Everyone is talking about it, and everyone is doing it. Content marketing. It’s a bandwagon that marketers are either jumping on, or getting left behind. Everywhere you look, there are advice articles about how to improve the success of content. Yet, only 42 percent of B2B marketers say they are effective at content marketing, according to Content Marketing Institute. Regardless of effectiveness, 70% of marketers are producing more content than a year ago, they report.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Albert Einstein.
By definition, marketers have lost their minds. It isn’t their fault though, the edict has come down from on high, “Create more content.” And so, like hamsters on a wheel, marketers keep working away at churning out the best possible content they can fathom. The problem is not in the content itself, but with the foundation on which the content is built. Before launching into a campaign, or even a single piece of content, marketers need to lay a foundation that will set the stage for effective content creation. That foundation begins with understanding your brand and the keywords and topics that resonate with your audience.
- What keywords/topics have successfully driven traffic to your site in the past?
- How does your content fit with how your audiences are searching?
- What new topics or keywords are your audiences looking for, but for which you are not providing content?
- What keywords and topics are driving traffic to competitor sites?
Audiences are fluid and so are market trends. Determining a group of keywords and topics to write about is not an activity that happens every quarter at strategy meetings. Strategic marketers will want to determine a new set of keywords for every campaign, and may even want to refresh keyword groups during a campaign, depending on the results of ongoing metrics.
Armed with your keywords and topics, you are ready for battle in the crowded, competitive content arena. But knowing the hot topics is only the first step to creating content that will drive sales (after all, that is the point, isn’t it?). There are so many choices of channels and delivery, getting insights into what marketing channels are driving traffic, conversions, and revenue to your brand will help you to take aim with your content.
Most marketers know that sinking feeling that comes from creating a targeted piece of content that addresses the questions and concerns of your target audience in the most elegant way and doesn’t drive traffic or create conversions. The problem may not be the content. The problem may be in the channel. Are you meeting your prospects where they are getting their information? Where are your target audiences and where are your competitors? These are the questions you will want answer to before you decide how to distribute your content.
If you aren’t using social media, you probably should. But social media is not just one thing, it is multiple channels. Are your prospects following Instagram or Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN? Know where to find your audience and your competition and take aim with creative, meaningful content.
The right content, written at the right time, and distributed on the right marketing channels will be the most effective content in your arsenal. Keeping that content fresh and alive will give you conversions over time and more ROI on the effort. Keeping track of the success of individual pieces of content and your marketing effort as a whole can be a daunting task and one that marketers everywhere struggle to keep up with. For many, it means working with a variety of tools to track paid, organic search, and inbound efforts separately. The utter despair of knowing what to watch and how to optimize content has marketers laying awake at night.
An elegant solution is to have all that information at your fingertips in a single dashboard. The ideal optimization to do list provides recommendations that are easy to understand and easy to execute. Find out what to do first and be able to sort tasks by their level of importance. Optimize your content by ensuring that tags and links are not overly optimized and that your content is not subject to penalties due to ongoing algorithm updates by Google and other search engines.
The process of creating effective content does not end with the first distribution of that content. Watch the changes in metrics over time and adjust your content to meet the needs of your audience. Discover new channels and new opportunities to find your target audience and keep track of your competitors to stay ahead in the content marketing wars.
Managing an effective workflow involves creating a repeatable process. In a highly strategic workflow, there is an opportunity to fine tune and optimize efforts every step of the way. Once keywords and topics have been discovered, they need to be refreshed and updated according to the latest ranking results of your content and the content of your competitors. Content, once created, can be updated, and repurposed to fill a variety of channels and audience needs. On the back end, links and tags need to be managed to fit the requirements of search engine algorithms. Meanwhile, savvy marketers are looking forward to see what is coming up and looking over their shoulder to see who is catching up. Making sure you have the right tools in at your disposal makes the process less frustrating and more rewarding.