Reaching your customers has never been harder.
In 2017, more than 200 million people worldwide have added some sort of an ad-blocking software to their browser.
Everyone who solely depends on paid advertising to promote their brand and business online is basically cringing in front of this data.
The above-mentioned piece of information comes as another reminder that this game called digital marketing is constantly changing. It has become clear as daylight that we need to evolve if we plan to keep this show running.
In 2017, it’s imperative that marketers think beyond basic advertisement and actually come up with fresh ways on how to organically grab their targeted audiences’ attention.
That’s why content marketing is trending today.
As Demand Gen’s latest survey reports claim, 96% of all B2B buyers want to see more content online from industry leaders.
The Rise of Content Marketing
In addition to being invisible to all sorts of ad-blocking extensions, quality content is something that people actually want to see online. Consumers want to interact with it, which automatically makes it the most effective marketing technique to master in 2017.
But, regardless of the fact that the Internet is full of articles that talk about content marketing and the value of constantly creating and distributing intelligent blog posts, infographics, webinars, use cases and case studies – people are continually failing with their efforts in this particular department.
Especially in the B2B world.
As Hubspot reports, 55% of B2B marketers have admitted that they have no clue on what content marketing success or effectiveness really looks like.
Sure, their blog posts are bringing some traffic to their site, but that’s it. No conversions, no fresh sales – nothing.
But why is that? What’s wrong?
The Complexity Behind Creating Engageable Content
First and foremost, most of the people who currently invest in content marketing don’t have an actual plan. As the guys behind Content Marketing Institute have found out, a whopping 32% of all B2B businesses that produce content today don’t have a documented strategy.
They just write random stuff they think their audience wants to read and hope for the best.
Naturally, this is a recipe for disaster.
Even though it has been sold like a pretty straightforward deal, content marketing isn’t all about providing interesting information to your audience. On the contrary, it’s far more complicated than that.
It’s not just what you say, but how you say it, as well as where, how and to whom you promote it.
As a CEO of a digital marketing agency, I have decided to share our methodology with everyone who is currently struggling in this field. In the following part of this article, I’m going to list down some of the things you need to think about if you want to win big in this department:
Think Beyond the Link
Links matter. A lot. As I already wrote for my company’s blog: regardless of the niche or industry you operate in, it’s imperative that you hop on that content marketing bandwagon, if you’re interested in creating quality backlinks for your site.
But that isn’t enough. If you want to truly win big with your content marketing efforts, you need to think beyond the link. Naturally, this doesn’t really mean that you should ignore when someone mentions you in a blog post and doesn’t link back to your site, nor do I want you to stop producing guest posts for all sorts of different publications.
No way. The only thing that I’m saying here is that link earning should come as a natural award for your efforts in this department.
I am an SEO expert and I have abandoned most overt link building efforts. I focus a large portion of my time and energy on creating content that truly offers something different and unique to my audiences.
In 2017, it’s important that you adopt a customer-centric way of thinking. As Joe Pulizzi nicely said for CMO: “A content-first business is the future of marketing.”
Having acknowledged that, if you want to remain relevant in your niche and industry for a long time, you must learn how to work the system. The goal is to round-up your top talent and stimulate them to produce high-quality content for your brand and business.
Even though they don’t really have the necessary know-how to produce mind-boggling blog posts, they all have the potential to provide you with unique and powerful insights that could help you create amazing Q&A posts or instruction guides.
Who are You and Why Do you Matter?
According to LinkedIn’s official survey, audience relevancy and engaging and compelling storytelling are two of the most important ingredients of every successful content marketing strategy, and yet – people are still focusing on all the wrong things.
Sure, you know you’re special, but does your audience as well? If you’re interested in getting people to notice your content marketing efforts, you need to work on your voice. It’s in your best interest that you create a story that speaks volumes to those who you’re trying to win over with your blog posts, comments, and messages.
It’s all about the premise in content marketing. If you already have a clear and detailed picture of who your actual targeted consumers are, you can provide them with stories that are in sync with how they see the world. Based on whom you’re targeting with a specific piece of content, you have to choose the correct way to tell your story, so that you can get the conclusion you desire. This “how” part should be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. It’s what sets you apart from all the other brands in your niche or industry that are investing in content marketing. If you want to succeed, you must tell a compelling story with the right central element for the crowd you’re trying to reach.
Just look at CrossFit. Even though they don’t really offer anything all that new when it comes to working out, the guys behind this brand have created an army of die-hard fans just because they stood up against traditional, mainstream culture of working out.
They broke the mold. CrossFit thinks beyond muscles and focuses on physical excellence. The idea behind this program isn’t just to give their clients a rockin’ hard body but to make real soldiers out of them. It’s more about selling the lifestyle than anything else. Unlike most brands whose story is oriented around their user’s problems, CrossFit is focused on the future. Thanks to that, the guys who run this franchise have created more than a brand. CrossFit created basically a religion that gets people so involved in their story, that they cannot stop talking about it.
Implement the Winning Story Concept
Even though there’s no real formula for producing inspiring content, if you really take the time to look at what kind of material is winning big online, you’ll notice that great premises have certain elements in common. Sure, producing authoritative content pieces that answer popular questions is always good for the brand online – as well as content that provides original research results, or works around a “the person + use case” formula.
But, that doesn’t really mean anything if the premise of the message isn’t on the right track. Even though developing your voice is the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, in order for it to actually start bringing real results, you need to make sure that you pay homage to all the essential elements of creating a winning story concept:
First and foremost, make sure that your content strategy is built around what makes you unique. Your number one goal is always to grab people’s attention. Without it, nothing else you do will matter. You can only do that if you truly create something striking or worth reading.
Make sure everyone understands you:
One of the most important things to have in mind when creating a content strategy for your business is how you frame your messages. It’s of great importance that you share your insights in a clear and simple tone so that everyone can understand you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should dumb down your idea. That would actually defeat the purpose. All you should do here is focus on your delivery, so that audience can easily recognize the essence and purpose of your efforts.
This is the final, and yet the most important component of this premise. If you want people to truly appreciate your content marketing efforts, they must believe that you’re covering topics that you actually have the know-how to write about. If you want to become an industry leader, you cannot just write one post and live from it. You have to come up with more ideas that constantly prove your worth.
I hope this post helped you rethink your entire content creation process.
If you have anything to ask or add to this article, please, feel free to write your thoughts in the comments sections below, and I’ll do everything in my power to get back to you ASAP.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.