By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of content marketing. As it has grown into a versatile and easily customizable strategy to reach a highly targeted audience, businesses from all different industries and locations have utilized a content marketing strategy to build brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation. However, no company or organization can expect success simply by publishing a few blog posts or starting a podcast. With so many brands competing for attention, a comprehensive content marketing strategy is the key to standing out with your content marketing efforts. Content marketing alone doesn’t work, but with these tips it can become a powerful tool to help you accomplish your goals.
Content Marketing Must Have a Purpose
One of the most common mistakes with content marketing is writing or producing content just for the sake of doing it. Quality of content is much more important than quantity and creating a blog post, video or infographic without a purpose will often leave your readers and potential customers disappointed in the results (or rather lack thereof). Instead of spending valuable time churning out low quality blog posts because you assume search engines value fresh content above all else, focus on the goal you want to accomplish and how content will help you achieve it.
- Inform Your Audience: Members of your target audience will inevitably have questions about your industry, products or services. By taking the time to understand those questions, your business can separate itself from your competitors by producing content that provides the answers they seek.
- Drive Social Engagement: Social media vanity metrics like comments, likes and shares are not the ultimate metrics to track, but they are certainly still valuable. Videos, surveys and competitions are just a few examples of content that can be used to drive social engagement for your brand.
- Improve SEO: Being at or near the top of Google, Bing and other search engine results is vital to increase website traffic from organic searches. Content plays a significant role in search engine optimization, particularly through the use of keywords.
- Earning a Linkback: Having your company’s content shared and linked to by a prominent publication is another valuable tool for SEO purposes. Whether you get content linked as a source or produce the content yourself as a guest article, earning a linkback will greatly increase the authority and visibility of your website.
Content Marketing Must Be Measured
If content must have a purpose in order to be valuable, then it must also be measured to determine whether or not the goal was met. As anyone who consistently churns out content will tell you, even the most well-written or professionally-produced blog posts, videos and podcast episodes will sometimes fail to resonate with your target audience. Rather than getting discouraged about missing the mark, focus on setting metrics so you can determine how well your content is received and any changes you can make to get back on track.
While it’s possible to measure nearly all components of your content, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Including too many metrics can make measurement confusing and time consuming. For example, let’s say your business wants to increase audience engagement. Lead generation metrics like conversion rates are unrelated to your goal and will only make determining success more difficult. Focus instead on monitoring metrics such as social shares, comments and click-through rates.
Content Marketing Must Be Reinforced With Earned Media
It’s no secret that the rise of social media and content marketing have made it easier to connect and engage directly with your target audience. However, the addition of earned media coverage is what really takes it to the next level. As consumers become increasingly more skeptical of marketing tactics and spin, third-party validation in the form of media coverage amplifies your business efforts even further.
If you’ve never dabbled in media relations, it can seem like a daunting task to pitch a journalist with the hopes of securing a mention or story. Keep in mind that you’re the thought leader in your industry and be confident in your ability to provide insight and value to the work a reporter is doing to tell a story. Before you jump in the deep end and contact every journalist in your area, start with a simple approach of turning a blog post into a media pitch to get your feet wet.
Thinking that content marketing alone is enough to earn brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation will rarely lead to business success. It’s the integrated strategy that ultimately determines the level of success. If you’re having trouble forming your content marketing strategy or just want to bounce around some ideas, let’s connect on how to develop a content marketing plan that will help you achieve your business goals.