According to recent statistics, over half of businesses are already using some form of content marketing to generate inbound leads and sales, and much of this content is being published daily.

But while these businesses are busy building a vast repository of articles, images, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, webinars, and other pieces of content to engage with their audiences, many are getting disappointing results.

Why doesn’t content marketing always work as well as it’s supposed to– especially when you’ve poured so much time, money, and other resources into the process?

Winning the War for Your Customers’ Attention

A large part of the answer is that there’s a growing deluge of online content on every topic imaginable– in fact, the stats on content creation are mind-blowing— and it’s making it harder for people to find and focus on the content that truly matters.

But if you are regularly using an ad blocker or some kind of productivity app which limits the amount of time you can spend viewing certain kinds of online content, then you already know this for yourself. Content overload is real, and creating something that can actually get people interested, hold their attention, and encourage them to make a specific, desired action is perhaps the biggest challenge that businesses and content markets are facing today.

The key takeaway over here is that the people who view your content have to overcome many distractions to remain focused on it, and chances are most of the content you are thinking of creating has already been created by someone (or many someones) else.

So where does this leave you? Is content marketing still relevant and even if it is, is it worth it? The answer is yes… but…

3 Vital Factors for Content Marketing Success

Businesses can and should leverage some form of content marketing as long as they recognize and respond to a few key digital marketing trends:

You need to know your customers really well. Tone deaf content and social media marketing promotions happen all the time, and they are happening even in the age of big data analytics, CRM, AI and computer learning. Why? Because the businesses that run these campaigns aren’t really connected to the needs, preferences, beliefs, and communication styles of their target markets.

While many of these companies may be working with limited resources, or just don’t know enough about how to create a successful content marketing campaign. Some big corporations in particular have these things, but just don’t care enough to get it right, and it shows.

Bottom line: if you want to succeed with your content marketing, then you need to have a clear profile of your ideal customer, also known as your buyer persona. You then have to learn how to speak directly to these people or businesses in a way that they can hear you.

Your customers want personalized, unique content. Today, when you publish new content, there is a good chance that people have already seen something similar. Try doing a Google search or typing your topic idea into a platform like Buzzsumo and see how many articles and videos pop up. Why would someone want look at your article when there is little to no difference between your content and that of hundred or even a thousand other sources?

So how do you stand out from the pack? For one, try sharing personal insights- whether life experiences or your experiences working with customers. These are unique to you and your business. For example, writing up a case study detailing how your web design company helped a business client increase their sales through good website design is more interesting than an article on website design tips. If you can tie your personal and business experiences into your content that helps prospective customers resolve their pain points in a relatable and remarkable way, then you’ll have a much better chance of engaging your readers.

No one will see your content if you don’t spend enough time and/or money promoting it. You keep writing content but, for some reason, you aren’t getting the amount of views, social shares, or sales you were hoping for. Realize that even the best, most targeted content won’t get you anywhere if you don’t actively try to promote it. In fact, you should be spending more time promoting your content than writing it. (Some marketing experts suggest the time you spend creating content versus promoting it should be 40/60 or even 20/80). But, how do you effectively promote your content? This could include:

  • Sending an email to your subscriber list informing them that you’ve released new content
  • Writing informative guest posts on sites your prospects are likely to visit that then mentions or links to your new content
  • Reaching out to industry influencers who have previously shared or linked to similar content to see if they’d be interested in sharing yours as well
  • Conducting targeted social media marketing on platforms, such as Facebook or Pinterest

In short, content marketing can be an effective way to generate inbound leads and sales, but you have to go in with the right attitude and a realistic approach in order to get the positive results you’re looking for.