Microsoft mastermind Bill Gates once famously penned the essay “Content is King,” and this sentiment is as accurate today as it was during the infancy of the Internet. Thirty-five years ago the web was a revolution for personal computing, and now automation is prompting a seismic shift in how we create content and drive business.
Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 60% less. Likewise, 79% of online shoppers use 50% of their shopping time researching products online, 61% of U.S. online consumers make purchases based on blog suggestions and 70% prefer to learn about products via content versus traditional ads. Quality content generates leads, increases sales and customer satisfaction, improves awareness, reduces churn, establishes thought leadership, assists with upselling and supports new product launches.
It’s not all unicorns and rainbows when it comes to content marketing and automation, however. Businesses and brands must confront a myriad of challenges, including cost, competition, scalability, data availability and more to maximize ROI.
Content Marketing Challenges
Cost: Content marketing ROI consistently outperforms PPC, but it’s still expensive to produce high-quality content. Valuable content requires research, marketing familiarity, the ability to captivate via concise language and an intimate understanding of how to provide value to readers.
This latter point often requires the assistance of paid writers, researchers, designers and editors. There are hidden costs of producing these pieces that often go unnoticed. It’s not as simple as looking at a freelancer’s fee or calculating your copyeditor’s salary and time.
Competition: Creating content similar to competitors that boasts analogous solutions does little to create the differentiation necessary to show customers the value of your business over another.
Scalability: A writer can only craft one article at a time, and that includes all you talented ambidextrous folks out there. This poses significant issues when communicating with different customers about divergent topics.
Content Marketing Advantages
Decreased Marketing Cost and Compounding Value: If you’re looking for quick and short-term gains, content marketing may not be your best bet. Content marketing requires a deliberate and consistent approach to be an effective marketing strategy. Unlike a PPC ad that stops performing once you discontinue allocating a budget, a single piece of content can drive endless leads at no incremental cost.
Higher Conversion Rates: Effective content marketing speaks directly about solving specific challenges. Focused content might serve smaller audiences, but the value is amplified because it better addresses consumer needs.
Better Discoverability: You probably rely upon search engines when seeking solutions to problems. Similarly, if your organization isn’t producing valuable content, then individuals you want to help won’t discover your answers.
Content Automation to the Rescue
The power of content marketing is indisputable, but so too are the challenges. That’s why the future of marketing will rely on content automation.
Content automation is still a nascent industry, and we’re witnessing a shift from content automation 1.0 (content production efficiency) to content automation 2.0 (revenue growth).
- Phase 1.0 was simply creating coherent content, at scale (key metrics track cost of producing content)
- Phase 2.0 will be creating high-quality content that drives revenue at scale (key metrics track MQLs, conversion rates, and pipeline growth)
Phase 2.0 won’t arrive without its share of hiccups, but the advantages far outweigh the challenges.
Content Automation Challenges
Data Availability: Content automation algorithms are only as good as the data it uses.
Initial Setup: Configuring a flexible content automation algorithm takes upfront time to iron out potential kinks.
Flexibility: Once algorithms are properly in place, changes often need to be made through an automation provider.
Content Automation Advantages
Cost: Automation algorithms create content by converting data into articles without human involvement or headcount.
Scale: Automation can produce thousands of unique stories in minutes.
Accuracy: As long as the underlying data is accurate, content automation will never misspell a name, transpose numbers or cite the wrong location.
Speed: Real-time content creation manes there’s zero lag between gathering data and producing articles.
Improving Efficiency and Growing Revenue with Content Automation
Most content automation companies strive to save time and budget by creating efficiencies in the content creation process. This is all fine and dandy, but it’s not synonymous with driving revenue.
Producing more content at a lower cost doesn’t mean the content is high-quality, that it will rank well on search engines or convert readers.
The solution? By focusing automation on developing high-quality content that addresses specific problems, everything you publish will rank well on search engines and convert readers at a higher interval than PPC or cheap content.
Content automation that doesn’t address specific user needs is just Internet noise pollution. If the content you’re producing doesn’t add value, it shouldn’t be produced no matter how cheap.