This article defines the three most popular forms of content marketing and lists the pros and cons of each to help you decide which best applies to your business.
Table of Contents
- Section One: The Growth of Content Marketing
- Section Two: Three Forms of Content Marketing
- Section Three: Video Marketing
- Section Four: Blog Marketing
- Section Five: Podcast Marketing
- Final Thoughts
The Growth of Content Marketing
The use of content, such as videos, blogs, and podcasts, for marketing continues to increase. The first explosion in digital consumption occurred in the late 1990s, during what is now known as the “dotcom” boom. In recent years, the rise of social media, smartphones, and subsequent integration of social and online channels has resulted in additional exponential growth. And in 2020, global lockdowns and social distancing mandates driven by COVID-19 forced people to rely even more on digital channels for communication, collaboration, and marketing.
Just how much has digital content marketing grown?
In 2020, it was estimated that 70 million blogs were posted on WordPress websites every month, and an average of 720,000 hours of video were posted to YouTube daily. In comparison, 13.9 million total WordPress blogs and 50,000 hours daily of YouTube videos were posted in 2010. The number of Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn users have increased by over 1000%, and corporate digital marketing spend has increased by roughly 600% in the same timeframe.
Where does that leave us?
Today, there is a massive, nearly global reliance on digital browsing, shopping, working, and social communication: 48.33% of the world’s population owns a phone, and 55% have at least one social media account. As the proportion of daily online users increases, the volume of content that is published and promoted online — both by businesses and individuals — is growing in tandem.
But out of all this content, which forms of content are most popular among consumers? And which one would benefit your business the most?
Let’s dig in a bit further.
Three Forms of Content Marketing
Determining which form of content is most applicable to your particular business depends on the message you wish to convey, and your target audience. While you’ll need to determine that for yourself, we at SpeakClear have outlined the pros and cons of the three most popular forms of content marketing to help you decide on the best approach.
The most popular forms of content marketing include:
Video as a marketing strategy continues to grow in popularity for both businesses and consumers alike. Regardless of the platform on which it is posted, video has become a crucial component in promoting and marketing, increasing engagement, educating consumers, and reaching target audiences with a new medium. Nearly 9 in 10 companies use video as a marketing tool, and video is expected to make up 82% of all consumer traffic on the internet by 2022. The growth of video marketing directly results from the recognized benefits of partaking in their creation.
Strong Engagement and Conversion Rates
First and foremost, video content for marketing purposes provokes a strong engagement from its watchers. Evident in the increase of conversion rates by over 80% and email open rates by 19%, videos entice consumers through entertainment and education. In fact, 90% of customers claim videos assist in their buying decisions.
65% of Earth’s population consists of visual learners. Thus, the inclusion of video for marketing purposes captures attention more successfully and for a longer duration than that of any other type of content marketing. 43% of consumers want to see more videos from brands, further proving the powerful influence video has over consumers’ decision-making processes.
Furthermore, videos are easily shared. With the click of a button, a video can be sent from one consumer to another —and another, and another — until the video potentially goes viral. Brand awareness increases drastically along with the brand loyalty established by customer engagement.
Lack of Limitations
It’s important to note that from a creative standpoint, there are virtually no limits (except budget) on the type of footage that can be developed. Video resources can consist of complex graphic animations and special effects, or simply showcase an unedited interview or tutorial with company employees.
The topics of videos can vary broadly as well. Videos are often developed by businesses to tell employee or customer stories, make announcements surrounding new products or company updates, or provide training and sales content. And since videos are easily shareable by users via text, email, or within various social media platforms, a successful video promotion can go a long way in expanding both your audience and their engagement with your brand.
Hard to Update
Unlike other forms of content marketing, there is no “edit” button next to a video. You cannot simply go back and change the caption to update an old video like you might on social media or a blog post if situations or statistics change. Moreover, components such as settings and attire can make your video seem dated and less relevant the more time passes.
To make a video keep its relevance over time, it needs to be executed properly. The more technology progresses, the easier it becomes to shoot a video on a smartphone. But certain skills are still needed to film and finish the video. Acquiring these skills on your own may be time-consuming (as well as frustrating), while outsourcing to an agency has the potential to be expensive. It is important to be aware of the effort creating a video may require before making a commitment.
Cost often is a primary concern in video production, whether that production is outsourced or DIY. There are the costs of scriptwriters, casts, and crew as well as costs for equipment such as cameras and microphones. Factors such as length, style, and quality especially play a huge influence in determining the cost of video production. Even if money is not a problem, the cost of time should be considered.
Marketers often don’t realize that a two-minute video could take weeks to produce. The production of a video is done in phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production in itself is time consuming due to all the preparation involved. Then, simply shooting two minutes can take a day or two — if not more — before all the scenes are deemed adequate. Filming encompasses the shifting of cameras, retakes of a certain scene, change of scenery, and every other change made, all which are time-consuming themselves. Still, post-production lasts the longest of all, sometimes taking weeks to properly edit all the snippets into a fluid video. If you are on a time crunch, it would be better to engage in other forms of content marketing.
While the cons of video production center around cost and time, for content marketing, video is often a must. But the decision should ultimately be made based on your audience and their preferences.
Like other forms of content marketing, blog marketing is a means of sharing your brand’s message with your target audience, and a way to interact with that audience. Blogs can include stories of customers or employees, helpful tips, updates, and more. Regularly scheduled posts help with continuous audience engagement, keeping the brand relevant. This helps explain why there are over 181 million blogs around the world.
Free blogging platforms, such as Blogger or WordPress, offer a way to display your brand with a professional appearance. While most free blogging platforms include their host name on your site link, you can choose to purchase a domain name of your own (for example, ours is speakclear.org). Purchasing a domain name is still relatively inexpensive in comparison to other forms of marketing.
Increases Site Traffic
Websites typically have a page or subpage where their blogs are posted. By sharing the posts on your website, you offer an incentive for people who wish to read your blog to visit your site. Customers are more likely to browse through your website and purchase from your brand, if they are already there.
Moreover, blogs benefit your SEO, increasing your visibility for people searching for relevant information. This directs potential consumers to your website. Each blog posted informs Google of your being an active site and provides an opportunity for you to rank higher with a new set of keywords.
Writing a blog helps make your brand more trustworthy. It’s a great way to showcase your knowledge of your industry and your consumers, through helpful tips, thought leadership, and other valuable information. The more a consumer trusts a brand, the more they are willing to purchase, increasing conversion rates.
Writing good content takes a significant amount of time — and not everyone is a fast (or a good) writer. The ideal length for a blog post remains between 2,000-2,500 words for SEO purposes. So between generating new ideas, doing the supporting research, the actual writing, and editing, blogs can take days to compose.
Some good strategies to help with time management include establishing a blogging schedule. Having scheduled dates helps keep things moving. Another revolves around the constant need for ideas. Perhaps keep a running list of potential topics for later use. But no matter how you prepared you are, blog marketing is still time consuming.
The greatest downfall of blog marketing revolves around its own need for marketing. Blogs don’t promote themselves — they need to be promoted via social media, email newsletters, etc. This further contributes to the time-consuming nature of blog marketing.
Despite the cons, blogging is a greatly effective means of conveying a desired message to consumers. For tips on writing blog posts, read our article laying out ten tips for a successful blog post.
Podcasting as a marketing tool becomes more and more relevant with each passing day. With an estimate of more than 750,000 different podcasts in the U.S. alone available for downloading and streaming on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more, podcasts offer the opportunity to build relationships with your target audience in an on-the-go manner. They provide a platform for clear and concise communication between businesses and consumers.
In a world that is constantly moving, it is difficult to keep up with everything. A podcast is something that consumers can (and do) easily listen to during their commute, while out for a walk, while resting, or while working. Research has found that 14 percent of users listen to podcasts while they are at work, while 25 percent listen while commuting.
The sound of someone’s voice makes the message being conveyed much more personal, and therefore the experience of listening to a podcast more intimate between the business and the consumer. This increases the engagement level in a way other content marketing forms fail to do. And as podcasts can easily be shared by consumers, engagement also increases at the community level.
A consistent schedule of podcast uploads is required when engaging in podcast content marketing. Keeping people regularly connected with your brand helps keep you top-of-mind, and also allows you to reach people who might not be reading your social media or blog posts. This extended reach escalates brand awareness and recognition.
You can extend your reach even further by incorporating your podcasts into other forms of content marketing, including blog posts and social media — and mentioning your blog and social media handles on the podcast. This cross-promotion can help boost engagement across all of your marketing channels.
Podcasts are much more cost efficient than video production. They are easy to record, manage, and distribute, as they don’t require as much equipment. Essentially, all you need is a microphone, editing software, and a hosting facility to record and post your recorded podcasts on whichever medium you desire.
You can add metadata to your podcasts to attract new customers or prospects who are already listening to other podcasts relevant to your industry or in your niche.
Also, distribution through RSS feeds, emails, and your blog permits listeners and consumers to incorporate the link in their own blog site. By being shareable, your podcast increases brand awareness, extends your reach, and ultimately results in better SEO.
A key to successful podcasting is the strict and consistent posting schedule. Whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly, each upload needs to adhere to this schedule in order to satisfy your consumers, who often are eagerly waiting for your next episode. Straying from the schedule risks weakening the brand loyalty and trust established between the business and consumer.
With that being said, it is pointless to worry about keeping to a set schedule if you don’t have quality material to share. No one wants to listen to a bunch of nonsense ramblings about something irrelevant published just to meet a deadline. If you’re stuck, turn to outside sources for ideas and material.
Difficult to Track
User engagement, conversions, and other data is often a challenge for podcasts. While it is possible to track these metrics, it is much more difficult to do so, especially in comparison to what’s possible with other forms of content marketing.
Despite being a static medium with a strict schedule, podcasting is a greatly beneficial means of content marketing. And its popularity continues to grow with each passing day.
The use of videos, social media, blogs, and podcasts for content marketing purposes continues to grow. And when done right, all of these formats can provide excellent ROI. While some cons plague each form of content marketing, the extensive list of pros far outweighs the negatives. Content marketing is here to stay — you just need to determine which formats are most applicable to your desired target market.