We live in an age of digital excess, when a thousand articles get published every minute online. Competition in content marketing has never been as strong as it is now, so brands need to put even more efforts to dominate, especially in B2B, where the sales cycle is much longer. However, Zoho company found ways to flourish in a state of content saturation, and here’s their secret.

 

More content is the future?

We hear words “content marketing” so often lately, it almost set our teeth on edge. It’s marketers’ latest top focus of attention: according to Demand Metric, 90% of organizations market with content, they spend over 25% on content marketing on average and, as Curata reports, 75% plan to increase their spendings on it. There’s just a never-ending war for attention, as Mark Schaefer points out, and it gets significantly harder for brands to stand out and earn customer’s attention and trust.

Striving to battle for users, brands do whatever they can to withstand a competition online in a highly saturated Internet. Many marketers see the solution in increasing the quantity of content: this year 72% already produce more content than in previous year and 76% admit they’ll be releasing even more in the future. For instance, millennials’ favorite media giant BuzzFeed published 6,365 posts and 319 videos this April, which is nearly 7 and 30 times higher accordingly than numbers they got in April 2012. The reason of popularity of this approach is quite simple: the bigger the content volume the more traffic you get.

 

Why brands choose to build content hubs

All in all, it’s hard and costly to create only original content on regular basis, so using content marketing mix seems rather reasonable. Practicing different types of content, including white papers, social media posts, videos, reports and others, many brands eventually opt for expanding to content hubs, a single digital platform for all mixed media. Why?

Content hubs have various advantages that make them so appealing to marketers. First, it’s much easier to analyze one big source than 10 separate channels. Second, a content hub gives higher level of engagement and keeps visitors for longer period of time, now that’s so easy to navigate through other pieces of content that might be relevant for them and find answers to their needs. Third, by covering a vast semantic core you make Google get into favor for your website. “Having in-depth, quality content will naturally increase the number of queries your content is designed to answer,” says Sarah Furbank, senior content marketing specialist at Fresh Egg. Last but not least, content hubs generate more leads, which is the most important goal for 85% of marketers. CTA forms don’t look so disturbing, because they displayed as an integrated part of the content experience.

 

Challenges brands face when establishing content hubs

Although content hubs seem to be effective, especially for high content volume approach, and prerogative for B2B specifically, they bring lots of challenges.

  • Lack of educated and relevant creators. To maintain a hub brand needs a lot of content, which means hiring creators and editors with authoritative voice and knowledge, which is time-consuming and costly. Finding quality writers on niche subjects for an affordable price” is even more complex, as Katy Katz, Content Director at Inturact.com, says.
  • Lack of effective automated methods. While content automation is an ongoing trend, it’s not so easy to find a right method that actually benefits your content marketing strategy, not ruins it. Without taking time to process, on what stage of content marketing automation can actually make sense, often its implementation leads to a downfall.
  • Problem with ROI. The ROI question is one of the biggest in content marketing. Often large companies, especially when expanding internationally, invest loads of money in content marketing efforts, but in the end their expenses turn out to be unjustifiably high. They sign fat checks to content marketing agencies, believing that the cost of falling flat is much bigger, and don’t know how to optimize their spendings without losing the quality.

However, content hubs are growing in popularity and there’s a wide list of successful cases, proving that efforts are paying off. Here’s an insight on how Zoho managed to blend customized and automation solutions in their content marketing strategy to boost brand awareness.

 

Zoho’s case

20 year old Zoho tech enterprise company produces many smart software solutions for businesses. Over the years its services won the hearts of more than 18 million users in over 122 countries. Zoho continues to grow fast globally without venture fundings, experimenting with over 100 ideas, which make $500 million in revenues a soon achievable goal.

Today for raising Zoho brand’s awareness and expanding its thought leadership the company actively put efforts to content marketing. Understanding the responsibilities as an international company and the complexity of content marketing localization, Zoho decided to focus on three main levels:

  1. Original content creation for certain channels and campaigns with the help of relevant authors and copywriters.
  2. Automatization of content flow that helps to take under control setting tasks and their implementation.
  3. Using various tools of content curation.

The last point receives special attention of the company’s marketing executives. They use content curation tools for content planning as well as for plenty of other tasks, including posting on social media channels. In their opinion, it helps to overcome challenges with the search of relevant topics, which fit the interests of the target audience and form the basis of an effective content plan, many companies are facing.

Zoho never stops searching for best tools, whether by testing existing services and evaluating its effectiveness and ROI, or inventing their own customized solutions. According to the recent results, Zoho management notes that by using social listening and content curation tools they were able to reduce costs by 86% and increase engagement levels by 29%.

As Internet gets more saturated, corporate businesses have to face even more challenges in reaching their target audience effectively. It’s getting obvious that tried and true automation techniques from big vendors don’t deliver results anymore, so brands opt for combined or customized solutions. And this trend is only getting bigger.

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