We all KNOW content marketing is the key to building and sustaining a network that generates sales or leads for your organization. But, how effective IS your content marketing strategy?

Ineffective Content Marketing

Based on their study, Marketo finds most firms feel their content marketing could use a shot of espresso — to supercharge their content marketing efforts.

I bet if you asked visitors, you’d find even fewer find value in your content.

Why is content marketing ineffective?

The infographic shows some rationale for poor content marketing performance. In part, firms dedicate too few resources to support their content marketing strategy. And, despite planned increases in content marketing spending, these figures will likely remain well below levels necessary to drive the results companies need from their content marketing.

Other content marketing failures

Probably the biggest reason your content marketing is foundering is you don’t KNOW what creates value for prospects and customers.

  • where are their pains?
  • what would help them do their jobs better/ easier?
  • how can you build relationships with key decision-makers through your content?
  • how can you help?

So, how do you know what customers and prospects need help with? Ask them. Create a Facebook question and ask fans to vote for their biggest business problem.

Or, if you have a sales force, brainstorm with them to see what questions and problems they encounter during sales calls. If you’re using sales automation, you can even add questions to the sales follow-up forms to find out how to beef up your content marketing with valuable insights for customers/ prospects — warning, sales people hate telling marketing anything about their sales prospects.

Focus on the customer/prospect. Too often firms focus on themselves and their content marketing strategy looks just like their promotional strategy — about them. Instead, focus on customers/ prospects. Talk about the great things they’re doing. Promote THEM — remember, B2B sales is driven by Derived Demand — their demand for your stuff is a function of how much of THEIR stuff they sell. Promoting them is a win/win situation.

Producing enough content

This is a problem identified by most firms. That’s because all they’re doing is creating content. Instead, their content marketing strategy should be a mixture of both content creation (stuff you write) and content curation (great stuff you find from others) — thanks to Guy Kawasaki for pointing this out early in my career.

If you sprinkle a little content creation with a bunch of content curation, you’ll have plenty of content.

Face it. Customers/ prospects need help and THEY don’t care where it comes from. They’ll be just as happy if you send great stuff to them as if you created the stuff yourself. The web is just so big, with so much stuff and more stuff added every second, that collecting this great stuff into 1 place is a great service to customer/ prospects. They’ll appreciate your efforts.

Content marketing isn’t an overnight process

No matter what you do, your content marketing strategy isn’t going to lead to 1000′s of leads in a few days. It takes time. But, done right, content marketing can be your most valuable and cost-effective tool for producing sales. Writing (curating) great stuff is a start — but only a start. You’ll need other aspects of social media marketing to get the most from your content marketing. These things include:

  • SEO – I can’t tell you how many PROFESSIONAL writers submit guest posts that show they don’t understand the first thing about SEO. Without a strong SEO strategy, you’re burying your gem under a rock.
  • Sharing strategy – as the infographic shows, firms under-utilize social media resources. Pinterest is particularly valuable as content moves on Pinterest like it’s a river and the rest of social networks are a stream.
  • Optimize for EACH social network.
    • Twitter is 140 characters. Use hashtags and don’t fill more than 115 characters to leave room for RT. Post each Tweet multiple times (Guy Kawasaki recommends 4X in 24 hours).
    • Facebook users respond well to images, but don’t use people unless they’re readily recognizable. DON’T post more than once — otherwise it’s spam (do you hear me Hubspot????) Pinterest and Instagram are also image heavy.
    • LinkedIn is great for B2B, so don’t share pics of your dog, etc. Join groups.
  • Engage – don’t just put stuff out there. Interact with folks. I treat every comment, every share, every like (+1) as a gift. Each person gets a person thank you for their efforts. If someone asks a question, answer it. If they complain, apologize and offer a solution. DON’T use the delete button to solve your negative image. FIX it!

OK, I’m sure I’ve left out some things, but, hey, it’s just a post. My content marketing strategy involves creating value across my posts. So, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter — that way you’ll get great content in your inbox every week. I’ll never spam you and I don’t try to sell you on coaching or consulting programs. Just give you great things I think will help you. But, if you’d like to see what Hausman and Associates can do to make your social media marketing SIZZLE, I’m happy to provide a proposal. Go to our consulting page to learn more.

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