An economic downturn often leads to businesses cutting back on their marketing efforts in an attempt to reduce costs. Yet, it is at these times that businesses should actually look to ramp up their marketing outputs to capitalise on the reduced competition and changing consumer needs.
This is true for content marketing in particular. After all, content is a strategic approach that’s all about playing the long game. You can’t just hit pause and fall off the face of the earth, and expect your customers to still trust and buy from you. We explore some of the key reasons why you should consider investing in content marketing during an economic downturn and how one of our B2B clients achieved great success doing just that…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but content marketing isn’t all about generating leads and sales (well, it is but there’s a lot more to it than that!). Content is about building trust and credibility with your audience. Consistently delivering valuable, informative, and engaging content over time is what forges strong relationships. If you abruptly halt your content efforts, you risk eroding the trust you’ve worked so hard to establish.
Content is a key part of the ‘attract’ phase of the marketing flywheel, such as in the form of blog articles, videos, or social media posts. These are the initial touchpoints your customers have with your brand and are vital in drawing new customers into the sales funnel, addressing their pain points, and introducing them to your offering. This initiates the process of turning strangers into leads! We often have clients failing to understand the value of content marketing when they can’t see the immediate monetary results and, the truth is, the ROI of content can be tricky to calculate, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there! If no one can find your brand in the first place or if they do happen to stumble across your site but there’s no content there to explain who you are, what you do, and how you can help, they are unlikely to even begin their journey with you.
B2B transactions often involve more complex, long-term relationships compared to B2C interactions. Customers in the B2B space rely on their vendors not only for products or services but also for expertise, guidance, and problem-solving. Consistent, valuable content helps nurture these relationships over time.
Not to mention, regularly publishing content relevant to your industry and customers keeps your brand top of mind. It reminds your customers why they chose to work with you in the first place. When you stop producing content, you risk fading into the background, making it easier for competitors to swoop in. In fact, 90% of B2B buyers would go to a competitor if their usual supplier failed to keep up with their needs!
Content marketing is an essential tool in the ‘delight’ phase of the marketing flywheel. This is where you continue to engage, delight, and satisfy your existing customers, turning them into loyal advocates for your brand. Neglecting this phase by cutting content can lead to dissatisfaction among your current customer base, and they may start exploring alternatives. Did you know that the average company loses 10-25% of its customers each year? Imagine how many that would be if you stopped your retention efforts!
As mentioned above, trust is the foundation of any B2B relationship. Content that provides insightful information, educates, and addresses pain points reinforces the trust your customers have in your expertise. Cutting content during the ‘delight’ phase can signal to your customers that you are no longer invested in their success, destroying the trust you’ve built.
The ‘delight’ phase is also an ideal time to introduce existing customers to additional products or services they may benefit from. Well-crafted content can subtly promote these offerings while providing value to the customer. Pausing content means missed opportunities for upselling and cross-selling!
In the digital landscape, it’s vital to remember that when you’re thinking about pausing content creation, competitors may be doing the same, which can present a unique opportunity for your brand. While it might seem counterintuitive, a momentary lull in content from both you and your competitors means that your audience still craves valuable information. By maintaining or even increasing your content efforts during such times, you can fill the void when others are silent, positioning yourself as a trusted resource. This proactive approach not only safeguards your audience but also allows you to capture a larger share of their attention and loyalty when competitors are less active, potentially strengthening your market position.
SEO is a dynamic and ongoing endeavour, and content creation is pivotal to this. When content generation grinds to a halt, it disrupts your website’s SEO momentum. Search engines prioritise fresh, relevant content, and as you pause, your organic rankings may slip, impacting your online visibility. The consequences of this decline may not be immediately evident but can accumulate over time. Competitors who maintain content efforts may advance in search rankings, making it tougher for potential customers to find you.
Moreover, rebuilding your organic presence post-pause demands substantial resources, including creating new content, optimising existing pages, and regaining search engine positions. This process can be lengthy and costly, resulting in missed opportunities. Moreover, search engines reward consistency, and regular content publication signals an active and reliable website. Therefore, continuity in content creation is not merely about maintaining SEO; it’s essential for ongoing improvement and competitiveness in the digital landscape.
According to HubSpot’s 2023 State of Marketing Report, 88% of marketers who already invest in SEO plan to allocate more or maintain the same amount of investment this year, which shows that now certainly is not the time to stop or slow down!
“Despite economic uncertainties, pausing content creation risks SEO momentum and visibility. Consistency in content indicates an active, reliable site; it’s not just maintenance but the key to thriving in digital competition.”
Heemesh Vara, Head of SEO at Semetrical
Ultimately, it all boils down to this: consistency matters. Consistency in content creation is vital for maintaining brand visibility and relevance in the digital realm. Regular content updates keep your brand on your audience’s radar, demonstrating your ongoing commitment and availability. Whether that’s for brand awareness, search rankings, website traffic, social engagement and following – you name it – consistency is key. In the digital landscape, the conversation never truly stops, and consistent content ensures your brand remains a prominent participant in the ongoing dialogue.
“You can have the best quality posts and content in the world, but if you’re not consistent with your marketing around it, you may as well have not made it in the first place. A huge avenue of opportunity for content promotion is social media, and many sites such as X, LinkedIn, and TikTok have internal search results that look very favourably upon the user posting consistently, even if they aren’t going viral. It’s a long-term strategy that can take weeks or even months to see the results for, but it’s a far more sustainable route of growth and retention marketing, than trying to maintain growth following a single viral post.”
Max Meads, Social Media Specialist at Semetrical
Our project with leading office provider Orega Offices began at a very turbulent time, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, government restrictions prevented professionals from going into the office and the majority of the nation worked from home.
“We began working with Semetrical during one of the most challenging years, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and many people being forced to work from home. Nonetheless, working together, we succeeded at increasing rankings for our priority pages and gained valuable backlinks from high authority publications.”
Amar Sanghera, Digital Marketing Manager at Orega
While this may not seem like the right time to promote office space, we set out to increase quality traffic and leads for the Orega website, for ‘serviced office’ location pages in particular.
We leveraged a combination of technical SEO, on-site content optimisation, Digital PR, and Analytics insight to achieve +170.7% YOY growth.
The content team implemented website copy changes to key landing pages, as well as publishing informative blog content with optimal internal linking to target these pillar pages. The Digital PR team also delivered an off-page SEO strategy that focused on raising brand visibility and gaining valuable backlinks to the Orega site.
Our omni-channel strategy led to success across the board, including increased site traffic, conversions, page rankings, and high-authority backlinks.
In fact, despite the overall search trend for ‘office space’ related terms decreasing at the time, we succeeded at increasing organic traffic and revenue to Orega’s site!
Overall we experienced…
Start by defining clear and specific content marketing goals. Determine what you want to achieve, whether it’s increased website traffic, lead generation, brand awareness, or thought leadership. Having well-defined objectives helps you allocate resources more effectively. And with this, you can then develop a comprehensive content strategy that outlines the types of content you’ll create, the topics you’ll cover, and the channels you’ll use. A well-thought-out strategy ensures that your content efforts are aligned with your set goals.
It’s better to produce a few high-quality pieces than to churn out a large volume of low-quality content. Quality content is more likely to engage your audience and yield better results. Not to mention, brands that put stuff out there for the sake of it, without direction or purpose, typically end up causing content bloat on their site and deleting it during the auditing process a year down the line.
Upskilling your content teams is a savvy move that amplifies the value of your content efforts. For one, a skilled team produces high-quality content more efficiently, enabling increased output within budget constraints. Their versatility in creating various content formats, coupled with the ability to repurpose existing content, extends the content’s reach and lifespan. Additionally, their digital marketing expertise ensures strategic content distribution and optimisation for better performance, potentially even reducing outsourcing needs or improving the value you receive from your agencies or freelancers. Investing in content training will prove invaluable in the long-run and return dividends for your marketing performance.
Make the most of your existing content by repurposing it into different formats. For example, turn a blog post into a podcast episode, infographic, or video. This maximises the value of your content and reaches different audience segments. This way, you can make one piece of content go further, while increasing its impact.
“Content holds advantages over other media formats in that it can be easily translated from a blog post into a variety of new, eye-catching formats. Many of these, such as video and slideshows, translate brilliantly to usage on social media, where they often gain many times the engagement that a simple repost of your blog can be expected to achieve!
The best part is this means you’re able to cherry-pick the most interesting, insightful or otherwise stand-out quotes and give them an extra run in the spotlight, and the attention they deserve. At Semetrical, we have repurposed our evergreen content such as case studies into eye-catching visual displays on social media, which have often been our highest-performing pieces of the month!”
Max Meads, Social Media Specialist at Semetrical
Develop a content calendar that outlines what content will be created, when it will be published, and who is responsible for its creation. A well-organised calendar helps ensure consistency and efficiency. In many instances, lack of planning can lead to wasted budgets, duplicate work, and content campaigns falling short due to lack of amplification or missed deadlines. Make sure your editorial calendar is a living document, like a Google sheet or a trello or monday board, and is easily accessible by all team members involved.
“Speaking of amplification, there’s no better way to promote your unique content that likely contains lots of interesting chunks of information than through an engaging digital PR strategy. We often find that our clients’ blogs are a treasure trove of relevant anecdotes, statistics, tips, and opinions that the press love, so where possible, consider repurposing your content campaigns to outreach to the media. Doing so will help you reach new audiences and earn those all-important backlinks to your website.”
Laura Bamford, Senior Digital PR Manager at Semetrical
In an economic downturn, the temptation to cut costs and trim budgets can be strong, but as you can see, investing in content remains a strategic imperative for B2B businesses. Content isn’t just a line item in your marketing budget; it’s an invaluable asset for maintaining your brand’s relevance, trust, and competitive edge. By consistently delivering valuable and informative content, you’re not only nurturing your existing customer base but also positioning yourself as a trusted resource for potential clients.
In uncertain times, the resilience and long-term benefits of content investment shine, ensuring that your business doesn’t just weather the storm but emerges stronger on the other side!
Are you looking for support to help you navigate uncertainty in your market and get the most out of your content resources? Check out our content marketing services or get in touch to find out how we can help you.