The finale of South Park’s 19th season (spoilers ahead) wrapped up the incredible saga of self-serving political correctness pandering, shameless gentrification and a parody of the U.S’ unrelenting debates of nativist sentiments and gun control laws, with the unveiling of the culprit mastermind behind it all: online ads & sponsored content marketing.
“Every time you block us, we get smarter. If one plan fails, we will plan another. You will never be rid of ads.”
In the South Park world, online pop-ups ads and sponsored content have resorted to taking in human form to adapt to people’s avoidance strategies, such as the infamous ad-blockers. While the episode has succeeded in getting quite a few laughs out of me, the digital marketer in me cannot help but shift uncomfortably in my seat, as I realize that there is perhaps some truth to this saturation of online advertisement and content marketing.
Everyone’s doing content marketing. In fact, about 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs and 77% of B2C’s use content marketing to try to capture the attention of their target audience. While it has definitively become the staple of best practice since 2003, there is definitively concern on whether content market is effective anymore. In fact, there is a forecast that Video Marketing is quickly becoming the next best thing to differentiate yourself from the content marketing clutter.
…but maybe you’re also just not doing content marketing right?
Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s done properly!
If content marketing is not working , make sure it’s not because of one of these common mistakes:
You lack a clear strategy
Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
The 101 of marketing always says that any campaign begins with a strategy and that’s no different for content marketing. Sit down with your team and flesh out a strategy (goal), and then make sure to implement it. A good strategy needs to:
- Have defined KPIs that you will track and measure, such as views, shares, CTRs, etc.
- Evolve along with your business objectives.
- Be holistic – just blogging religiously is not a strategy. Look at the big picture (who your audience is, what the sales target is, what your parallel marketing efforts are) and make sure your content is in-line with all aspects of your marketing efforts.
Your content is irrelevant or just plain boring
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen pushing content just for the sake of putting something out there, and cutting corners on quality. Don’t forget that your content is aimed at having people READ your stuff.
Avoid this pitfall by:
- Having a clear idea of what kind of content you want to produce. Do this by coming up with themes, topics, angles and fresh (new). Most importantly, make sure you are targeting the right keywords.
- Invest in a decent writer: whether you’re outsourcing or using an internal resource, make sure that the writer understands your industry and can bring in quality talent. The saying “you get what you pay for” is very applicable here.
- Be interesting: always make sure what is written is posted doesn’t lack depth, value (readers get something out of it), focus (no one likes to read drivel) and is also well-written.
You are impatient
Just like SEO, content marketing requires effort and time before you truly start to reap the benefits of your investment.
Any bodybuilder will tell you that the key is consistency and resiliency: just keep at it and the results will come. Don’t go in full-throttle with an unsustainable gusto and lose motivation 2 months in. Remember, just like body building, content marketing is not a sprint, but a marathon.
You aren’t promoting your content
Content creation is only the first half of content marketing – the other half is promoting it and pushing it. If you just lean back and wait after publishing your content, your blog will simply be gathering dust. Therefore, make sure to bring as much attention as you can to your blog post with:
- Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and even Instagram and Snapchat !)
- Reaching out to other bloggers or website owners
- Internal links in your website
- Referring to your blog post in forum discussion or comment section of other websites (careful not to spam and to only bring up relevant blogs!)
At Concept9, we devise a content marketing strategy that is scalable to your business’ budget and internal team. As I said before, everyone is doing it, and that certainly means your competitors are too. Let’s chat and see how your business can do it better.