The Internet marketing industry obviously needs a strong hold on content marketing, and it’s important to understand the motives and goals marketers want to achieve with content, the chief obstacles in their way, and how successful they feel they are.
Demand Metric recently published a content marketing bench survey where they asked 521 marketers about their company’s content marketing efforts. The survey used both small and medium sized companies, drawing comparisons between how marketers in the small vs. medium sized business owners match up. The findings of the study prove notable insights.
Before explaining the motives content marketers are hoping to achieve with their content and the obstacles preventing them from doing so, first let’s analyze the overall success.
The survey found that only 13% of the content marketers believed they were ‘very successful’ at achieving important objectives…Very concerning.
“Tunnel Vision” is Consuming Content Marketers.
According to a question on the survey, marketers overall indicated that their primary focus for content is to increase the number of leads generated and increasing the brand awareness. This primary goal is understandable because in the end, all firm’s want to increase leads and as well as brand/product awareness. However, it is important that marketers don’t become so “tunnel visioned” with the end goal, and need to take baby steps to lead to a desirable end-goal.
The data suggests that to these marketers, enhancing organic search rankings is far less important as a content marketing objective, and enhancing social media engagement is shown as least important. However, it is these activities and social media engagements that precede increasing leads and brand awareness.
Content marketers should know that improving visibility in the organic search rankings would drive more traffic, creating more leads as well as brand awareness. Similarly, increasing social media engagement would do the same. Without consistently reaching out to potential and current customers through sites as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. it would be very difficult for the general population to find your company and be able to know that your company even exists. As of September 2013, over 73% of online adults use social media networking sites, and the number is growing. Let’s not forget that the easiest and one of the most effective way to generate brand awareness is by using these sites. Never underestimate the power of social media when implementing content marketing for your company.
Again, with the marketers’ “tunnel vision” focusing too much on the outcome (more leads), they aren’t giving enough thought or attention to the ways to get them there in the first place. Although tactical thinking is not something that should be forgotten about, but there may be an issue with a blurred focus on an outcome that results from insufficient focus on the process that helps them achieve their goals.
Road Blocks for Successful Content Marketing
As disappointing as 13% is for the marketers overall content strategy success rate is, this number suggests that change is needed. Marketers should take a step back and instead of focusing on the overall end goals and it tactics, and refine their content marketing strategy first.
Why does strategy help avoid these road blocks? What goes into creating a great strategy? Sometimes you can’t do it on your own. There are professional Internet marketing companies available to help get you started on a content marketing strategy, and even help you implement it. Start simple, set achievable goals for your strategy, and set metrics to record your results. Adjust strategy as needed.
A Great Strategy Can Avoid a Road Block
In order to create high-value content that will engage and attract your ideal customers, you must develop a killer strategy beforehand. Each time you product a new piece of content, whether a blog post, tweet, or podcast, you follow the same process of organizing your ideas and finding the right words to express what it is you’re trying to market. There are 6 steps during the creative content marketing process that will tremendously help strategize and organize your ideas and find the right words to express yourself.
- Selecting the topic based on what readers are looking for: It’s important to select your topic and approach. Since most ideas start out as a broad topic, and you must play with ideas until you come up with one that’s worth writing about.
- Research and refine your ideas: Whether you’re sharing opinions or facts to inform, persuade, or remind, you need to back up your ideas with relevant details. Look for things like quotes, statistics, case studies, etc. to prove your points and validate your opinions.
- Organize your ideas to create a basic outline: Organize your ideas — at this point, you should have narrowed topics and a good idea how to develop that topic. At the most basic level, consider a structure with an Introduction (grab people’s attention), Body (deliver on the promise made in the introduction), Close (summarization of main point), and a Call to Action (tell people what they need to do next). No matter if you’re writing content marketing for a 400 word blog or 1000 word blog post, its most basic structure is this 4 part framework.
- Draft: The fourth step is to begin to create and write a rough draft. It is wise to do this by picking one sections of the article to develop first, and to write for one person: your ideal client.
- Cool off: Take your mind off of it for a while until you’re ready to come back and make final revisions.
- Edit: When it’s time to edit your work, try to set aside a few hours in order the fully evaluate the flow and logic of your ideas.
Keeping this step by step process in mind, it will be much easier for you to develop an effective and high-value content marketing strategy, this will lessen the chance of road blocks in organization along the way.
In addition to using this step-by-step strategy, it’s also essential to use another form of a content marketing strategy. One that outlines the various channels you’re going to use and how you are planning on using them. For example, a company creates a content marketing strategy outlining the various mediums it wants to implement. A blog is one of the various channels going to be used in their strategy. It’s objective if to educate people about the company and interact with people. Blogs will be submitted twice per week in a friendly/chatty tone of voice. The purpose of the blog is the ultimate goal of the company: Drive traffic and generate leads. Creating a chart with each type of content medium along with its objective, structure, frequency, tone of voice, and desired goal will keep your company on track to successful and effective content marketing.
Throughout the channel content marketing strategy, you must always uphold the company’s objectives such as their mission statement. It’s also important to keep your target audience in mind and to adjust your tone/voice to match what you think they will pay attention to and want to hear.
Get Organized: Who do I want to reach?
In order to become better content marketers, it’s important to ask and answer questions such as:
- Who is my audience?
- What do they want from my company?
- What content mediums most appeal to them right now?
It will ultimately help content marketers achieve their goals if they take a step back from constantly focusing on the “overall end-goal” without further developing the means and strategies to get there. It will remain difficult for small business marketers because resource challenges are likely here to stay for a while, but it is smart to develop a single piece of content to be leveraged in multiple formats, across various mediums to ensure a quality return on investment. Don’t forget that the tone of the message should be different for each medium because Facebook’s general audience is not the same as Twitter or Google+.
Content marketing is anything but easy. While, it is something some businesses can accomplish on their own; other companies, especially small businesses just don’t have the man power or expertise on staff to develop and implement a successful content marketing strategy.