I don’t need to look at your marketing strategy for 2014. I know for a fact that content marketing is somewhere in the mix. It’s probably near the top of your list, sitting neatly alongside social media and email marketing.
I’m also guessing, there are a number of question marks next to the content marketing bullet point on your plan.
The thing is, content marketing is such a wide ranging discipline if it is not properly planned it will raise more questions than answers.
At this moment you are probably asking yourself the following questions:
- Who is going to produce this content?
- Should we produce this content in-house or hire an agency?
- How much content do we need to produce?
- How are we going to distribute this content?
- How are we going to gauge the success of our content marketing strategy?
- How much is this all going to cost us?
- How does this fit in with everything else we do?
- What risks are involved?
- Is content marketing really worth it or is it just another marketing fad?
It is because content marketing is difficult that makes it such an effective strategy – if it’s produced with care and attention to detail.
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Note: Just because content marketing difficult, doesn’t mean you should discount it. A decent content marketing strategy will enhance virtually everything else you do online. Without content adding value and aiding conversion, expensive acquisition marketing techniques such as paid search will certainly be more expensive than they need to be and have the potential to destroy any margin you might have in a sale.
Because content marketing has become something of a buzz word recently (although the concept of using content to build reputation and drive sales is nothing new) a whole industry has sprung up promising quick wins and easy content marketing solutions.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Nothing in business is easy. Most successful businesses solve problems for their clients via the services they offer. In a similar vein, as marketers we strive to offer our clients (or employers) a solution to the difficult problem of engaging with potential clients, aiding the sales process and retaining customers. To suggest this process is simple is easy is an insult to the profession. Some marketing techniques will drive quicker returns than others but nothing in marketing is easy – and this includes content marketing.
In an ever deepening sea of content, great content will also rise above plain old, good content, driving visibility and adding credibility via the major search engines and social networks. Weak content will just weigh you down and sink to the bottom.
Why Do So Many Marketers Discount Content Creation When Planning Their Social Media Activity?
I asked the attendees at a recent content marketing seminar I was leading: Who is on social media?
As you would expect, everyone raised their hand. I then asked who blogged, and only a handful of delegates kept their hands in the air.
My next question was directed at the non-bloggers.
If you’re not blogging, what on earth are you doing on social media?
The vast majority of attendees admitted to using social media just to link to other people’s content. In short, they were pouring fuel on other people’s thought leadership. In some cases, they were sending traffic directly to their competitors.
Why would anybody do this?
We all know that creating content is difficult. We’ve also got consider the fact that many companies haven’t got a clue how to track and analyze their social media engagement. Because of this they struggle to justify any real investment in content creation. Instead, they throw themselves into social media with no real thought or strategy. This is because they believe social media is free and that there is very little they can do to track their investment in real time (they are wrong on both counts).
How do you encourage your clients/staff to invest in creating killer content? What are the biggest hurdles you must overcome to build a strategic, cohesive, socially enabled content marketing strategy?
What are you content marketing ambitions for 2014? Share your comments in the box below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.