“People can recognize bad content from a mile away now, and if you are spending time developing them, well, you are wasting it.” I still remember these words of Rand Fishkin when he was speaking about the best content marketing strategy and how should we develop content. Currently, we live in an era where information is available on every known topic and if you are rephrasing what’s already available, then my friend, you are not developing useful content.
Table of Contents
- The hard-hitting truth
- a) Your strategy is 50% less effective
- b) Social sharing has dropped to Half
- c) Listicles and Clickbait Headlines have lost their effect
- d) A massive increase in the volume of content
- What’s the solution then?
- So, what is this original and research-based content?
- How am I supposed to do it?
- The future of Content Marketing
The hard-hitting truth
Buzzsumo carried out a research to find out the recent content trends where they took 100 million sample contents into account that got posted throughout 2017. Their findings were astonishing and will give you an idea of how the whole scenario has shifted from what they were only a couple of years back.
a) Your strategy is 50% less effective
If you are following the same approach for the past three years. Finding out popular keywords, compete with your rivals by posting content or trying to rank by publishing a slightly better version of what’s available aren’t going to work anymore. If this is your best content marketing strategy, you need think more.
b) Social sharing has dropped to Half
Whatever reach, likes or shares you got back in 2015 is currently a massive 50% less. Google sends more referral traffic to websites now that social media and experts attribute this drop to the recent algorithm changes and increased competition.
c) Listicles and Clickbait Headlines have lost their effect
There was a point in time when marketers used to prefer listicles or surprise headlines to provoke social media shares. However, the era has passed now.
d) A massive increase in the volume of content
Which ultimately is leading to content saturation. Think of the number of search results Google produces for a particular keyword and where your content will land among this vast crowd. Only the authority websites enjoy all the traffic and it’s really pointless to add another drop in the vast ocean.
With all these in full effect, most content out there does not get the required backlinks to rank in search engines. The drop in social reach harms the traffic volume as well. The result – you go on producing content without any return and somehow formulating the best content marketing strategy is becoming an impossible task.
What’s the solution then?
“Original Research – the most powerful format for content in the current times.” to quote the Co-Founder of Orbit Media, Andy Crestodina. And to convince you even further, here’s an image from Buzzsumo again on how original and research-based content is actually beneficial for any website.
Without a doubt, 92% of all the marketers have identified this as the best content marketing strategy and are focusing on publishing such research-based content in the upcoming year. Buzzsumo also observed that brands who already follow this path are likely to grow even more by the end of 2019. And the rest who have currently not started research-based content marketing yet intends to begin soon.
So, what is this original and research-based content?
As the name suggests, a form of content that you develop after you get down in the field, research on a topic that is yet untapped and present facts that are nowhere to be found. Something that Stone Temple does and its CEO (Eric Enge) defines the term in the perfect manner, “Let your data do the talking. Content-based on high-quality research and not on any personal bias”.
You can present your findings in the form of a blog, an infographic, a video and even a podcast. As long as it is presenting new data that no one else has on their website, you will have all the ingredients that the best content marketing strategy can provide.
– Backlinks: Every time someone refers to your data to write their own posts
– Traffic: Increased shares in social media due to new information present
– Authority: The research quality establishes you as the market expert
– Ranking: Greater inbound traffic due to an enhanced reach
– Lead Generation: A combined result of all the above
And this research-based content marketing strategy is applicable to all forms of businesses. The following data released by eMarketer shows the effectiveness of original and research-based content as compared to other forms of content marketing in case of B2B companies.
And if it works for B2B, then it’s no news that it will work for B2C as well. So, if you are still posting content about stuff that everyone has already written everything about, it’s about time you rethink your strategy.
Which brings us to the next big question, and probably the most important one of the lot.
How am I supposed to do it?
Without a doubt, you are now convinced that original and research-based content is the need of the hour. But it is naturally unfair if I ask you to produce data and facts at the level of Stone Temple or Buzzsumo. You may not have the resources to analyze 100 million posts, and you definitely cannot do it alone.
Producing a factual content is not that daunting as it may sound, you can jump in the ship that’s moving ahead now. Let me list a few ways by which you can include this method in your content marketing strategy and take on the big guns in this race to succeed.
1) First, decide on what you want to research on
You may feel that I am asking you to do a herculean task here, but I am not. Even now there are untapped areas where you can research and present facts, and you need to start by finding that question that everyone is looking the answer for. Research leads to more research, and this is the way to find the topic that is still not answered.
I have found that the more I read on a particular topic, the curious I get to learn more, and that is when new ideas start coming up. For instance, everyone is currently talking about how Facebook’s reach has decreased. You can easily take one of your posts to prove this fact with data and show your audience ways to bypass the same. How are you supposed to get this idea? Research, my friend.
2) Second, tweak the existing research to form new data
There are a lot of views on a lot of stuff. You can gather all into a particular post along with your own findings. You may also consider on updating an already existing fact and presenting figures that are in sync with the current times. If your lack of resources prevents you from carrying out extensive research, improvise.
Take this list of Ultimate Digital Marketing Statistics List from HubSpot and look what the brand has done here. They have conducted a thorough research into all the available statistics on digital marketing and compiled them into a single post. You can also follow a similar approach to your content and create that one post that saves others a lot of research time. People will refer to your page and send you a link every time they pick something up from your content.
3) Third, engage your audience and use their contribution
This is one of the most straightforward methods to develop an original and research-based content, and you will probably find brands already using it. In most advertisements, almost always the starting line is, “We asked these five people to…. ” or “We invited 50 people to….”. The concept is simple. Test your findings on a live audience and present the results in your content.
It can be as simple as asking them to define a term or prove a particular theory. Continuing with our Facebook reach example, you can present your observation to a group of people online and request their feedback on the same. Convert the responses into a percentage, and that can be your new data. You researched, you analyzed and whatever you write is entirely original.
4) Fourth, keep your patience and continue posting
Again, in the words of Eric Enge, “Do not expect to become famous with just one research-based content. It’s a process, and you should continue to post such content without thinking of the result.” Your ulterior motive may be to promote your brand through the content and to generate leads and revenue, but that should not get reflected either in your content or the research process.
Heidi Cohen of Actionable Marketing Guide observes that making the research revenue based dilutes the very purpose of it. The data you present won’t be convincing enough, and you will lose your patience every time there’s no ROI. Do it because you owe good content to your readers and that will fulfill your need to formulate the best content marketing strategy.
Amidst all these, always keep your target audience in mind. You cannot present a B2B research to people who are actually consumers. Your post will have no effect on your readers and all that time will get wasted anyway. The entire research process must include your audience and only then can it be a job well done.
The future of Content Marketing
And there is actually no debate about it. If you are already considering original and research-based content in your content marketing strategy, you are on the right track. If not, it’s high time you do. The big brands have dedicated teams to do the market research for them. New companies are coming up just to work in this research field. There is enough evidence to point out that this is indeed the future and those who identify it, will ultimately come out as the winner.
Let me know your thoughts on this article and let us continue the conversation below. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂 .