There’s a common line of thinking that views content is ‘free’, especially if it’s created in-house, but creating content always comes at a cost. You have to factor in copywriting, design, stock photography, videography, graphics creation and research. Even if you have these capabilities within your team, those people take salaries. And if you stop there – at the point of creation – and simply post it on your socials and publish it on your blog, it’s likely that the investment will earn you somewhere in the range of 0% return on investment.
We analysed content from 10 sites across various industries and discovered that the cost of content* ranged from $0.12 to $11.23. Typically (and unsurprisingly) the sites that promoted their content through a variety of channels fared better than those that didn’t. For example, the $0.12 site produces a range of different but highly relevant pieces of content including guides, videos, webinars, polls and shared the content via email and social media, leveraged relationships with media and industry partners, and ensured that their content was keyword rich. They also produced new content frequently – at a rate of 3-5 pieces/ week.
The $11.23 site promoted their content (primarily blog articles) through emails and social media but their approach was sporadic (every 2-3 months) and the content was generic. At $11.23 per page view, this site would likely achieve better results by investing in a paid media campaign.
The quickest way to kill all your hard content creating work is to do nothing with it. Before you put pen to paper or book a videographer, think about how you’ll get this piece of content in front of the people who will benefit from seeing it.
Consider your owned media:
How can you deliver your message effectively across your social platforms? Avoid a one-size-fits all approach as your brand persona and audience on LinkedIn, for example, is likely to differ from, say, Twitter or Facebook.
What sort of shape is your mailing list in? Is your content something that suits everyone on your list or do you need to segment your database to reach a niche? Can you make tweaks to your content to create a couple of different variations to speak to each segment’s sweet spot, rather than blasting something generic?
What about your blog? Which category or categories does it fit under and how can you create internal links and determine which keywords to use to get a solid SEO benefit?
Get them talking (earned media):
Creating content with relevance to your audience in mind is critical but it’s also well worth your while to consider the relevance to potential advocates – these could be industry publications, influencers, brand advocates, journalists, social accounts, existing customers – anyone who’s aligned with your ideas and topics enough to motivate them to spread the word.
And then we come to paid media:
According to a survey of over 1,500 marketers from different countries by Semrush, businesses are increasing their content marketing budgets in order to achieve their content marketing goals. That’s because better outcomes are achieved by promoting your content through paid social and pay per click (PPC) advertising than by relying solely on earned and owned media – there’s no sugar coating it. Outside of social and paid advertising, content marketers may also invest in influencer partnerships, event sponsorships, PR and the many (many) other activities and tactics that can help amplify your message.
* Based on unique page views and average content creation time of 4 hours per asset/ $50/hr