The Truth About Content Marketing
Digital marketers will tell you content marketing is madness and that you have to find a way to balance the chaos. Even seasoned players in the industry have a tough time creating, implementing, and measuring a content marketing campaign because intangibles and pitfalls aplenty threaten to bog down or destroy a campaign.
Our media mavens at TalenAlexander are well aware that content marketing is a complex process which can fail to deliver returns by virtue of committing simple errors. The idea is to ensure you’re not missing out on engagement, traffic, or unique visitors by overlooking minor details.
Over the years we’ve come to understand that the true nature of (content) marketing is often amiss to even the most seasoned campaigners.
So, we’ve decided to add something to the conversation.
Keys to Quality Content
- Unique, original content
- Out of the box ideas to grab attention
- A Strong focus on the core idea
- Ability to present complex ideas in a simple easy-to-understand manner.
In our eyes, marketing is one of the most difficult careers because it thrives on creative consistency, a skill that even the most talented artisan be they comedian, painter, or musician will tell you that maintaining creative consistency is more than difficult.
Marketing differs in that it is in competition at every stage from conception to actualization as part of a larger strategy to gain consumer attention. Where a fine artist is able to mull an idea over for extended periods of time in developing masterworks, marketers feed your need in smaller doses filling in the space.
Think about your favorite musician for a second and their last album release. In the months leading up to the release, press kits, media tours, album art, promotional giveaways, and an overall media rollout were designed by marketers. They [marketers] make sure that when the master work has been prepared, it can reach its intended audience and hopefully grab some new ears along the way.
The size and scope of your project should be equally consistent with your marketing campaign. You wouldn’t design a worldwide book tour for Oprah by utilizing only email. She has every outlet available to promote her product while similarly, you wouldn’t advertise a Banksy exhibition throughout a network as large and overt as Oprah’s.
So, get real. The right approach is absolutely necessary for content marketing success.
Don’t View It As A Fad
Just because you have created something amazing doesn’t mean it will begin attracting visitors based on its own merit. When concluding projects for our clients, we make sure to have them share it across their social media accounts, and in turn, we spread the love and share it across ours social networks as well.
We don’t miss an opportunity to share great content. Call it self-aggrandizement or whatever you will, but the reality is that you’ve got to keep ensuring that you’re reaching your audience. It’s important to remember that even though we’re all connected, there is far more interference in the way of your content marketing campaign via competing businesses/services, news outlets, lifestyle content, educational information, and most importantly, user generated content.
- Help people decide
When writing with a target audience in mind, it is important to understand your potential customers and ensure the methods & messages you’re communicating help guide them through the conversion process.
When a piece of content helps a customers make an informed purchase, it shows integrity and builds brand identity based on the value of trust. Be it niche content or a popular category, always focus on providing in-depth information and prove to your audience that you’re a worthy thought leader with their best interest at heart.
We are well aware of the debate between telling your brand story and offering quality information as an effective content marketing tactic. We make it clear to our clients that their content walks hand-in-hand with their brand.
You cannot disassociate it from your marketing collateral, and like it or not, your brand is in the firing line…but that’s not a bad thing at all if you’re conscious of the choices you make.
“You Can’t Tell The Forest From The Trees”– No Content Marketing Roadmap
Have you ever heard that expression? Well, to elaborate, a missing roadmap creates chaos in your content marketing campaign. We begin every project by constructing a clear roadmap in achieving client objectives.
How do you build a roadmap?
The first step is in creating a chart for documenting the project progress. Then, assign high impact tasks like content generation to team members with the appropriate skillsets. Your content should be supported with distribution across the proper mediums to reach your intended audience.
*Tip: In order to maximize ROI, implement this process from start to finish without a break in proceedings.
Purchasing a product is always done in multiple stages. Create a map that displays the various stages consumers go through from initial points of contact, to product/service benefits, to picking a healthy market price point.
Brands most often make the mistake of focusing on the last stage of a purchase cycle and therefore miss out on the equally as important earlier stages of the sales funnel. A clear roadmap will ensure you’re able to target potential customers at every stage of the sales funnel.
Owned, Earned, and Paid Media
*Content marketing campaigns can be conducted over different platforms – owned, earned, and paid.
Owned media refers to,
- Static or micro websites
- E-mail lists of existing customers
- Brand profile on popular social media websites
Earned media refers to,
Any content created on your end should be shared on all of these platforms at regular occurring intervals or what we stress as, consistency— the more engaging the content, greater the probability of attracting visitors to your site and converting them into customers.
Paid media is about promoting your products or services by purchased ad space. Apart from popular options like Facebook and Twitter, you can consider opting for StumbleUpon and Instagram. The platform of choice is based purely upon your target audience.
*Tip: Conduct your own research via white papers and/or case studies to get an idea before you make an investment in a social media analyst service. Although the experts will provide you with the engagement you’re currently receiving, it never hurts to have an idea of what you’d like to aspire to beforehand.
You Need to Market Content – Don’t Sit On It
Once your content is ready, it’s time to share it with the people who need it most– your target audience. But remember, “force feeding” or spamming is the easiest way to stifle engagement and turn away subscribers.
Even the best content will backfire if promoted in an spastic manner. Don’t harass your audience. You’ve done the research and spent time creating quality work you’re proud to share, and now you’re making it known by putting it in the right place at the right time for the right people.
So.,..how do you go about doing so?
Ideally you need to create “hype” or buzz around your product/service which means there should be a degree of expectation a.k.a. conversion goals.
This could be managed by producing a series of content around a particular topic. We’ve embraced this strategy in the past, having our creative team concept a series of promotional content.
The idea is to create a strong hook that essentially leaves the audience wanting more. It’s the same strategy television writers have applied week after week in developing series that resonate with their audience and keep them coming back for regularly scheduled episodes with their favorite characters.
- Stay on track
A lack of focus leads to a dissatisfied audience. Once you have a marketing plan, devise a solid strategy, and execute it as according to your marketing roadmap. While improvisation is great, avoid using this tactic repeatedly as it will interfere with your campaign deliverables. It’s a game of chess, not checkers.
A strong, highly recognizable brand may decide to change their initial plan of action, but will only do so if necessary. So, if your plan is to make Facebook and Twitter the pillars of content distribution after having done your due diligence, stick with the plan.
You’ll need to modify your strategy if you fail to meet milestones in your roadmap, but remember to improvise sparingly and stick with the plan.
- Call to Action
A good piece of content will fail without strong call to action. Every article, video, and image, should seek to subtly incorporate questions and words which grab the attention of the reader.
They should be compelled to visit your website, blog, or product page because they feel as they will be missing out on important information, and they will be. Never resort to black hat SEO tactics like clickbait titles.
Your content will do the job you’ve intended if you remain consistent in your delivery and do quality work.
In wrapping things up, the reality to content marketing is that it’s not easy. It’s difficult. It will test your patience. It will take time. Stay the course, and if you are in it for the long haul, you won’t regret it.