Content marketing can be arguably divided into two distinct categories of practice: content creation and content promotion. Creation is necessary because the content doesn’t create itself. But many novice content marketers skimp out on promotion, which is practically necessary to make sure your work is discoverable.
Which of these categories is more important for your campaign? Should you distribute more time and money into creation or promotion? Or divide your time and money evenly?
The case for content creation
Let’s start with the case for content creation. Should you funnel all of your resources into making the best possible content you can?
Here are some of the reasons why this may be the best play:
- Excellent content has many positive side effects. Good content isn’t just about attracting people to your website. It’s also about improving the image of your brand, proving to people that you have expertise and authority in this subject. It’s also about converting people and convincing them to work with your brand.
- Bad content is worse than no content. We also need to consider the fact that bad content is usually worse than no content. If you churn out low-quality content with no regard for the preferences of your readers, your content marketing strategy is inevitably going to fail. Not only will you have trouble attracting people to your website in the first place, anyone who does stumble upon your website is going to walk away with negative perceptions of your brand. Accordingly, content does require a minimum investment in quality.
- Good content can (eventually) function independently. Hypothetically, if your content is good enough, it may eventually need no separate promotional strategy. If your blog gets big enough and your readership is loyal enough, new people will flock to your latest creations automatically and through word of mouth. The downside here, of course, is that it usually takes many years to get to this place of popularity.
- Content is permanent. One other benefit of investing in content creation is that the byproducts of your investment are permanent. The content you create, assuming it covers evergreen topics, should continue providing value to your brand indefinitely. The same can’t be said of most promotional strategies, which are temporary by nature.
Related: What Makes Copy Persuasive?
The case for content promotion
But what about content promotion? If you save money on content creation, you can pour more money into marketing and advertising; could this work out in your favor?
Here are some reasons why that could be the case:
- Good content is useless in a vacuum. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody is around to discover it. If you’re just starting a blog, people won’t be able to naturally discover it unless you do spend at least some time and money on promotion. Because of this, early-stage content promotion is a practical necessity if you ever want to make a prominent impact.
- Promotion is (arguably) less expensive than creation. You can also make the case that promotion is less expensive than creation, at least in terms of the net value you get from investing in each side of the strategy. When you pay for content creation, you’re taking a bit of a gamble, since there’s no guarantee that your content will function as intended. But when you pay on a per-click basis for advertising, you do practically guarantee a stream of visitors to your website.
- Promotion can maximize your creation investment. Another important considering factor is the reality that promotion can maximize your creation investment. Even if you have only one piece of content, continued adaptation and investment in the promotion front can help you milk more value from your content creation over time.
Keys to being successful in content marketing
No matter what, you should embrace the following to improve outcomes in your content marketing strategy:
- Start with a strong foundation. You should always start with a strong foundation. If your blog is empty, or if your content is hard to understand, no promotional strategy in the world will be able to salvage it. At a minimum, you should have at least a few strong resources on your website that people perceive as authoritative and trustworthy.
- Promote strategically. Promotion is also important, but you don’t need to go crazy with your spending to see results. As long as you’re promoting strategically, you can minimize this side of your budget and still see the benefits. For example, focus on marketing and advertising tactics that have the highest ROI, or exclusively promote pieces of content that are already excellently received by your followers.
- Learn and adapt. Perhaps most importantly, you should study your marketing analytics to learn which of your investments are paying off the most. Is your content creation investment seeing a better return than your promotional investment? If you can answer this question, you can make better content marketing decisions in the future and forge a clear path to adjusting your creation and promotion budgets.
So is it ultimately better to invest in the creation of new content or the promotion of existing content? Most brands are going to need both to see the best possible results. You need to invest heavily in the quality of your content if you want to leave people with a good impression and see higher conversion rates. But your content might be dead in the water without at least some promotional effort.