By now, you’ve heard a million things about content marketing: its history, how it’s changing the face of digital marketing, and how it’s helping companies establish their presences online. You’ve come across blogs, articles, and case studies that show you exactly how potent content marketing can be for your business. And if you’re like 88 percent of B2B marketers, you already use it yourself with the hopes of engaging your audience and generating concrete returns.
However, because you haven’t seen substantial results just yet, you’re probably wondering whether your efforts are even worth it. You might find yourself thinking things like, “Is my content good enough?,” “Am I doing something wrong?,” or “What can I do differently?”
You aren’t alone. Content marketing continues to grow in practice and importance to companies’ marketing strategies, but it certainly doesn’t come without its challenges. If you wonder why your content isn’t working for you, one of these six practices might be to blame:
To be measurably successful at something, you need to have a plan in place before you begin, yet only 32 percent of B2B marketers have a strategy documented for their team to use as a reference and revise over time. If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place yet, now is the time to create and document one.
You must know what your key performance indicators are to start. Assess the results of your current efforts (such as website traffic, page views, social shares, click-through rates, etc.), and set goals for improvement. From there, match your key metrics to your content goals, track over time, and continuously review your strategy to ensure it’s effective.
It’s important to remember that your strategy can either work or fail — documenting it alone doesn’t guarantee success. If it works, that’s great! If it doesn’t, at least you’ll know what’s wrong and can make the necessary adjustments. Without a strategy, you’ll only find yourself going in circles, wasting your time and resources.
Audiences will instantly reject content they perceive as stale, repetitive, and inauthentic. And if it’s not at least factual and free of blatant mistakes, you can forget about engaging them.
Fresh and unique content, on the other hand, is welcomed with open arms. Your audience actively looks for content that’s informative, engaging, thoughtful, and valuable. If you want your audience to get hooked on your content, it must meet those criteria.
As you create content, consider your ideal audience members. What are their pain points? Their interests? Where during the buyer’s journey are they most likely to need and come across various pieces of your content? Put yourself in their shoes to generate the kind of content that will resonate with your readers, and back it up with solid research and relevant examples.
Apart from being factually correct, make sure your writing is free of research-related and grammatical errors. Ensure that it has a natural flow and doesn’t seem promotional in any way. You want to add value to your audiences’ lives through your content, not just sell your own products.
Simply writing and publishing content does not guarantee it will be found. You need to optimize it for search engines, which more creative content marketers may find too technical. However, SEO is crucial to content marketing success. All you need to get started is a little keyword research through Moz or BuzzSumo to help you identify keywords and trending content that your audience searches for.
Underestimating the value of SEO to your efforts can hinder your success, but marrying SEO and content can deliver exceptional results. Understanding how to insert proper meta descriptions, title tags, slugs, alt tags, and links will help you improve your content. Not only does SEO make it easier for search engines (and audiences) to find your content, but it also can help you achieve higher click-through rates, too.
Sure, you can sign up for one of those free blogging or podcasting platforms and start churning out content. But what often comes with these free-to-use platforms is the false notion that content marketing is cheap. This idea may then result in your team allocating a much smaller budget for content marketing than it actually deserves.
The truth is, content marketing isn’t cheap, and high-quality content certainly comes at a price. Multiple departments can contribute to your content marketing budget, but Content Marketing Institute reports that the most effective B2B marketers allocate a major portion (42 percent) of their total budgets to content marketing. It takes a considerable amount of experience and dedicated content marketing teams to execute a strategy effectively; it’s not advisable to pinch pennies here.
So you’re dishing out high-quality content but find that you still have no takers for it? Maybe you haven’t taken the right steps to bring it to people’s attention. While I’ve mentioned that your content itself should not be promotional, you can (and should) promote your content. Doing so is necessary if you want to get it to the right audience.
A few great ways to distribute and promote your content include:
Content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for results to actually manifest themselves, and low traffic numbers or conversions don’t necessarily imply things aren’t working or that you should call it quits.
There will likely be times you become frustrated or overanalyze every step you’ve taken in order to figure out what’s not working. You may even find that you need to adjust parts of your strategy. That’s OK. Fix what needs fixing, and move on.
And remember that certain factors will be out of your control. Instead of getting discouraged, buckle up and let these mistakes inspire you to produce better content.
We all want to see our efforts (and our investments) pay off. Content marketing can be a tricky area, but when you’ve got your basics in place, your chances of success only increase. If you have a good strategy, a sound budget, original and optimized content, and a plan for distribution, all you need to do is monitor and give it time. Soon, you’ll see the positive difference.
Vivek Patel is a local search specialist at E2M, one of the fastest-growing digital marketing agencies based in India, committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing services to drive strategic and sustainable business growth. He covers local search optimization, link-building tactics, and social media marketing strategies. You can find him on Twitter.