Cold mailing, industry events, referrals, PPC, influencer marketing… There are many customer acquisition channels aside from SEO. And, if your content marketing strategy isn’t giving you results, it may be tempting to descale it or stop it altogether to focus on what’s actually working.
But not so fast - getting a positive commercial impact from your content (content-led growth) is possible. You just need to have a few things in mind.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What is content-led growth
- The pillars of content-led growth
- AI content saturation and how it affects content creators and users
- How to increase content engagement
- How to increase SEO conversions
Ready? Let’s dive in!
What Is Content-Led Growth?
Content-led growth is a business strategy that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract, engage, and retain a clearly defined audience. This approach leverages content marketing as a key driver for business growth, instead of relying solely on traditional advertising or sales tactics.
When working towards content-led growth, businesses create and share various types of content, such as:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Social media updates
- Video tutorials
But, for the sake of simplicity, throughout this post, we’ll focus on blog posts and other forms of written content.
Most commonly, content-led growth’s guided by the goals of:
- Establishing brand authority
- Building trust with potential customers
- Driving profitable customer actions
Content-led growth is a sustainable, cost-effective approach to marketing that not only generates leads and conversions but also fosters trust and loyalty with your audience.
The Pillars of Content-Led Growth
The concept of content-led growth makes sense if you work with certain general assumptions. For instance, investing in content as a growth strategy makes sense if you believe that:
- Users are eager to connect with your brand through informative resources
- Your qualified leads are willing to consume written/video/audio content to address the goals/challenges that your company focuses on
- You can create content that offers powerful answers to your qualified users’ needs
- Your content can be a first step toward conversion
You can test these assumptions through a couple of questions:
- Are your qualified leads googling for answers? Or do they rely on other channels/strategies?
- Are the challenges you focus on addressable through content? What characteristics should this content have?
- What type of content would put your leads one step closer to their goal?
- Are your ideal clients open to consuming content in the format you’re currently using?
- Does content have a place in your customer journey? Where? What would that content look like?
The answers to these questions will vary significantly, depending on your industry, current content strategy, and ICP. If you find yourself answering negatively, don’t fret. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get results through content.
In recent months, there’s been a lot of change in the digital marketing sphere. Most of this change has come from the mass adoption of AI marketing tools. This context can definitely affect your answers to the aforementioned questions, since it threatens the viability of content marketing - especially, of the type of content marketing that focuses on blog post writing. Let’s take a closer look.
An Overview of AI Content Saturation
Almost anyone can create a blog and fill it up with thousands of blog posts, in just a couple of hours. You don’t even have to write anything or be proficient in the language the content’s in. And, while the average blog post costs $50-$450, you won’t need a big budget to get this mass content production done. You just need OpenAI, Airtable, and a CMS.
This type of spamming experiment has created some concerns among content professionals - aside from the much-publicized fear of being automated out of a job. What if AI is used to create enormous amounts of trash content that lead users to dismiss any blog post as a waste of time?
In some niches, it’s already happening. And, in others, AI is just a replacement of low-paid, non-specialized content writers that were already producing poor, unreliable content.
Can brands grow with content marketing in 2023, in spite of AI-powered content saturation? Yes, they can. But they’ll need to have a change in mindset.
How to Increase Content Engagement in 2023
In this section, we’ll help you make some key mindset shifts that are essential to attain content-led growth in 2023.
We recommend you:
- Focus on search intent
- Leave room to original thinking
- Balance opinions with solutions
- Leverage strategic repurposing
Focus on Search Intent
Keyword research isn’t just about finding terms that you should include in your content. It’s about discovering unmet user needs and addressing them in an effective way.
Understanding search intent (what the user wants to find when using a certain query) is extremely important to achieving that goal. In short, if you don’t know why a user’s looking for a certain query, you won’t be able to give them what they’re looking for. And especially, you’ll want to know which keywords are signs of high intention to convert.
With this in mind, you may find that your most relevant keywords are very low volume. Especially, as your content becomes more and more specific. But don’t worry.
Targeting low search volume queries may be worth it if they are high-intent and low-difficulty.
Don’t get caught up in keyword metrics and focus on targeting user needs. High-intent queries, however rare, have a higher chance of conversion than high-volume, low-intent keywords.
Leave Room to Original Thinking
Google recently announced its formula for high-ranking content (E.A.T.) now has a new letter.
E.A.T. means “Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness”. But now, high-ranking content will need to have “E.E.A.T.” What does the new letter stand for? Experience.
In short, Google wants original thinking and genuine first-hand accounts. This will particularly impact product review websites, but it can affect content production in general.
It may be a great time to revisit the idea of “thought leadership content”.
What is thought leadership content?
Thought leadership content showcases expertise and industry knowledge. It positions the author as an expert, providing valuable insights. This type of content often addresses current trends, issues, or future predictions. By sharing unique perspectives and actionable advice, thought leaders build credibility and trust with their audience. In turn, this strengthens their brand reputation and fosters meaningful connections with potential clients or partners.
Opinions & Solutions
Your thought leadership pieces shouldn’t just be long-winded opinions that go nowhere. Don’t forget that your content should provide genuine educational value. So balance unique opinions and powerful solutions.
Plus, don’t forget to:
- Avoid walls of text in all your sections - They can make your piece hard to read and digest
- Include lists in your solutions-oriented sections - These lists can make your piece feel more focused and actionable.
Additionally, we recommend creating different types of content, playing around with this balance. You can have collections of dry, straight-to-the-point “solution” content, and collections of brand-building opinion pieces.
Content repurposing is the practice of turning a piece of content into several others, which you then distribute across platforms. You can repurpose for the sake of repurposing. Or you can do it in a well-thought-out and strategic way.
Make sure that your repurposed content:
- Provides unique value
- Frames your content in an engaging way, without being clickbaity
You should also take steps to make sure your content repurposing is scalable and well-tracked. You won’t want repurposing to take more time than original content creation.
How to Increase SEO Conversion Rates
Unless you’re a media company, you won’t want your content to just be read and shared. You’ll want it to inspire action. What type of action? Well, conversion. That’s what content-led growth is all about.
To maximize the chance of your content inspiring conversions, we recommend:
- Reducing time-to-solution
- Focusing on high-intent topics
- Improving the reading experience
Let’s explore each one.
Don’t leave your users waiting. While time-on-page is a relevant metric for assessing content quality, you’ll want to make sure that your users don’t have to scan through walls of text to get to what they’re looking for.
You can reduce your time-to-solution by:
- Putting a powerful and relevant CTA in the middle of your article (or somewhere where it’s always visible)
- Including your product first in product showdowns or “best tools for [X]” lists
- Making your introduction shorter
- Adding a “TL;DR” section to your blog posts
Focus on High-intent Topics
Just like you just spend most of your time addressing your ICP’s needs, you just prioritize high-intent topics, rather than just creating encyclopedic articles.
A “what is [x]” piece can give you increased visibility and help you establish your brand as a go-to resource. But these types of articles don’t address your ready-to-buy leads. They’re high-volume, low-intent posts. They’re worth investing in, but they shouldn’t be your primary focus. Especially, as you move beyond your first traffic peaks.
Improve the Reading Experience
How we perceive and interact with written content is affected by the format it’s presented in.
In short, a poor reading experience can hurt your engagement and your brand perception. And these factors will have an impact on your conversions.
So make sure that your blog posts and content-heavy pages are:
- Intuitive to navigate
Content-led growth is still possible in 2023. You just need to think outside the box and question your assumptions. Don’t try to compete with high-volume AI content by producing high-volume AI content yourself.
Instead, focus on your user and tap into your brand’s uniqueness. And don’t forget to track your results and iterate as you go.
Looking for the right team to implement your content-led growth strategy? Maybe you’ve just found it. Book a free consulting session today.