It can be difficult to define a marketing budget, but it helps to look at how peers are allocating resources. We decided to start with ourselves.
Why You’ll Be Hearing From Us Less
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If you’re a long-time reader of the Kinesis blog, you’ve probably become accustomed to seeing new articles and insights from us approximately every other week. We hope you’ve found this helpful! However, we’re taking this opportunity to announce an important shift in our content marketing strategy. We hope you’ll find this shift helpful too.
The Kinesis Content Marketing Story
The Kinesis blog got off the ground in 2005, when the word “blog” (or, formerly, “web log”) was just barely eeking its way into our regular vernacular – particularly for business. And we weren’t alone: this was a period of exponential growth for the blogosphere. In 1999 there were 23 blogs on the internet – by the middle of 2006, that number had ballooned to 50 million blogs.
And it made sense: blogs were a surefire way to drive traffic, build SEO equity, and showcase your expertise in a time when your competition wasn’t even guaranteed to have a website.
A lot has changed since then - including technology, marketing tactics, and (most importantly) the reduced cheesiness of our posed staff photos. But like many at that time, Kinesis saw success with our blogging strategy. We were one of the first out of the gate with regular content marketing – we built an audience, we grew our resource library, and we rode the coattails of this swell in traffic for a number of years.
In many ways, it was like the advent of TV commercials – we had our customers’ exclusive attention in a way that had never before been explored. And it worked! In 2014, more leads came through SEO and the website than any other lead source in our CRM combined. In fact, it's true even today that if you type "Portland Marketing Firm" in Google, you'll usually see us near the top of the page.
But then something began to shift. Externally, the rest of the world was beginning to catch up to this approach – and after being inundated with content, it became more challenging for readers to separate the signal from the noise. Metaphorically speaking, they were turning down the volume during the commercial break. But also internally, our goals around content began to change.
What’s Your Strategy?
At Kinesis, we think a lot about the “WHY” behind everything we do – in that we never want to do something simply because that’s how it’s always been done. Which is why when it came time to revisit our content marketing strategy, it was worth asking what was working well, and what we were hoping to achieve.
Even today, content marketing remains one of our greatest lead sources by volume. But as we’ve said before, it’s important to pay attention to the right metrics. Sure, content was bringing in leads – but were they qualified leads? Did they convert? Or, were they creating more noise for our sales team with little return?
In the interest of eating our own dogfood, we did what we often encourage our clients to do: ask the tough questions, and (if necessary) rewrite the script.
The New Kinesis Approach
What we found when looking at our sales funnel of late was that our best leads were not coming from the website – they were coming from making meaningful connections through events, networking, and organizational partnerships.
The content on our blog is still valuable to this end, in that it supports and supplements our sales process. Reciprocally, our team out in the community is able to put an ear to the ground for common business issues that we may be able to help address in the blog.
So, this doesn’t mean we’re going to stop writing blog posts – but it does mean rewriting what “success” looks like on our blog. Rather than focusing on putting out frequent content for SEO and clicks (the way someone might consume reruns of an old sitcom), we’re pivoting to fewer, higher-value posts (the way you’d devote a block of your evening to high-quality shows like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things.).
Our new blog posts will go out once a month, rather than biweekly – and will hopefully create richer engagements than just pageviews.
What This Means For You
If you’re an active reader of the Kinesis blog, this just means we’ll land in your inbox or your newsfeed about half as often – and with any luck, the content will be twice as worthy of your attention.
But even if you’re not a frequent reader, there are some lessons to be learned here that could apply to your business as well:
Know your WHO.
When revisiting our blog strategy and approach, we took a long, hard look at who we were ultimately trying to reach in our marketing – and whether that matched the type of persona interacting with our blog. We realized that business owners and leaders often don’t have the time or patience to sift through a high quantity of articles (they have a business to run, after all). Instead, these folks appreciate thoughtful and infrequent insights that will help improve their business strategy or help them see things in a new way.
This strategy could be right for you if: You are in the B2B space, and you have a very narrow audience (like business owners) with similar reading habits and limited time.
Focus on quality over quantity.
The name of the game in content marketing has long been “frequency” – the prevailing wisdom being that if you can stay in front of your audience more often, they’re likely to think of you when it’s time to pick up the phone. Unfortunately, this has led to an over-arching trend in marketing of copying other people’s ideas and sharing them over and over again. Rather than focusing on volume of communication, consider how important, relevant, and engaging your content is.
This strategy could be right for you if: You offer a product or service that is a considered purchase, and your sales cycle is long.
Create relationships, not transactions.
We recently spoke with a company who sends two emails to their list every day. The reasoning here is simple: Email marketing is cheap and easy, and the more often they reach out, the higher the likelihood of a purchase. This logic would almost pencil out if they were focused on transactions alone – but the flip side of the equation is how many people were unsubscribing, and how their brand was being perceived. At Kinesis, we’re more interested in creating long-lasting, meaningful dialogues with our marketing.
This strategy could be right for you if: Your customer lifetime value is high, and clients tend to stay with you for a long time.
Marketing is, above all else, an experiment.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: marketing is a moving target. “Set it and forget it” will never be used to describe a successful strategy – so you should be measuring and re-evaluating often to ensure you’re staying on top of the latest trends in your customer’s behavior. Moreover, continually ask yourself what it is you’re looking to achieve with any marketing tactic. Is it more eyeballs on your brand? Greater engagement with the network you already have? More leads? Higher conversion rates? Improved brand perception? Whatever the case, be a responsible scientist about it – form a hypothesis and test, test, test.
We’ve tested this hypothesis and are now ready to implement a big change to our strategy – but if circumstances change in the future, we won’t be shy about pivoting again. Thanks to our readers for following along with us, and we look forward to continuing to provide you with meaningful content that makes a difference for you and your business.