It is commonly agreed between experts that content marketing is one of the most efficient ways of building a name for your brand and seeing profits stacks up.
Still, the opinions on content marketing or specifically, content creation is quite divided. To some people, content marketing is nothing but publishing blog posts and sharing them on social media. To others, it is a much more structured process where the end result reflects on the revenue.
One of the main arguments why many companies consider content marketing as not that relevant is because of the high content creation prices they need to pay. For those companies, hiring a freelancer who will just write a few articles without a clear plan in place is enough. They will just publish the articles, cross their fingers and hope for the best.
In the most of those cases, the created content doesn’t bring satisfactory results, making business owners draw up a conclusion that content marketing simply doesn’t work.
Because it works!
But in order to understand why it works, you first need to understand how it’s done and what goes in a content marketing strategy and content creation.
But Is Content Marketing Still Relevant in 2019?
It is more relevant than ever!
The higher the number of businesses that realize that content marketing is beneficial, the tougher the competition is going to be. So in 2019, expect to fight even harder battles than previously.
The focus is set on content marketing and even 78% of CMOs see content as the future of marketing!
The Content Creation Process
You can ask any content writer in the world and they will tell you that they at some point in their career, someone said to them “Being a content writer isn’t difficult and everyone can do it. Just go on different websites and take bits of information and make a piece out of it”. Also, every good content writer in the world has probably shouted at the person who made such a statement without being aware of what goes in the creation process.
A person who has never been involved in content creation might think that it is not a big deal. You just need to go online and look for information, take things from here and there, wrap it all up in one piece and voila, you’re done!
If any content creation agency was working on that principle, the number of websites that would’ve been blacklisted and banned from search engines would’ve been larger than the number of the websites listed!
In the content creation process, research takes up much more time than the actual writing.
Writing Is The Easier Part (And Even That Is Not Easy)
To create a piece of unique and high-quality content that is SEO friendly, enjoyable and informative, the writer needs to spend hours doing research on the topic and finding credible sources.
That means hours of going through case studies, whitepapers, research projects, credible blogs and statistics. And out of the countless sources the writer needs to go through, they need to select the most crucial and relevant information when writing the piece. In some cases, that means going through an entire study just for one piece of information that doesn’t take up more than a sentence, yet it provides credibility to the article.
You are paying for the time spent finding the information and not just the writing process. That’s the reason why content creation prices depend on the quality of the end product.
It is natural for a business to try and cut down on the costs as much as possible, but not allowing enough funds for content creation might come back to haunt you.
For example, hiring an unverified freelancer to write a few articles for you just because they offered their services at a low price can backfire on you. In the best case scenario, you might receive an end product which is unstructured, contains information that is thrown around without any logical order or isn’t keyword optimized. Your entire effort to save money by not spending a lot might turn out to be money thrown out of the window since you can’t really use the articles, at least not without editing them. In the worst case scenario, you might be dealing with someone who doesn’t really care about the content they deliver so you can end up with copied or spun content. That is obviously a big ‘no-no’ for search engines and the credibility of your website, so you might get penalized or even banned.
Hiring a freelancer who has good knowledge in content marketing strategies can be your saving grace. However, the content creation prices of good writers will be high, so if you want to be sure that you will get what you are hoping for, be prepared to pay a fair amount of money.
But It’s Not Only the Writer
The content creation process is aided by a few more people apart from the writer. This is the case when hiring an agency to do the content writing work, and not when hiring an individual.
The content development in a team starts with brainstorming. Once the ideas are out on the table, the good ones are acted upon, while the bad ones are dismissed.
Writers are assigned work and they need to research and write the content.
After that, the content goes to an editor who needs to proofread it and make sure nothing is overlooked. They will also run a plagiarism test to make sure that the written content is 100% original.
In some cases, the writer might work closely with an expert in the field they are writing in. Such experts are the key element of creating unique content. The writer takes exclusive information from the experts and turns it into a neat piece of writing.
In other cases, and SEO expert might be involved with the purpose to make sure that everything is optimized as it should be and that the article follows the writing guidelines for indexing and ranking.
Finally, even a social media expert might get their hands of the piece and come up with suggestions on how to distribute the piece on social media and get great exposure and interaction.
So, the content writing process isn’t just the writer doing the writing. There are many other people involved in the process which additionally adds to the content creation prices. However, perfect results are not godsent – a creative team of experts is what delivers them.
Developing a Content Strategy
Creating high-quality content is obviously the core of a good content marketing strategy. However, the content needs to fit within a specific content strategy, otherwise, the results will be disappointing. There is 1 in 100 cases where content without a strategy delivered a good result, yet you can say that is a lucky chain of events.
A good content marketing strategy takes different aspects of your business into consideration in order to deliver the desired results.
What are the goals? – Whatever you are hoping to get out of content marketing will define the way the content is structured. Understanding what the end goal makes it easier to aim towards it.
Who are your (potential) customers? – Not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer, but that still leaves a lot of people who would. Understanding who your audience is will help target the content towards them and not spend money, time and effort advertising to people who have no interest in your brand.
Who are your competitors? – Knowing who your competitors are and analyzing their content marketing strategies is crucial in order to learn from them and become better. The big fish eats the smaller fish – which is why you always see big brands being at a content war with each other without even trying to hide it.
Building an email list – Content marketing isn’t just articles. Email lists are incredibly useful for down-the-line content marketing communication. But how to actually build an email list? Content marketing takes that into consideration as well.
Keyword Research – Which keywords are relevant to your business and how to start ranking on them are the main questions that a good content strategy is looking to answer. Knowing how you want people to find you is the first step towards them finding you.
Choosing the appropriate tactics – Every business is unique and there is no “one size fits all” in content marketing. The things that work for one business might be completely useless for another. The content marketing strategy will outline the best practices for you and make the most out of them.
Increasing exposure on different channels – It is not only about your website. There are multiple channels through which customer can come from, so a good content marketing strategy will make sure not to leave any stones unturned.
Your Content is Your Ambassador
The way businesses communicate with their customers has dramatically changed over the last decade. It is still evolving but in the current evolution stage, you need to be present and approachable.
A good content marketing strategy should build an identity for your brand, something that will make it recognizable in a pool of other businesses.
The main ingredient here is consistency. If you want to stand out, you need to decide what do you want to stand out for.
Successful businesses know that being consistent in every possible way is what will make everyone remember you. Set the bar and never go below it.
Sure, not everything you do will be equally good and that is normal. However, the tone, the visuals and the messages you communicate as a brand need to be consistent through all channels.
All of these parameters will depend on how you would like to present yourself as a business. Do you want to be more appealing to millennials? Then use the language they use, implement intelligent humor and get ready to create memes! Want to present yourself as a serious, professional business within the service industry? Use assertive style of writing and make sure you showcase your previous work.
It all depends on what your brand is and what it aspires to be, which is why content marketing strategies are so versatile.
What Do The Numbers Say?
Contrary to the popular belief that content creation prices are high, it is actually estimated that content marketing costs 60% less than traditional marketing yet generates three times more leads. According to a report done by DemandMetric, 86% of people disregard TV ads and 70% prefer to learn about a brand through content rather than ads. So before printing the flyers out and hit the high streets, consider remaining in your cozy office and reaching out to people online.
According to Aberdeen Group, businesses that use content marketing enjoy six times more revenue compared to those who have opted out.
Are these numbers convincing enough?
Content Creation: Is It Really Expensive?
Determining a uniform cost for content creation is a hard thing to do. Since the work put into creating content varies, the price will depend on what sort of content you are after and the extent of research that needs to go in it (and of course, the company you have chosen to do the work).
Generally, a full content research that includes website audit, keyword research and competitors analysis will cost you between $1000 and $6000. Of course, you will find strategist that are willing to do it for couple hundred dollars, while at the same time some agencies may ask for over $20.000!
The content creation prices depend mainly on the type of writing: is it a landing page, a blog post or website content. In that sense, it is hard to give an accurate estimate without knowing the purpose of the content, but generally, the content creation prices tend to go between $0.4 to $1.5 per word. The prices can be made lower for bulk projects.
Do you still think that content marketing is a pricy investment? An investment, by definition, needs to generate more revenue than what you’ve put into it. When content marketing is done right, the numbers will be enough to speak about the success.