• July 22, 2017

Is Content Still King? The Future of Inbound Marketing

Is Content Still King? The Future of Inbound Marketing

When you open your laptop or your phone, load your email, refresh your Twitter feed, browse through Facebook, even open up Slack to communicate with your team – you are immediately bombarded with content from inside and outside your own organization. So is content still king? Or more like the prince?

Newsletters, blogs, Medium posts, Quora digests, Facebook Live videos, podcasts on iTunes… How can one person even keep up with the amount of content that’s produced and distributed daily within our local and national tech community? It’s overwhelming honestly and I find myself skimming most of it or deleting all together due to sheer overload and lack of time.

Recently on the VentureApp Boston Tech network, I’ve noticed this trend in conversations with marketers. Even marketers that crank out content weekly, daily, and hourly, are admitting that it all piles up and not every piece of content makes an impact. In fact, we’re lucky when one piece makes an impact and often struggle to find the commonalities between the pieces that do make an impact… What makes your prospects and subscribers tick and how can you replicate and scale that sort of attention and engagement?

Let’s take a look at some of the conversations our very own Greg Gomer had in the past 2 weeks, which spurred this train of thought for me.

Relationships are King Now

Greg recently chatted with Mike Troiano. In addition to being a VC at G20 Ventures, Mike is a marketing master (seriously, we’re huge subscribers to the Trap school of marketing and highly recommend checking out some of his content). As the CMO of Actifio, Mike was frequently lauded for his work and marketing chops. Now, Mike is investing in other startups and undoubtedly influencing startups around the city on their marketing strategy. Greg dove into his public chat with Mike by asking about the state of inbound marketing and the types of content that are impacting businesses in this new economy.

Read Greg’s full chat w/ Mike Troiano on VentureApp

Mike confirmed our thoughts – content is still important, but there’s so much of it. Everybody’s creating content and it’s noisy. How can you make sure that the content you’re taking time and effort to create will drive value for you? Make sure your content drives value for your readers – for the people you want to attract to your blog, your product, and your business.

The Undiscovered Quality of Podcasts

Does that go for all types of content, or just blogs? Well, Mike suggested that podcasts are not just a fad. He’s bullish on podcasts because they offer an opportunity to connect with listeners in a more intimate way – blog content is a much different writer/reader relationship. It’s fleeting. Also, podcasts integrate with the life of the listener – now you can connect with people in their car during their commute, on the T, while they eat breakfast or lunch, or make dinner.

 

Here are some really interesting trends and stats from Salesforce around podcast listeners for all you marketers out there ready to make the jump and take Mike’s recommendation:

  • On average, people spend 4 hours a day listening to audio.
  • People who are weekly podcast listeners spend a mean time of 5 hours and 7 minutes per week listening to podcasts.
  • Monthly podcast consumers subscribe to an average of six podcasts.
  • Forty-four percent of monthly listeners enjoy most of the podcast; 42% check out the entire episode.
  • Interesting comparison stat from HubSpot about video marketing: Videos under 90 seconds see an average retention rate of 53% while videos over 30 minutes retain only 10%. That goes to show the importance of integrating with the lives of your viewers.

OK, still want more proof? Greg also spoke with Dave Gerhardt, director of marketing at Drift, a hot Boston startup tackling business messaging for marketing, sales, and customer support. The discussed the very same topic:

Read Greg’s full chat with Dave Gerhardt on VentureApp

Similar sentiment to Mike, but interesting perspective from Dave: how can you actually reach your customers after they’ve read a blog or listened to a podcast? Awareness and traffic is nice, but conversion is still key. Drift is banking on business chat to make that experience more personal and thus quicker to convert. So much so that they’re even coining a new metric that’s important for inbound marketers that places a focus on on-demand and real-time expectations from users.

According to Drift, and you can read more about this on their blog, “A CQL is someone who has expressed intent to buy during a one-to-one conversation with either A) an employee at your company, or B) an intelligent sales assistant (bot).”

Drift CQL description

Is blog content going away any time soon? Will marketers stop paying attention to inbound traffic? Hardly. It will continue to shift and the industry will continue to adjust with new channels, conversion strategies, and an ever increasing focus on personalization as the internet gets more and more noisy.

It should be an interesting evolution for marketers who have been so trained to crank out content for the sake of cranking out content. More reason than ever to stay updated on the latest trends and developments, and of course, to engage with experts and follow conversations between influencers to stay educated.

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