Content marketing has become an essential ingredient in almost every marketing stew. It’s like salt.
It’s like salt.
If you don’t add even a little bit of it, your dish probably won’t be enjoyed by a lot of people.
Without content marketing, all your marketing efforts, regardless of the fact how good or clever they may be on paper, will still feel incomplete.
Why? – Well, because they don’t aim to engage your users or enrich your posts and proposals. All they really do is just roughly throw your services to whomever and whatever comes in your way. We all know just how much people hate that.
Buy this, do that, click here, see this, win that, sign up now – these are just some of the phrases that have become quite stale in the online world.
In today’s world, you cannot make a living just by targeting your ideal customers with random ads and hoping that they’ll eventually end up buying your stuff. Nope. It doesn’t really work like that anymore.
If you want to create a competitive service in this day and age, you need to charm, impress, and educate everyone that comes into contact with your brand.
Modern shoppers are different. They don’t really buy stuff until they’re 100% sure that they know exactly what they’re paying for.
Before they go on and actually talk to someone from your sales team or leave their digits on your site, modern shoppers first read a lot of stuff about you and your business on the Web. That means that their decisions aren’t really influenced by call-to-actions and company discounts, but by smart and persuasive content.
This is where content marketing comes to shine. If you make an actual effort to understand your audience’s needs and desires and produce relevant and intelligent content that covers popular topics within your niche and speaks volumes to your targeted crowd – you’ll make a ton of money! This I guarantee. There’s no way you can fail if you figure out how to deliver everything I just wrote above.
Most marketers still don’t get that content marketing is not about selling your products and services. That’s why their strategy still needs a pinch of this and a pinch of that, in order to maximize exposure and fully optimize their marketing funnel.
The Problem / The Part Where It All Breaks Down
Even though almost every serious online businessman knows all the advantages of producing valuable blog posts, webinars, white papers, and case studies, a lot of companies are still struggling to make their content marketing really work for them.
Regardless of the fact that 88% B2B marketers say that they invest in content marketing, less than 40% of them claim that they still haven’t seen any real results in that department. They still haven’t seen enough change in their business that would lead them to declare their content marketing strategy as effective.
Disappointing stats, right?
As a digital marketer and an experienced content marketing professional, I talk to a lot of people who are super frustrated with the fact that their content marketing strategy isn’t really working out for them. Even though they use all sorts of different excuses to justify their actions and find different reasons on why their content marketing is going great, one thing always remains the same – they never blame themselves!
But they should. Why? – Well, because they’re the captain of their own ship.
Let me ask you a question: If content marketing is so ineffective, why it’s being used by almost 90% of businesses online?
Content marketing isn’t failing, your strategy is. Or even worse, your strategy is good, but you set all the wrong goals for your business within this domain. There are all sorts of different things that could wrongfully influence your content marketing strategy. That’s why I decided to list in this article some of the more common reasons why most content marketing strategy haven’t really reached their goals. Maybe this article will help you see where your efforts are getting off tracks. So, without further delay, here are some of the possible culprits:
1. You’re Singing The Same Ol’ Song
One of the main goals of every smart and sane content marketing strategy should be to demonstrate your brand’s uniqueness and versatility to your targeted audience. You should do everything in your power to convince your readers that you’re different from your competitors, that you’re not just another web hosting provider, ecommerce platform, digital marketing agency, or whatever that sales and does the same things as everyone else does from your niche. You cannot really do that if you keep producing the same ol’ junk as every other company within your market.
That’s why, before you even start to think about adding content marketing to your already existing marketing mix, you first need to come up with your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This is of crucial importance for your business. Your USP is what sets you apart from the crowd and provides unique values for your targeted customers.
Your soul purpose is to immediately say to anyone who you are and what you stand for. Your business needs to stand for something. You cannot be a little bit of everything and anything, and expect from people to remember your logo or colors. Be specific, choose your destiny and stick to your defining characteristics. Only then can you truly start to think about adding content marketing to your already-existent arsenal.
2. Set Real and Intelligent Goals for Your Content Marketing
As I mentioned above, one of the main reasons why people fail with their content marketing is because they don’t really know how to set relevant goals for their campaigns. They focus on all the wrong things, like vanity metrics, and then they get super mad when their content doesn’t magically generate a ton of new leads or sales on their site.
If you really want to succeed with your content marketing, you have to carefully plan ahead. You cannot just wing it. You cannot just make stuff along the way, and expect to crush it on all sorts of different fields. Nope. It doesn’t really work like that.
The key to setting up a great content marketing strategy lies in the following steps:
1. Understanding for whom you’re creating your content, and what precise tactics you’ll need to use in order to grab your desired crowds attention.
2. Measuring your efforts, and tweaking your work according to your data.
3. Setting realistic milestones, and really going after them.
4. Making sure that your content is always in sync with your overall marketing and business goals.
5. Learning how to acknowledge your success, and own it.
Even though this framework look quite logical to some of you, trust me on this one – you wouldn’t believe how many people fail to see the importance in carefully following any of these five steps. They go head-first into content marketing, without even taking a moment to consider what tactics will they use in order to reach their goals (if they even any).
Most of the brand I’ve help improve their content marketing strategy didn’t really know what outcome they were chasing. Brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention, customers satisfaction, customer up-sell – they want it all, but they didn’t really create any specific content that could actually help them reach any of these targets.
Setting up real goals is extremely important in business, not just in content marketing. How else will you know if you’re winning or losing if you don’t measure your efforts and the return on your investments? How can you expect people to, for example, subscribe to your newsletter if you don’t give them any real reasons to do so?
Keep a close eye on your numbers, and make sure that you really acknowledge where your content marketing is going.
3. Choose Who to Engage and When – Don’t Just Market Your Content to Everyone and Anyone
In this day and age where almost every brand, be it big, medium, or small, is pouring their hard-earned money and energy into developing all sorts of different content for every existing channel of communication out there – it tends to get a bit crowded on the Web.
Believe it or not, but more than 2 million new blog posts get published every single day. This is quite a lot, isn’t it?
And that’s just blog posts. What about all the other stuff? Infographics, webinars, custom images – the list goes on, and on.
Naturally, this sort of over-production tends to overwhelm our targeted readers. Everyone is writing about everything, all the damn time, and people are starting to suffer from that so-called “content shock”.
That’s why it’s so important to choose your battles and carefully segment your targeted crowd. Hey, not everyone is interested in everything you have to offer. If you, for an example, have a clothing brand, it would be wise not to bombard your male part of the audience with female-oriented merchandise and offers.
Apart from that, the thing that this content shock should really teach is that any type of content, isn’t really good for your business. If you want your visitors to remember your brand and keep coming back to your stuff to read more stuff about you and your company, you need to keep a constant stream of quality and relevant content on your site. You need to make people see that you’re all about bringing the value to your readers, and not just generating more site visits. If you manage to convince your current readers that you’re the real deal and that you only post quality stuff – they’ll help you grow your reader and customer base in no time.
4. Don’t Just Preach, Give Your Audience Something to Engage With As Well
Even though creating a constant flow of compelling content that serves to educate your readers on how to improve their business, master a certain tool or feature, or something quite different, you still need to stimulate your crowd to actually conduct a certain action on your site. Implementing a one-way system of communication on your site and social media accounts won’t get you very far in this content marketing game. No. If you want to keep your crowd on your site and on your SM profiles, you need to create content that stimulates engagement from them.
Apart from getting their hands on quick information, your readers want to be wined and dined as well. Sure, they all want to learn as much as they can about your expertise, but they still want to have fun as well. That’s why you need to add some serious storytelling to your marketing mix. You need to create intriguing stories and examples that will help your users stay engaged.
Apart from that, it is highly advisable that you let your readers become part of your content creating process. By giving your targeted crowd an opportunity to comments on your content, guest post on your blog, and participate in all sorts of different Q&As, you’ll significantly improve your engagement and brand authority within your niche.
Sure, creating conversations with your audience tends to get hard at times, but hey – so does everything else that truly matters. Stop being impersonal, open up your brand and your soul to your readers, show them that you really care, and they’ll reward your efforts.