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What are the Pros and Cons of Content Marketing?

Information Overload

If you try Googling “Is content marketing a good strategy?”, over a billion hits come up.  Clearly, it’s something a few people are thinking about.  As with anything else, there are pros and cons to this approach that are crucial to understand before investing time, energy, and money into it.  

Instead of sifting through a billion articles, we’ll try to answer right here whether or not content marketing is right for you as we take a look at both the good and the bad.

But first…

What is Content Marketing?

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Let’s start with what it’s not.  Content marketing is not an in-your-face, “you need to buy this product right now” type of approach.  Rather, it’s an omnichannel strategy which involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content (blog posts, social media updates, videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks, whitepapers, and more) to attract and retain a target audience, with the goal of driving profitable customer action.

The main goal, or focus, of content marketing is really centered on providing useful information rather than directly promoting a particular product or service.  The long-term benefit of this is companies can build a relationship of trust and authority with their audience, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry.

What are the Pros of Content Marketing?

Content marketing is widely utilized, and for good reason.  I mean, what company wouldn’t want….

Increased Brand Awareness/Higher Website Traffic

When you consistently publish high quality content across various platforms, the resulting visibility, establishment of brand authority, engagement with the audience, and differentiation from competitors will inevitably boost brand awareness.  When you are serious about meeting the needs and interests of a particular audience, it becomes much easier to create a loyal community around your brand.

As people become more aware of a particular brand, an obvious side effect is increased traffic to its website.  This can be bolstered by effective keyword research, on-page SEO techniques, and high-quality backlink acquisition.  Also, the creation of shareable and engaging content encourages social shares, leading to additional website engagement. 

Increased Lead Generation

Through the use of eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, and newsletters, companies can provide informative and relevant content which addresses the needs and wants of customers.  In exchange for accessing this valuable content, companies will often ask for contact information.  

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This is a great way to collect leads and build a database of potential customers who have expressed interest in what a company has to offer.  Content marketing also nurtures leads through strategic email marketing campaigns and targeted landing pages, guiding them through the sales funnel and converting them into qualified leads. 

Improved Customer Engagement

It’s no secret that when customers are more engaged with a brand, they're more likely to purchase products and services from it.  By creating content that addresses the pain points and interests of customers, companies can ensure that this is happening.  This is often done through encouraging customers to comment on blog posts, participate in polls or surveys, and leaving reviews or testimonials. 

Better Customer Retention

The value of customer retention is probably best summed up by a quote from David Hornik of Lobby Capital, “ is way easier most of the time to get more dollars out of folks who already believe in your product than it is to get new people to believe in your product.”  With that in mind, through regular communication and delivery of blog posts, newsletters, and personalized emails, content marketing helps businesses stay top-of-mind with their customers by providing ongoing value and addressing their needs.  This leads to improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately improved customer retention.

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Lower Cost Compared to Traditional Advertising

Money matters.  Therefore, if a company can effectively reach their audience for less money by employing a certain type of marketing strategy, then it should be a no brainer.  Whereas traditional advertising methods (print ads, TV commercials, billboards) can be expensive, content marketing relies on more cost-effective content that can be created in-house and distributed through various channels, such as blogs, social media, email newsletters, and more.   

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Measurable Results

It’s very difficult to manage what you can't measure.  One major plus of content marketing efforts is the ability to actually see (measure) if they’re working.  Through the use of key performance indicators such as website traffic, engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments), conversion rates, and email open rates, companies can track the success of their content and make data-driven decisions to optimize their strategy moving forward.  The bottom line:  you start spending more on what's working, and less on what's not. 

Repurposing Content

One of the unique advantages of content marketing is the ability to repurpose content.  For example, a blog post can be turned into a video, an infographic, or a social media post.  The value of this for companies is that it saves time, resources, and extends the lifespan of their content, maximizing its value and impact. 

What are the Cons of Content Marketing?

Many blogs about content marketing end after discussing the benefits, and while there are a million and one reasons for employing content marketing strategies, some of the downsides are also worth considering even if they are ultimately not deal breakers.  Let’s take a look at a few….

Time-Consuming/Results Will Take Time

If something can be created quickly, then it’s rarely of high quality.  Creating good content is not usually a fast process as it requires thorough research, planning, and execution. It involves tasks such as topic ideation, keyword research, content creation, editing, proofreading, and publishing.  In addition, managing multiple content channels, responding to comments, and keeping up with content updates can further add to the time investment.

Also, the results themselves will often take time to materialize, especially for companies that are just starting out or operating in a competitive industry.  Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires ongoing investment and commitment to ultimately succeed. 

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Dealing with Algorithm Changes

Here’s a common scenario:  a company finds a social media or blog strategy that’s working, so they become more efficient at and things are going great until…there’s the dreaded algorithm change.  When platforms update their algorithms (which can affect keyword rankings, content relevancy, engagement metrics, and distribution) it alters how content is discovered and ranked, making it challenging to stay ahead of the curve. 

Requires Expertise

Most industries require specialized skills, and marketing is no exception.  Content marketers, often through research and analysis, must gain a solid understanding of the audience's demographics, behaviors, preferences, and needs to create content that truly resonates and adds value. 

Content Saturation

There are tons of blog posts out there.  Tomorrow there will be even more.  One downside of content marketing is the concept of content saturation, which can lead to increased competition, decreased visibility, and difficulty in outranking other websites in Google.  Even if you’re producing quality content, it can easily get lost in the shuffle.  

Time-Sensitive Deadlines

Churning out content that is relevant to the needs of your audience is important, but it’s only part of the battle; it also needs to be delivered in a timely manner.  Many social media posts, for example, can be time sensitive if they are highlighting a particular webinar or product release.  Content needs to be delivered on a consistent schedule and sometimes this can result in rushed or subpar content, especially when juggling multiple projects or campaigns.

Quick GIF Review

Is content marketing an effective strategy? 

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Is it the right approach for your company?  

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You need to be aware of that it is 

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