The value of content marketing

12 May 2022 | 5 min read | Digital
George Hartrey

If I told you that a well-known, multi-billion-dollar company had increased its value by more than 60 per cent by investing in content marketing, nobody would blame you for thinking I was talking absolute nonsense. What on earth could you create that drives the value of your business through the roof within the space of just a few years? Let me explain… 

A controlling stake in Formula One was acquired by Liberty Media in 2016 for the princely sum of $4.4 billion. People have been hugely invested in watching fast cars go around race tracks since Henry Ford’s first engine rumbled into life, and Formula One – the pinnacle of motorsport – had become immensely lucrative over the years. Not only was the deal a sizeable one ($4.4 billion is hardly pocket change, unless you’re a well-known South African businessman) but what raised the most eyebrows was the question of why a media company would want such a big involvement at the top of the sport. 

Fast forward to today, and it seems a no-brainer. From a total valuation of $8 billion in 2019, Formula One is now worth $13 billion according to latest estimates – an increase of around 63 per cent. Prior to Liberty Media’s ownership, the sport had notoriously failed to crack the biggest sports market of them all, the United States. Motorsport in the US was predominantly focussed on stock cars going in literal circles for hours on end, but Liberty thought they could change that. And they did. 

Striking a deal with Netflix, Drive To Survive hit our screens (and those of our friends across the pond and indeed across the world) in 2018 and people were hooked. The series provided a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the sport and with such a smorgasbord of personalities involved, it was guaranteed drama. It has added an extra edge to the sport, undoubtedly playing a leading role in concocting an intense rivalry between Sir Lewis Hamilton and the reigning world champion Max Verstappen, among other examples. 

It wasn’t just Americans that the series won over either, as the sport cracked new markets in Brazil, France and China as well. Nor was it just breaking new ground geographically; it was finally reaching the long-elusive 16-35 demographic that the sport had been so out of touch with for so long (something former boss Bernie Ecclestone “saw no value in”.) With that, Formula One reached one billion fans, its value skyrocketed, and now millions of fans not only wait eagerly for race weekend, but also for the next episode of Drive To Survive to drop for all the insider info too. 

What relevance does this have to a B2B communications agency, you might be asking yourself… and, well, you might have a point. But I’m going to try and explain myself without prattling on too much more. 

If ever you needed proof that content sells, then Drive To Survive is article one in the evidence pile.

That said, Netflix are extremely unlikely to commission a fly-on-the-wall docuseries about your professional services firm in Andover, or Arbroath, or wherever it may be. But that shouldn’t discount or dissuade you from producing relevant content for your business, because it returns results. 

We’ve heard directly from clients that a blog post we’ve written has directly resulted in a five-figure deal being signed; that a whitepaper we wrote and designed has brought two new clients on board; or that a video on social media has started conversations with prospective clients they’ve been chasing for a while. And that isn’t just us bragging about the impact we’ve made with our clients – there’s plenty of research to back up our claims. 

Demonstrable ROI can be tricky, and you certainly can’t expect instant results.

Although the examples above will seem like standalone pieces of content, they were part of longer-term strategies that were built over months, and in some instances, years. But they were drivers of traffic, they were conversation starters and discussion points, and most importantly, they were evidence that our clients knew what they were talking about, and that they’re human. 

There’s a whole ‘nother blog post that could be written on the value of putting faces to names in your business (which I hereby commit to writing in the near future) but whether it’s talking to a camera for a few minutes, a blog post looking at the current events in your industry or your latest piece of market research presented in an easily digestible report, people want to hear from you. Yes, you! 

Liberty Media knew what they were buying when they stumped up their cash – an opportunity. That’s exactly what you and your business have. While I can’t promise you that the value of your business will increase by 63 per cent as a direct result of producing content, I’m happy to go on record saying that it will yield nothing but positive results when done properly and thoughtfully. 

Oh and yes, we can help you with that – just get in touch.