Brands like HubSpot, Buffer, Canva, Ahrefs, Zapier, and others are killing it with content marketing, showcasing the power of content-driven growth. Through strategic auditing, creation, promotion, and regular updates of content, these brands have achieved exponential and sustainable growth, giving them a significant competitive advantage. Their success stems from owning a wealth of evergreen content that is difficult for competitors to replicate.
However, content-driven growth, like any marketing strategy, is not without its myths, ambiguities, and uncertainties. Let's debunk the top content-driven growth myths, providing solutions for each myth and illustrating how you can turn these misconceptions into success factors.
What Is Content-Driven Growth?
Business growth generated by content (marketing) is known as content-driven growth or content-led growth. In simple words, it is content marketing that takes a holistic approach with a focus on growth.
Just like there is product-led growth that’s driven by the product, content-driven growth relies on the content you generate and own more than anything else that your brand owns. The content is used for brand awareness, lead generation, and sales, and it acts as the backbone of your sales funnel.
Ahrefs is a great example. The SaaS brand relies heavily on content marketing, which led to 65% growth in ARR. The growth was generated from its blog, and the CMO said in a LinkedIn post that the company didn’t use a lot of non-content growth strategies:
This is an example of optimized content that can be used for exponential growth.
The content could include text, audio, video, images, or any other form, so it isn’t just limited to a particular content type. And content-driven growth can be achieved via two strategies:
- Editorial content: The content your team creates, publishes, and promotes. This includes content repurposing, content syndication, content curation, and other content marketing best practices.
- User-generated content (UGC): This type of content-driven growth is attributed to the content generated by users. Reddit and Quora are perfect examples of UGC-driven content growth. The editorial team acts as a moderator and doesn’t focus on content generation in this case.
Almost all brands create both types of content. User-generated content is always there in the form of reviews, social media posts, word-of-mouth, and other forms.
The only difference is that brands that capitalize on both editorial and user-generated content see growth.
5 Myths About Content-Driven Growth
Here are the top content-driven growth myths that ruin your strategy and what you can do to fix them:
Myth #1: Content = Content Marketing
Content is not equivalent to content marketing. If you think that simply publishing new articles on your blog is what content marketing is all about, you are wrong.
Content-driven growth requires content marketing — not just content.
Content marketing is a systematic, strategic, and long-term marketing approach that focuses on content creation, publication, and promotion to acquire and retain ideal customers. It covers your entire funnel and is much more than content creation.
Content marketing is a robust, continuous seven-step process that starts from research and ends at engagement and then starts again:
Content is just one part of the content marketing strategy. If you are creating content, it does not mean content marketing. And if you are only creating and publishing content with no marketing, it might not deliver results as expected.
If you need growth from content, create and execute a content marketing strategy — not just content.
Myth #2: There Is One Size Fits All
A common content-driven growth myth is related to copying your competitors. Most brands do not reinvent the wheel and stick with what worked for other companies. And this is what makes your content marketing strategy a failure.
There is no one size fits all for content-driven growth.
You have to create your strategy based on data and experimentation. You can use success case studies and spy on your competitors, but it doesn’t mean you should copy their strategies. No two businesses experience the same circumstances and environment. What worked for a brand might not work for you at all.
- Study other successful brands.
- Take notes.
- Create a customized content marketing strategy for your brand based on data, buyer personas, and business strategy.
- Iterate and experiment continuously.
- Tweak your strategy.
Myth #3: We Only Need Top-of-the-Funnel Content
Content-led growth requires content for the entire funnel. Unfortunately, most brands believe that top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content is all they need for success.
If you are producing only the top of the content with little to no focus on middle and bottom-of-the-funnel content, you will end up having a low conversion rate. And don’t blame content marketing for it.
What businesses do is focus on lead generation and then nurture leads through email marketing. So, they focus too much on TOFU content as it helps them with lead generation. But not all people who know your brand will become a lead.
Some of them need content for conversion. And others might never become customers despite being on your email list for months. Not all potential customers follow the same steps toward becoming a customer.
You have to produce and promote content for all content marketing funnel stages to keep your doors open for all types of target audiences:
Nurturing leads through email marketing is one part of the lead nurturing process. Not all leads like emails. If you are into content marketing, do it completely.
There is no such thing as content marketing for one stage of the funnel. It must cover the entire funnel.
Myth #4: Great Content Doesn’t Need Promotion
It's a common myth that all you have to do is create epic content and people will find it.
But that's not how it works.
Content, no matter how valuable, helpful, awesome, and high-quality, needs promotion. You have to put your content in front of the right eyeballs.
The internet is gigantic, with 7.5 million blog posts being published per day (in 2023); you can’t expect people to find your article and read it.
Great content needs a lot of promotion. The more you market it, the better. Content promotion is a key pillar of content-driven growth. It's a continuous process that includes tactics like social sharing, PR, paid promotion, guest posting, and rewrites.
Content promotion should be an ongoing process for sustainable growth.
Myth #5: Results Will Deliver Instantly
Brands and SaaS companies expect to see instant results from their content. When they don’t see results within a few months, they stop investing in content marketing.
It is a myth that content-led growth is instant.
Stop expecting immediate results.
Content needs time to deliver results. It is a long-term strategy that delivers results in years (not months). If you are disappointed by the articles your team published last month because they didn’t move the needle at all, you need to wait and continue investing in content marketing.
An old but relevant study by Ahrefs showed that it takes an average of 2 years to reach Google’s top 10 search results:
This result is based on an analysis of over 2 million keywords — you can’t ignore it. The massive sample size makes it credible. If you look at the top search results in your niche, you will notice that Google favors aged evergreen content while seasonal content is always fresh.
Don’t expect immediate results from content. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t see results. Stick with your content marketing strategy.
Tips for Content-Driven Growth
Follow these actionable tips to be successful with content-driven growth:
- Create a data-driven content marketing strategy.
- Don’t expect instant results.
- Focus on content creation, publication, distribution, and promotion religiously.
- Publish all types of content, including text, audio, video, graphics, etc.
- Avoid copying the strategy of other businesses.
- Create content for the entire funnel.
- Dedicate resources for content promotion. Every single piece of content should be promoted across multiple channels (not just social media).
Need help with content marketing? Not sure how to create a data-driven content-driven growth strategy for your brand? At First Page Strategy, we help brands grow with content and data.