In 1996, Bill Gates notified the world that “Content is King” and right away, companies raced to become part of this massive marketing movement commonly referred to as “content marketing.” A deluge of blog posts, podcasts, and videos ensued, and today content is no longer viewed as a movement or a trend but is seen now as a dynamic and integral component of the marketing strategy for just about every company in existence. Unfortunately, however, the content marketing boom has garnered not less than a few victims, and market analysts have observed that Bill Gates’ own personal endeavors in the content marketing arena have not been entirely successful. So then the question is, why do some companies fail at content marketing? The answer to that particular query may involve one or more of the different aspects involved in the content marketing process overall.
Take Market Saturation for example. Due to the overabundance of companies (consumer and B2B), and with no sign of a slowdown in the trend, despite the use of a sound content marketing strategy, it is all too likely that an individual brand will be crowded out of recognition. For instance, B2B News Network recently cited a study showing that the majority (51 percent) of North American businesses have plans to increase their content marketing budget within one year’s time. These figures indicate a need for engaging content a consumer will be able to draw out from a crowd.
Lack of Engaging Content then, according to Forbes, is a problem, and the reason some companies fail. There’s a number of explanations as to why a specific type of content does not produce the recognizable signs of engagement, such as comments or significant leads. Forbes states that the creation of engaging content has mostly to do with being familiar with your audience. One good strategy for developing engagement involves setting the needs of the company aside in favor of the needs and preferences of the audience. Customers will care more about a company’s content when offered solutions to their own problems, as well content that helps them in achieving their goals, or in some cases, when it aids them with their customers. Alignment with audiences is another aspect of engagement, which often requires Personalization. If the budget allows, Personalization assists with what should be, an already present user segmentation strategy, targeting potential clients in specific ways that include things like age, interests, and spending habits. It’s also essential to provide quality content, even though it may not always be possible to deliver the most premium aspect of the catalog to the most valuable and important customer-personas. It might be helpful to take 10 percent of the best performing content and use different versions of this material – again, sending it to the most engaged customers.
Marketing research continues to show that audiences spend more time with interestingly designed visual content and images optimized for search. This content will also attract a great deal more shares and leads than other kinds of content. Interactive content like quizzes and assessments are reportedly the best ways to increase engagement, followed by video, SlideShares, and animated gifs. However, certain types of imagery shouldn’t be so compelling as to distract from your product or business. Making sure that the image tells the story and provides the details that need to be conveyed, ‘showing’ instead of ‘telling.’ The content should also have an overall ease of engagement, which is interpreted by its clear readability.
A Personal Brand Representative is another tool that will increase the likelihood of being discovered, and these are opportunities that will, in essence, find the company on their own without additional effort. There is also increased exposure on the all-important social media sites, as many ‘influencers’ have thousands if not millions of followers. Whatever number of followers it happens to be, makes it that many more times as advantageous. A brand representative can share your marketing message as followers link a “face” to your business, helping potential customers create associations to a brand within a variety of mediums. A living, breathing, animated, human being, such as a recognizable social media influencer or just about anyone who could eventually become known to the world in connection with your company, greatly enhances the scope of a content marketing strategy. This spokesperson can interact with potential clients, participate in additional prospecting opportunities, and as a persona of the brand, connect more people to the specific products being offered. Besides the marketing a company receives as part of a brand representative’s online activities, there are also the in-person networking events where representatives can introduce people to the additional facets of what a company offers. Furthermore, the personal brand of a designated influencer can bring in business from vendors, clients, and customers even when the primary business is down.
Insufficient Funding, as previously mentioned, is another area in which companies find themselves missing the mark with their content marketing campaigns. While statistics show a growing annual expenditure on content marketing, there are still may who underspend. The amount a company should invest in content marketing is most typically related to the desired ROI. However, whilst making decisions about its sales expenditures, many businesses will find that they do not have a robust enough budget to propagate an adequate campaign. Forbes suggests that having enough budget is owing directly to the time allotted to discover solutions. Meaning that generating the needed funds should translate to the staff as spending more time on the issue. When it boils down to it, content marketing is something a person with time can sufficiently accomplish.
Some other notable factors – a recent Kapost study showed that when comparing fees for content marketing with paid search, content marketing produced three times the leads per $1 spent. It has also been demonstrated that content marketing generates three times the leads that outbound marketing (promotional messages sent to customers that sponsor products, services, etc…) produces, and is 62 percent less expensive, according to Demandmetric. Moreover, outbound messages are often introduced to customers in a ‘pushy’ and ‘intrusive’ way. As a general rule, audiences are more engaged with content marketing as compared to outbound marketing.
Hubspot recently reported that publishing 16 blog posts per month generates about 3.5x more traffic than zero to four posts, and that content marketing brings in six times the conversion rate. It also dramatically enhances SEO benefits, creating 434 percent more engine-indexed pages than sites that do not publish blogs, says TechClient. Furthermore, 61 percent of consumers who read these blogs were influenced to purchase the product. Finally, content marketing is marketing that is sure to reach the majority of audiences, since the current figures show that people between the ages of 18-49, receive 50 percent of their news online, and the numbers continue to climb.