Call me biased as a content marketer who makes a living out of organic content, but I take offence when people say marketing is ‘pay to play’.
Over the course of my career, I’ve seen proof that organic content can perform like a high-powered Ferrari on a race track, when it’s released in the right conditions.
Sure, organic content might not work like it used to (remember the days where you could put up a photo on Facebook and have it be seen by ALL your followers?). But it’s a far cry from being dead and buried.
In my experience, organic content that’s rich in value, timely in distribution and released into the right hands will have every chance of performing as well as any paid piece.
But rather than tell you organic content is not dead, let me show you three reasons why organic should still firmly sit in your marketing plans.
1. Launch and write a blog
If you’ve had a squiz at our portfolio, you’ll know we write a lot of blogs. At least 120,000 words of them each year and that’s a conservative guess.
You know the reason we sell so many blogs? Our clients know they are a sure-fire way to build their website traffic.
Blogs are seriously powerful, working twofold in driving more people to your site via keywords. Via the magic of long form content, blogs also keep them on your page for longer.
But does it work?
One of our clients publishes 16 x new blog posts per month (and we should call out, that’s a lot). Their blog is their single biggest website traffic driver, responsible for more than 100,000 sessions each month.
Another client, was able to lift the average time spent on site from under 30 seconds to over a two and half minutes in just six months.
Naturally, when you keep people online for longer reading blogs, you have more time to show value, build trust and ultimately hit them with a call to action.
And since stories drive sales, it’s not just your SEO-guru telling you to blog – as content marketers, we are too.
Good news! Starting a blog isn’t as hard as you think (in fact, we wrote a whole post to help you start your own). It all begins with making a plan for your editorial content (download a free template here). Then all that’s left to do (after a bit of SEO work) is watch your website analytics soar.
2. Build an organic social media following
There are only two ways to build an audience on social media:
- You work consistently at building an organic one over time, or:
- You use ads to do the heavy-lifting for you, or better yet, a combination of both
I won’t pretend for a minute that you don’t get faster, more efficient reach through paid means. We all know the Facebook and Instagram algorithms were designed to make advertisers part with their cash.
That said, we wouldn’t spend 80% of our week running organic social media accounts if we didn’t believe in the product we’re selling. I’m also sure, we wouldn’t have a full roster of social media management clients if they didn’t see results in what they’re buying.
What I see week-in week-out, is that a really good organic post can perform as well as any paid post.
Take for instance a recent organic post we shared about a snow event in Stanthorpe. When released into the Facebook wild, it had the same traffic as previous paid posts, without any of the paid spend to get it there.
The trick for making an organic post spike like this isn’t a formula. But it is as simple as knowing your audience. Organic content outperforms when the post is topical, meaningful and value-laden for your audience.
Beyond these three golden rules of content, your best chance of building and growing your organic content is simply by consistently showing up.
But does it work?
To prove it, listen to episode 10 of CONTENTious where we interview a client who has grown from 300 followers to 50,000 followers on Instagram through organic means only.
This isn’t an isolated example, we had one client whose Instagram grew under our management from 12.1k to over 41k in just two years. And they didn’t spend a dime on engagement ads.
So, is organic content dead? Sorry, not even close.
3. Get pitch perfect, start working on your publicity
In marketing terms there are two ways to get featured in a magazine, TV or online – you pay for it, or you pitch your way there through publicity.
Sure, advertising might be quick, controlled and a guaranteed message. But nothing trumps organic PR when it comes to trustworthiness or credibility in the eyes of the consumer.
But does it work?
If you’ve ever wanted to see how effective organic PR is as a form of conversion marketing, just ask any business who has been lucky enough to host the Today Show or Sunrise. Seriously, their phones won’t stop ringing.
Publicity isn’t just confined to print and the big screen. Don’t forget working with digital influencers is an important part of any organic marketing plan.
It will come as no surprise, our team are huge advocates for including an influencer strategy as part of any media plan. We’re so passionate about it, we even wrote you this guide if you want to DIY your influencer activity.
Organically speaking, influencer campaigns work so many ways. They can increase reach, awareness and content gathering – but most importantly in the context of organic content, growing your brand’s following.
Take for instance a recent campaign we ran in Roma. By partnering with an influencer who has more than 400k followers, we saw our client’s organic channels more than double during a seven-day campaign. This was purely through the influencer tagging their handle in his posts.
From where I’m sitting, I’d call that an organic content win, wouldn’t you?
Organic content might perform differently to how it once did, but it’s certainly not dead.
The next time someone tells you marketing is just ‘pay to play’, you might like to dust off this blog or this episode of CONTENTious. You can remind whoever is telling you to put down their grave-digging shovel – organic content is alive and well, and we’ve got the results to prove it.
By Hannah Statham
Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.