Monthly Archives: June 2016

Content Marketing v Paid Advertising – Which is best?

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Content marketing is a relatively new addition to the business world, but one that has made a huge impact and is likely here to stay. With content becoming king, many people are asking whether paid advertising still has a place within online marketing. Whilst some believe that content should be the way forward, others would rather stick with tried and tested methods such as banner ads. The truth is that the issue is more complex than a simple decision between the two and there is no one right answer. With this in mind, we will take a look at both types of marketing and their respective strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to make an informed decision based on your own circumstances.

Paid Advertising

There are many forms of paid advertising, across a wide range of platforms. The general idea is that the company pays a fee in order for their advertisement to appear, either on Google, social networking sites or just general websites. One of the main forms of paid advertising is PPC or pay per click, in which businesses only have to pay for the advert if a person clicks on it. The amount that the company has to pay varies but it’s usually based off of the keywords that are utilised and how valuable they are within the general marketplace.

PPC advertising is very useful when you want to create a direct link between potential customers and a particular product or service. It can also be somewhat cost effective as you are only paying for clicks as opposed to the ad itself. PPC and paid advertising in general is also really easy to track in terms of metrics. This allows businesses to collect invaluable data on factors such as which ads perform the best and how often clicks lead to sales.

Another type of paid advertisement which is less well known but still extremely prevalent is retargeting. When a person visits a website or blog, a cookie attaches itself to the user and follows them around the web. Utilising this cookie, providers such as Adroll can display targeted advertisements to this user, on different websites. Retargeting can be particularly successful because it’s more of a personalised approach. It also allows companies to target their ads at specific users, rather than waiting for consumers to come to them

Although paid advertising has many benefits, there are also many drawbacks to consider. For example, customers are much savvier and prefer a more passive approach to marketing. Some consumers may be put off by such a direct interaction and could even assume that the banner ad is some sort of scam. Customers are also very aware of the value of their personal information and would rather it be kept private. Therefore, the method of retargeting is often seen by online users, as untrustworthy and in some cases, data theft.

In terms of finance, PPC advertising doesn’t always deliver a return on investment because a click does not guarantee a sale. Another problem is the sheer volume of companies online who are all competing for the same traffic. This competition can inflate the price of clicks on your adverts, in some cases to a figure that would be too high to justify.

Content Marketing

Thanks to the popularity of the online world and the prevalence of smart devices, content has become more relevant than ever before. The business sphere has recognised this trend and there has been a very noticeable shift from traditional advertising to content marketing. This type of marketing involves the creation of some sort of content, whether it be blogs, articles, videos or even gifs or posts on social media. Consumers interact with this content and are made aware of a certain company or product, with the overall goal being the conversion from a consumer to a customer.

The overall process of content marketing follows a more natural approach when compared with paid advertising. Consumers aren’t told what to buy but they are given the information needed so they can make the decision themselves. This type of marketing is much more suited to the world we live in today. There is so much mistrust of corporations and content allows businesses to create meaningful relationships with consumers which are no solely based on sales. Successful content marketing can also facilitate a higher placement within Google’s search engine results, which can have a substantial effect on business.

The main downside of utilising content marketing is that it isn’t quick and easy. It can take a while to build up a strong portfolio of material and therefore you may not start seeing results for a long time. In order to connect with consumers, content needs to be high quality and this means investing in creative people, whether in-house or freelance. Therefore, the time and expense involved should also be factored in to your overall decision.

Verdict

The truth is, content marketing and paid advertising both work and the argument of which is better isn’t really that relevant. Companies who are looking for a quick turnover on their investment, without any hard work, should look in to paid advertisement. It may be expensive at times but it’s a sure fire way of streaming users to your website.

Those who would rather play the long game should look into content marketing. It often requires a greater investment of time, resources and in some cases money but it will provide a much larger payoff. Whereas paid advertising may boost the visibility of a single product or service, content marketing has the potential to showcase your company as whole.

It should also be pointed out that it is possible to utilise both content creation and paid advertising, at the same time. In fact this could be an incredibly powerful marketing strategy as they can counteract each other’s weaknesses.

When choosing the best way to market your company, there is no standard right or wrong answer, only what is right for you.

Improving the ROI of Content Marketing

 

Businessman using ROI Return on Investment indicator for improving business performance

Improving the ROI of Content Marketing

Content marketing has become one of the most lucrative forms of advertisement in recent years. This is due to a variety of different things, the popularity of social media, the advent and success of vlogging and of course, the proliferation of smart devices. Although content marketing can be an invaluable tool, it can also be an expensive one. Depending on the type of material that you are creating, there can be many costs to consider, as well as manpower and resources. With this in mind, it makes sense to get as much out of your content as possible. Here are just some of the ways in which you can improve the ROI of your content marketing.

Content Type

The type of content that you upload is going to dictate the reaction you get from consumers. It seems like more and more creators are choosing video over written content and this trend isn’t going away any time soon. Video has become the medium of choice due to a shift in the way we interact with media- many consumers prefer short, easy to absorb chunks of content, which lends itself well to videos. The more appealing your output is, the more people will view it and the greater the chance of converting them into customers. This doesn’t mean you should turn your back on the written word but it does illustrate the benefits of a multi-faceted approach.

When deciding on what type of content to create, medium is not the only factor to consider. For example, what are you trying to say? Do you want to be informative, educational, entertaining or shocking? Design is also an important consideration, with many creators opting for lists or countdowns as opposed to more traditional approaches.

Build a Foundation

One of the downsides of the rise of content marketing is that everyone is doing it and this means it’s even harder to stand out. Consumers are savvy and are easily put off by companies who create material which is low quality or transparent in its goal of creating sales. The way to combat this problem is to base your marketing plan on high quality, stimulating content and use this to build a trusting relationship with your consumers. Try not to scare away potential customers by showcasing yourself as single minded and profit driven. Once you have a decent viewership, then you can develop content which is more sales focused, without alienating consumers.

Analytics

Every aspect of your content marketing should be continually reviewed in order to avoid wasting money. This means all aspects of your marketing infrastructure, including blogs, articles, banners, videos, emails and social media. You should also look in to how prominent your website and social networking channels are on the larger search engines.

When thinking of analytics, many people focus on view counts but this only tells you half the story. For a fuller picture of how your consumers are interacting with your brand, you need more detailed information, for example how long they spent on your site or channel, when they left, why they left, which adverts had the most clicks and which content led to the most conversions. This is another area where it can be more beneficial to utilise video content, as you can gather much more meaningful information about your consumers, as opposed to simple view counts on blogs.

Recycle

When thinking of ROI, any way in which you can save money is going to help. One such method which is often overlooked is reusing old content. This allows you to benefit from content which already exists and therefore saves you the time and money of creating new material. Reusing old content may sound counterproductive but it doesn’t have to mean simply posting it again. For example, you could group similar videos/articles together in order to create a series and then promote the series as something new. You could also consider translating your content into another language as this will allow you to interact with a whole new section of people, utilising material you already have.

Feedback

Feedback from customers is paramount within the business world and this also applies to content marketing. Instead of trying to guess at what topics or styles will be popular, you could cut out the middle man and just ask your consumers directly. Use your social media channels, email or the content itself as a way of delivering surveys to your audience. Try to keep these surveys short and to the point in order to guarantee a high response rate. The information that you acquire from this should prove invaluable and allow you to construct content which is not only engaging but also appealing to your base.