all sizes and what is actually working. They found that 84% of small-sized companies were asking for contact information. Whereas 62% of mid-sized companies were giving something in their messaging. Guess who saw more successful email opt-ins?
We’ve covered the impact that simple psychological assumptions can have on marketing effectiveness, and phrasing is a powerful example of marketers falling prey to their own biases.
3. Thought Leadership is Effective When Done Well
In a three-year-long research study looking at insights from over 3,000 decision-makers across the world, Edelman’s B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study provides a wealth of data about the effectiveness of sharing your expertise. Most notably, “49% of decision-makers say that thought leadership can be effective in influencing their purchasing decisions.” Interestingly, only 15% of decision-makers would classify the thought leadership pieces they read as “Very Good or Excellent”. This highlights a growing opportunity in the field of content marketing. Expertise is extremely valuable, but only if that expertise is genuine, accurate, and well-written.
Looking for More Proof?
As a data-obsessed agency, we get it. The proof is in the numbers. Here are a few more resources to dig into the data about content marketing trends, tactics, effectiveness.
Ready to build out your own effective content marketing strategy? Checkout out our article 10 Powerful Tips for Effective Content Marketing with the button below.