15 Dec 2015

Why your online content marketing is being ignored – and what you can do about it.

Content marketing has been the buzz word for some time now, long enough for most people to be using it as the main source of online marketing. Over 93% of B2B and B2C companies, which boils down to basically everyone who has something to sell, state that they consider content marketing before any other type of marketing but research suggests that they just aren’t getting anywhere with it.

Arc-Reactions-Blog-AR-Online-Content-1

A lowly 9% of B2B companies express that they feel their content marketing is very effective, with the majority feeling that some is effective and some isn’t – or admitting to not really knowing if it’s effective at all.

Looking at these figures it’s hard to believe that content marketing works – so why do marketing guru’s like Seth Godin believe that content marketing is the present, and future, of marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is extremely effective – if you know how to do it. Just because you do content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re good at it. It’s easy to fall into a myriad ofpot holes and not know where you are, where you’re going or what went wrong with your content. There is a definite disconnect between what businesses are doing and what is effective because in content marketing what is popular, common or important does not mean it will sell your product. Content marketing is a specialist skill, and one you can acquire if you work hard enough.

Here are a few ideas as to why your content marketing isn’t working and what you can do about it.

PLANNING TO FAIL

There is an old adage that states, ‘If you fail to plan – you plan to fail’, and where content marketing is concerned it’s true. If you don’t have a realistic and workable content strategy you can’t possibly expect to get anywhere. Content isn’t the art of throwing media out there and hoping some of it will stick, it is well crafted, audience centric and regular; it has to be, or it just doesn’t have any impact.

Research shows that many B2B in house marketing often fail to create a strategy, or if they create a strategy and then don’t document it. No strategy or no documentation – what’s the difference?

Arc-Reactions-Blog-AR-Online-Content-2

From this research we can see that only 35% of B2B marketing has a documented which suggests that already 65% of all content marketing is likely to be ineffective because of a lack of planning.

One of the first things you need to do is create a strategy for your content. Any strategy – even a bad one – is better than none at all. If you create a strategy you have to produce goals, and then trackable metrics that you can use to guide your journey. These measurements are crucial to effective content as knowing where you are going and how you are getting there gives you the right direction.

Here are a few ideas to help you make a personalized strategy that works for you:

  • A successful content marketing strategy starts with defining your KPIs (key performance indicators). Identify what numbers are important to you (e.g., views, shares, traffic, CTRs, conversions, etc.), and work out what you will use to track them.
  • Do your homework, taking the time to work out what is effective and applicable to your industry
  • Strategy should be flexible and up to the minute. You should change your strategy when you realize that what you’re doing is not as effective as it could be.
  • Don’t rely on a content marketing company to make your strategy for you if you use one. There are plenty of content marketing companies out there, but they don’t usually get involved in strategy. That’s your job. Their job is to sketch out your editorial calendar, to write your content, and to help you publish. They implement the strategy that you come up with.
  • Publishing content is not a strategy. Content marketing strategy takes in the big picture of marketing — audience, revenue, profit, and brand. Deciding to have a blog and write articles is not a strategy, it’s what you say and where it takes your marketing persona that matters.

 

SELF PROMOTION IS NO LONGER A DIRTY WORD

Gone are the days where you could promote your product or services for free online. You need to promote your own content on social media, and heavily if you want your content marketing to go anywhere. Remember it’s called ‘content marketing’, not just ‘content’. Just posting a blog post on your web site does not guarantee traffic. You have to actively promote it. The question is – where?

Make sure you do your homework – for your industry!

This graph may help, but you need to find out the statistics for your niche and then exploit them.

Arc-Reactions-Blog-AR-Online-Content-3

Here are a few easy ways to promote your content:

  • Email newsletter.
  • Marketing email to a landing page.
  • Be sure to tweet it several times, and ask for retweets.
  • Google+ posting.
  • Facebook posting.
  • Sharing in LinkedIn.
  • Guest posting.
  • Pitch influencers in your industry who can share your content.
  • Take some time building relationships with people in your industry and reciprocally share content.
  • Pitch bloggers and site owners, and ask them to share your content.
  • Mention your content when you comment on other websites and blogs.

The important thing to remember about content marketing is that only half the work is creation, the other half is promotion.

Much of the content you read online assures that organic traffic is the way to go, and it is, but organic traffic needs a real push to get going. Paying to promote your content is the only way to gain organic traction so you need to use your budget wisely. Do your homework and find out how much each platform charges for what promotion, and then align the costs with your marketing plan.

Be aware, simply throwing more money at content doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly be successful. Make sure that you keep your strategy goals in mind and adjust your strategy accordingly. Once your strategy is aligned, you’re read to spend smart. Heres a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Look carefully at which content marketing efforts have had the greatest ROI and consider spending more on them.
  • Think about employing a good content marketer, either in house or a marketing company, than on content marketing (tactics). A successful marketer knows how and where to spend marketing dollars, and will give you more ROI than simply beefing up your tactics.
  • If you have budget constraints, delay spending on the higher priced content efforts (video, paid social ads), and focus on the less expensive methods.

You may be irritated that promotion on a ‘free’ platform costs, but be reassured that doing nothing will kill your content quicker than not writing anything at all!

BE HONEST!

Sometimes your content isn’t shared is because the content sucks! Constantly churning out content is not an easy task and if you’re not careful, the quality of the content can drop making it unreadable.

The quality of your online content is of the utmost importance if you want it to be read, it’s also of the utmost importance for your company image. Whatever you send out into the world with your name and business attached to it will become your brand. If you consistently produce poor quality content it will be a hard job to convince your audience that you are not a cheap operation that knows nothing about your industry and raise your profile. Poor quality content works against your goal and can hang round the internet for years.

For a fun look at the problem, see this presentation from Slide share:

http://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/crap-the-content-marketing-deluge

Whatever your industry – there is always something new to say, but pick the best person to say it. It may be you, or you may have to hire a writer. Just check all your content over so it is:

  • Interesting
  • Engaging
  • Has a call to action
  • Well written
  • Grammatically correct

Nothing less will do.

WATCH YOUR SEO

If you look at this graph you can see how important it is to be ranked #1, or at last #2 in the search engine world.

Arc-Reactions-Blog-AR-Online-Content-4

If you have great content following an excellent strategy and you’re still not getting in front of your audience then you need to look at your SEO.

For a while SEO (search engine optimization) became a dirty word as it was seen as marketing manipulation, but that’s exactly what it is. Search Engines rank the content it displays in an order of relevance and usefulness but using bots. These bots can’t think, but they can recognize key words and rank the pages accordingly. Despite the many algorithm updates to stop people manipulating the figures it hasn’t worked. Content that is keyword rich in the right way still ranks highly, so if you want to get anywhere near the tops spots, you need to play the game.

Here are a few tips you can use to increase your SEO:

  • Publish relevant content
  • Remember: Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine.
  • Update your content regularly
  • Metadata
  • Title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window. It is the most important metadata on your page. For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage.
  • Description metadata is the textual description that a browser will use in your page search return. Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter.
  • Keyword metadata are the search phrases that people type when they want to find your page. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. However, don’t get greedy: if your list becomes excessive, the browser may completely ignore the data. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 6-8 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”
  • Have a link-worthy site
  • Use alt tags

The goal of all content should be to get in front of your chosen demographic and to also build up yourself as a credible authority in your industry. Only great content will do this.

These ideas are only a few of the important rules that you need to follow to make your content worth reading.

What do you think is important for persuasive content? Write your thoughts below.

 

Resources:

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/10/2015-b2b-content-marketing-research/

http://www.quicksprout.com/the-advanced-guide-to-content-marketing-chapter-9/

http://arcreactions.com/calgary-seo-companies/

http://mikejuly.com/2014/03/what-makes-a-website-good-what-makes-a-website-bad/