Decades from now, historians will look back on internet marketing in 2013 deem it the “Year of Content Marketing”.  After all, it seems like everyone’s talking about it, everyone’s doing it, and everyone’s offering up their own two cents about it.

If you’re like me — one of those people who thinks that the world wide web should actually offer legitimate answers and solutions — you’re thrilled that content marketing is finally a “buzz term”.  But are you REALLY doing everything you should be?  Or, is your content marketing strategy doomed to fail?

Image courtesy of Rob Boudon on flickr

To answer those questions, you have to ask yourself a few others:

Do you obsess over Google?

Make no mistake, I appreciate all the traffic I get from Google.  However, I don’t consider it to be the end-all-be-all for my business.  I don’t want ANYTHING to have so much control over my business that I couldn’t survive without it.  That’s why I’m always looking for new ways to get my name and my expertise out there.

You need to be the same way.

If you lose sleep over every tweak that Google makes, your overall marketing strategy isn’t diverse enough.  Instead, you should be using quality content to fetch you traffic, so that all of your eggs aren’t in Google’s basket.  Take all that time you spend fretting over Google, and use it to start up your own blog, look for guest posting opportunities, or finding a writer that can create a great newsletter series for you.  The more “out there” you become, the less you’ll worry about what Google does.

Do you have an objective?

Every piece of content should have a goal.  If it doesn’t, you’re going to wind up rambling and boring your readers.  So, before you type a single letter of that blog post, define what your objective is — in ONE simple sentence.  For example, if you own a small hardware store, you may say, “This blog post is going to explain how angle irons make furniture more stable.”

You have to limit yourself to a simple sentence, though.  The more and’s, but’s, and because’s you throw in there, the less focused your content is going to be.  Remember, web readers are an impatient bunch.  They don’t want to sit around while you zig zag towards a point.  They want your expert insight, and they want it NOW.

Do you think about individuals?

Sure, your target audience may be made up of millions of people, but you need to focus on getting through to each one of them individually.  That’s because buying is done on emotion.  You might appeal to their desire, so that they say, “I want that product.”  Or, you might appeal to their sense of urgency, so that they say, “I need that product.”  Or, you might appeal to their fears, so that they say, “I don’t dare pass up that product.”  But if your content simply makes them feel like a member of the herd, your readers aren’t going to respond as strongly.  Instead, you’ll appeal to another emotion — apathy!

Do you go out of your way to make things interesting?

Why did you hate writing those research papers in high school?  Because they were boring!  But what if you could have taken the same topic and explained it in a way that was funny, or injected some sarcasm into it?  What if you could have recorded a video of yourself explaining the details more conversationally?  What if you could have drawn an infographic to describe it all?  Chances are you would have had a lot more fun creating it, and your teacher would have enjoyed reading/watching it a lot more!

The same theory applies to content marketing.  If you’re bored by what you’re writing — or simply don’t take the time to make things interesting — your readers are going to get bored.  And guess what?  Bored readers aren’t going to buy anything from you.

Do you focus on it?

Publishing content is the only way to “talk” to potential customers.  It’s the only way you’re going to convince people to think of you as an expert.  If you’ve turned your content marketing strategy into an afterthought, you’ve essentially turned customer interaction into an afterthought!  When you think of it that way, failing at content marketing is the ultimate online business failure.