It’s on every marketer’s mind today: content. Search queries for the phrase “content marketing” have more than doubled in the past two years, according to a survey by Econsultancy. The phrase is now an industry-accepted term for businesses who publish information to consumers in a variety of media such as text, photo and video. But with all of the business owners jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, there are some who may be better off jumping ship. You only get out of content marketing what you put into it.
When used effectively, content is a powerful marketing tool. But it may not be the strategy for you, if:
You aren’t Being Realistic
Take a long, hard look at your organization. Are you working from a foundation strong enough to take time for a long-term solution? Or, do you need a quick fix and immediate results? If you need a quick fix and your Content Marketing agency presents a 12-month plan, you’ll likely not be committed to sticking with that agency to see the results. Anxiety might set in after a few months causing you to start searching for a new agency again before a strategy has a chance to deliver results. Before beginning a content marketing strategy, you need to be realistic about what you want and what you have to give.
You Don’t Know Your Story
Content marketing is all about telling your company’s story to your audience. But have you actually taken time to craft your tale? Many companies think they are ready to develop a content marketing strategy only to find out they don’t even know what their story is. If your team can’t agree on a mission, target audience, or even worse, your core products and services, it’s time to go back to the drawing board in the boardroom.
Business owners ready to embark on a content marketing strategy have to understand that they need to be willing to participate in the process. That includes thinking like a publisher: What is your company doing that is noteworthy? Have you won any awards lately? Attended any conferences that your industry would benefit knowing about.
There’s no place for laziness in content marketing. Even if you’re working with a content marketing agency, it’s a two way street and requires some time and effort on your part. You must commit to follow through to see results. So many times, companies start out with tremendous amounts of energy and passion and burn out quickly, which leads to inconsistent content creation and lackluster results.
We all prefer instant gratification over waiting for results. Impatience and the need to quickly justify expenses may be the biggest reasons for resistance to content marketing among decision-makers within companies. But successful marketers understand that it’s a process. Know that one blog post isn’t going to generate a ton of new clients. It takes at least six months to start seeing results and even when you do, that just means you have to keep the content flowing and increase your channels.
Content marketing should not sound like a commercial for your business. It’s about educating and information, not pitching. The goal is to build relationships so that consumers become familiar with your brand and trust it. If they see you as an authority, they’ll want to interact with you, consume your content and eventually become a customer. If you always try to sell rather than provide valuable information for your consumers, you are missing the mark, and losing customers.
You aren’t Willing to Share
Content marketing is a way to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding your company. It’s now industry standard to provide an insider’s view to your passions, personnel and products. But the fear of oversharing is still a concern to those new to content marketing. Think of it not as giving away secrets, but rather sharing your insights and original innovations. Be proud of your organization and what you are all about. Your content is your platform to share your expertise and knowledge to the world, becoming a resource that people will look to as a trusted authority and someone they want to do business with.
You Think Viral is a Strategy
Everyone wants viral. In fact, agencies are constantly being tasked by clients to create something viral. But you can’t MAKE something go viral. It’s about coming up with a creative campaign that happens to be on the internet at the right place at the right time. And, it’s rare. So, while viral can mean massive visibility, it’s not a marketing strategy to rely on. You’d be off better spending your time creating an editorial calendar, tracking ideas from concept to publishing.
You Spread Yourself Too Thin
While social media can play an important role in your marketing strategy, don’t fall victim to the belief that it’s a cure all. It can be difficult to stand out amidst all of the conversations on the social channels. That’s why it’s important to determine what the right platforms for your business. If you just want to be on Facebook because you think you should be, and that’s not where your potential customers are, you need to able to accept that and adapt. Certain platforms may not be right for your business, so you should constantly test different channels to see what works and what doesn’t. Trying to be everywhere at once results in spreading yourself too thin and could lead to marginal results.
You aren’t Proactive
You can have the best content out there, but if you aren’t using calls to action, you are missing the next step. A call to action (CTA) is a trigger that leads the consumer to a meaningful interaction with your company. It could be a simple as engaging the audience in the comments section of your blog, sending them to additional content like a download or buying a product or service. Weaving CTAs into your material is important and should fit in naturally with your content, as not to over “sell.”
If none of the above applies to you, it’s time to move forward with your content marketing strategy. Working with a content marketing partner can help your brand set goals, ensure measurements are in place and help you get the results you are looking for from your content. Get ahead of the game with our tips in What to Look for When Hiring a Content Marketing Agency. Working with the right content marketing partner can make all the difference in the world.