In July 2015, Fractl, a content marketing agency, collaborated with Moz to conduct an online survey of more than 1,000 people. Participants were asked 13 questions regarding their opinions on and recent engagement with various inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

First, we saw that close to 60% of the people we surveyed used some form of ad blockers while browsing the web. Over half of our respondents had noticed display ads within 30 days of being surveyed; however, 53.8% reported they had not clicked on any ads within a week of being surveyed.

In the evolution of digital marketing, push marketing has become intrusive and ineffective. According to an Adobe eye-tracking study, 54% of respondents said that "banner ads simply don't work." Furthermore, a HubSpot article states the average CTR (click through rate) of display ads across all formats and placements is 0.06%. In other words, for every 10,000 people who see your ad, only six people would click on it.

Brand awareness can no longer be bought in the same way--it must now be earned. So how do you earn the attention of your consumer?

We asked our survey participants, "How do you learn more about a company or product?" Close to 90% of people said they used online search to seek out more information about a company, and over 80% said they visit the company's website. In fact, almost 90% had read an article within the last week, and a whopping 93.2% had used online search to find information about a company.

Today's consumers are actively seeking out brands online, and they are fully engaged with those using digital as a platform to educate and provide value. According to our survey, 77% of people are more likely to buy your product or service after learning about it through online search.

The need for brands to provide valuable and engaging content is evident in our research, but it's also starting to become widely recognized by the world's brightest marketing leaders. David Beebe, Marriott's Emmy-winning vice president of global creative recently said, "You can't argue with the fact that people aren't engaging with traditional [advertising]." Now Beebe has pivoted his strategy toward content marketing with one goal: "to take all the brand marketers, all the brand leaders and teams, and turn them into great storytellers."

By using emotionally charged content to create a human connection that catalyzes a global conversation, you can create 10x content for your brand. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, defined 10x content as "content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic."

But what's the bottom-line impact of this content? First, well-executed campaigns attract writers at top-tier websites. These websites have built-in audiences in the multimillions. By publishing your campaign on these sites, you're generating brand awareness, consumer engagement, inbound leads, and conversions.

Second, from a search marketing perspective, these campaigns can help websites earn links, press, and qualified traffic. The signals this visibility creates can have a significant impact on the growth of a brand, including how it performs in search engines over time.

According to Rand, 10x content achieves key criteria: delivers content that is some substantive combination of high-quality, trustworthy, useful, and interesting; is considerably different in scope and detail from other works on similar topics; creates an emotional response of awe, surprise, joy, anticipation, and/or admiration; solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources. A few of his examples include resources from The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Bloomberg.

While 10x content is one way to go about providing value to your consumers, viral content can be equally if not more engaging and it is inherently share-worthy, giving your content a broader reach for your brand.

Recently, we asked graphic designers in 18 countries to Photoshop one model's form and make her, in their opinion, more attractive to citizens of each of their countries. During the first week of our Perceptions of Perfection campaign launch, it earned over 590 publisher stories, generated over 1 million social shares, and drove over 700,000 pageviews to the client's site.

Marketers are continuously tasked with doing more with less, so finding the most cost-effective methods for getting the greatest results is the holy grail for any brand. According to HubSpot's 2014-2015 State of Inbound report, more than twice as many respondents cited inbound (45%) as their primary source of leads versus outbound (22%).

Due to the waning efficacy of outbound marketing, many industry leaders agree that content will own a significant portion--if not all--of their marketing budget in the next few years. As David Beebe said, "First and foremost, [the goal] is to engage consumers. Get them to associate with our brands, build lifetime value with them. Content's a great way to do that."

Fractl's ability to create both 10x content and viral content has led to a 330% growth in SEO clicks and 4x sales growth from SEO for one Fortune 500 company, while driving a 1,293% increase in organic traffic over a three-year period for a startup client. Want to create 10x content for your brand? Download our viral content success stories to see how you can replicate this process.

Published on: Nov 23, 2015