Many of our clients want to jump on the content marketing bandwagon. After all, content is what it’s all about these days, right? Content is king! The answer could be yes, but only if you do it correctly.
It’s not enough to just flood your social media and other channels with a lot of content. After all, if everyone’s doing it, there must be a lot of it out there to plough through, so your content has to be truly interesting and timely, in addition to being an honest reflection of who your company is.
In an effort to be noticed, a lot of content has ended up being self-serving, useless and even pointless. It is not true that just “showing up” matters. How you show up and what you have to say that is meaningful to people (and particularly to your targeted audiences) is critical.
Content marketing, while talked about a lot these days, is not new. Brands have been telling stories, in one form or another, as a way to acquire customers for decades. However, developing useful content in order to create a behavioral change in a company’s customers and prospects is somewhat new to many brands. Their marketing outreach is primarily intended to openly promote buying behavior and to cause people to feel an immediate need to purchase their products and services (which is not a bad thing, of course).
So how do you make your content marketing efforts work for you? I believe there are three primary ways:
- First, you have to have a true strategy. Content marketing is like any other kind of marketing. It has to be based on specific marketing objectives, an awareness of the informational needs and preferences of your key audiences, and it has to embody a way to truly measure its effectiveness.
- Secondly, it is not enough to just put content out there for the sake of “being out there.” Rather than a “one size fits all” content strategy, it (like the rest of your marketing communications) should be laser-focused, and its goal should be to become a go-to-resource for smaller, more manageable content and specific audience niches.
- Accountability has to be “baked into” your content marketing plan. Someone within your organization who understands your overall strategy and goals has to be responsible for maintaining continuity, brand voice and momentum relative to your content and how you make it available to your audiences.