There’s no denying it.
However, amongst all of the hype, businesses and marketing teams have fallen a bit out of touch with what content marketing truly is and how it works.
Yes, it is a powerful strategy which offers you (and your customer) a whole list of advantages, however it works best when you fully understand its strengths and its limitations.
So here’s a little reality check to realign the industry’s perception to help you get the most out of content marketing.
It’s a very hot topic because businesses are recognising its potential and your audiences have an insatiable appetite for it.
However, the Content Marketing Institute’s recent report found that around 55% of marketers are actually unsure of what content marketing success actually looks like, which is a scary stat given how much organisations of all sizes are spending on it.
So, while content marketing is still continuing to grow, we have to be realistic about what content marketing is and what it means. It has earned a perception that it’s this ‘magic bullet’, however this can blind managers with unrealistic expectations.
Don’t get me wrong- content creation and marketing are amazing tools, but you will get a much better result if you understand more about how it works.
Here are the 8 truths of content marketing
All businesses must be actively prospecting and closing sales if they want to continue to grow and be successful – this will never change, even with content marketing.
I understand that small businesses (just like mine) use content to get noticed and build credibility in the marketplace, which is what it does well. However, if you’re pumping out content and then waiting by the phone, you may be waiting a while.
I use content marketing effectively and it gets a lot of attention every day, however my team and I are still out there networking, speaking to businesses and getting leads too.
(2) Content Marketing shouldn’t be your only lead generation method
It should be only one piece of your communication whole. This is marketing 101 – promotional strategy works best when you are using a combination of campaigns across several mediums where potential and current customers can be exposed to your message a few times.
For example, they see your Facebook posts, billboards and radio ads, then click on your website. They read your blog, watch your videos and download your eBooks. They may even see you at events, see your Google ads and so on.
Content marketing shouldn’t be the only arrow in your quiver.
This one!!! If you take one thing from this article, it’s this.
Marketing working alone on content is a wasted opportunity and will most likely lead to failure. This is because:
- Marketing efforts always work best when everyone is aware and onboard
- It keeps all teams in the loop about what communications are being released
- Your sales and customer service teams are in direct contact with your customers
- They hear the challenges and questions customers are actually asking
- These teams can then pass on relevant topics to help generate new ideas
- If you address these with content, you are providing real value to the right people
- Your sales and customer service teams can amplify your content further
- It gives those teams an excuse to touch base with new and current customers
- It helps your sales team build stronger relationships by offering useful information
- Your teams know where the generated leads are coming from
Even if you’re a small business and playing all three roles yourself, the above still applies. Use content marketing together with your sales and customer service efforts to see success.
This is an absolute must.
I have personally seen content marketing results more than triple when a business involves their sales and service teams, as opposed to businesses which don’t.
Content is king.
However, this has seen many organisations flood the market with it, creating a lot of clutter. As a result, your content needs to be fresh, unique and interesting to even get noticed.
That’s why I say that engagement is queen, and valuable, high-quality content must be the bricks that build your kingdom. There’s no excuse for average content.
(5) It takes time
It’s not paid advertising that forces itself onto your target segment in large numbers to get leads through force. Content plays the subtler, long-term game by building goodwill on your customer’s terms.
The reality is, content marketing is valued more by your audience than advertising, however it takes time to build trust and guide them on your journey.
(6) Be realistic about ROI
Content marketing is relatively cheap compared to above-the-line marketing, which means that your return will also be relatively lower too.
While content marketing can have phenomenal results, if you expect to see leads pouring in and landing them all, you may need to adjust your expectations. It works best as a support mechanism.
(Sorry, but these are truths after all).
(7) Customers are in control
In the digital age today, your customers are highly educated and empowered which means that they don’t suffer through poor content and will only take action when it suits them (not you).
Taking this into account, you must be patient. Creating compelling and engaging content will capture their attention and increase their interest, but in the end, if they’re not ready or don’t want it, then they won’t act.
Your content aims to guide them along the buyer journey in a positive way that makes them feel comfortable.
Content is king, but engagement is queen, and valuable, high-quality content must be the bricks that build your kingdom.
What content marketing does well is boost your reputation, which is a huge plus.
People view businesses which DON’T produce content as invisible, untrustworthy and out of touch.
If you do produce content, they will start to get to know your business. If you continue to do so, you will build a relationship, raise brand awareness and get on their radar which ensures they’re thinking of you when they need a relevant solution.
You made it!
Was your perception shattered or were you already on the right track?
The way to get the most out of content marketing is to understand the realistic nature of it. Once you do, you will create the right campaign that plays to its strengths, which will lead to content marketing success.
Did I miss any truths that you know of? Please sure them with me!
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