It’s been nearly 20 years since Bill Gates prophesied that “content is king,” and now, we are seeing the overwhelming impact of his prediction coming to fruition. Content has infused itself in the online space and continues to reign as one of the top forms of digital marketing in this era. But even with business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers producing content at increasingly high rates, the percentage of companies that know how to successfully utilize this medium is alarmingly low.
It’s a problem Numero Uno Web Solutions is all too familiar with, particularly in the B2B space, where a recent study showed 93% of marketers use content marketing, yet only one-third have a documented content strategy.
“The question then becomes, ‘How do you expect results when there’s minimal effort in putting together a focused strategy to engage your audience?’” says Ara Libarian, General Manager of Sales at Numero Uno Web Solutions. “With content marketing specifically, there needs to be cohesive and consistent approach to creating and curating content that’s relevant enough to make readers interested and useful enough to gain their trust.”
“Establish a relevant and consistent voice, [and] keep up with the changing landscape of content marketing”
Establishing a Voice
Gaining that trust is no small task, and neither is developing a strategy to drive users to your content. Research must be done to settle on the topics that will stir the most interest and often that research is conducted on a trial-and-error basis. Once the subject matter is determined, the next step is to decide in which form the content is best communicated. Infographs, articles, how-to videos: figure out which forms—or combination of forms—mesh best with your targets and convey those forms accordingly.
The platform also has to be considered. With mobile now surpassing desktop as the preferred means of content consumption, how are social media, blogs, and e-mail platforms being utilized to match this new reality? Are you effectively diversifying the structure of your content to reflect each platform so the message remains consistent despite the medium changing?
“These are questions that need to be asked on a continual basis, not only to establish a relevant and consistent voice, but also to keep up with the changing landscape of content marketing,” Libarian explains. “Change is inevitable and should be expected. A recent post on Forbes listed 15 ways content marketing will change this year; among the most credible on the list are an enhanced focused on personalization, better use of visual content, and more access to measurement tools.”
Content marketing has seen a solid improvement in the tools it has for measuring reach, conversions, and other metrics. However, those tools are useless if content marketing goals aren’t clearly defined at the onset of any campaign. Brand awareness, lead generation, increased sales, and brand loyalty and retention are all key performance indicators (KPIs) that need to be analyzed throughout the duration of all content marketing efforts.
According to Libarian, this will take some flexibility; being able to adapt to trends found through analytics is key to capitalizing on your findings. Don’t be afraid to cut content that isn’t resonating with your audience and implement new types of content into the overall strategy, with growth and engagement being central determining factors in success.
SEO and Organic Growth
Through all content marketing efforts, SEO cannot be underestimated as a key contributor to organic growth. But Libarian has seen firsthand how powerful SEO can be in helping to raise a company’s online presence and improve its rankings on top search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
“Understanding how to implement these variables into the content is the basis for increasing organic growth and generating leads back to the web site.”
“Our SEO experts go to great lengths to research keywords, placement, and density; all of these factors are determined before any content is ever created,” Libarian notes. “Understanding how to implement these variables into the content is the basis for increasing organic growth and generating leads back to the web site.”
Many businesses need a way to stand out from their competitors and SEO can significantly improve web presence and searchability if done correctly. And as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy, it holds weight as being one of the strongest catalysts for results.
A recent poll conducted by Smart Insight placed content marketing above big data, social media marketing, and paid advertising as an effective means of marketing. This means to expect content to be king for the foreseeable future. It also means that any success in this field begins with a focused strategy specific to each target and properly communicated through multiple platforms. Nothing else will make this worthwhile.