Content Marketing or Paid Ads: Which is Right for You?

You’ve got a great product or service you want to let the world know about. You could pay for web advertising or create a content marketing plan, but what’s the best way to reach your target audience? 
It depends on your marketing and business goals. 

Rise to the (SERP) Top
Content marketing allows your company to connect with your audience and build trust. Trust is important because customers these days are discerning. They want to spend their dollars with a company that provides them with answers to their questions and is seen as a thought leader in the industry. 

Thought leaders are also rewarded in searches by Google. We’ve previously written about how Google changed its algorithms to focus on providing more relevant search results for the user. Where you show up in Search Engine Results Pages is based on the number of quality links pointing to your website, how many clicks it gets in the SERPs, customer reviews, social media mentions and user experience. 

Users want quality, in-depth content — the kind of content you can create in your content marketing plan. This content allows you to demonstrate your company as a thought leader and show off its expertise. Ranking high in SERPs is important for B2B companies because nearly three-fourths of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. And, 96 percent of B2B buyers want more information from industry thought leaders before making a purchase. In fact, 47 percent of buyers look at three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. 

Connect with Content
When you have quality content, you want to share it! Social media allows you to connect with your audience and potential clients. You are able to post about a new case study or blog and then interact with followers. Medium's Strategic Content Marketing recommends also engaging with experts in your field.  Read your favorite experts’ books and write reviews on your website (which you then promote on social media). Ask the experts for a guest post or for an interview. Remember to tag the expert in any related posts, because that will generate more views and connections for you!

Look to Paid Ads for Quick Boost
It can take time to see the payoff from your content marketing plan, so paid advertising may be the right choice for you when you have a product or service you want to show up at a specific time at the top of a Google search or when someone is surfing the web. Paid advertising boosts sales or web traffic, but only for the period of time you pay for the ad to run. This is why it’s typically a better strategy for consumer-focused retail companies. 

Your Ad May Not Be Seen
The risk in display advertising campaigns is that the people you want to see the ads won’t because of ad blockers. Ad blocker usage keeps going up. At the end of 2016, there were 615 million devices running adblock software across the world. A survey by Page Fair of internet users in the United States found that nearly all would stop going to websites that require them to disable their adblock software. 

Which Method is Right for You?
That depends on your objective. If you want to quickly implement a way to get your name out in front of potential clients, then paid advertising makes sense. It allows you to get at the top of SERPs and in front of people looking to make a purchase. Content marketing takes time to implement as you have to devote more time to writing the content and distributing it in the appropriate channels. 

However, that content is more valuable over the long run because people will continue to find it after your paid ad has stopped running. Hubspot estimates that old blog posts on evergreen topics generate nearly 38 percent of a company’s total traffic. Paid advertising requires additional spending to keep your ad out there, whereas most content marketing costs are upfront in creating the content. 

The right answer for you may be a mixture of both options. 

If you want to implement a content marketing strategy, but don’t have in-house resources for it, don’t worry. We can help. Our team will work with you to create an integrated content marketing plan, determine what type of content to produce (blogs, white papers, infographics, etc.) and how to promote this content to potential clients. We’ll produce the content you need to support your business plan. 

Contact us to see how we can help your business.  

Jennifer Nelson