Today, businesses of all sizes — not just global brands — have online marketing strategies. Whether you’re a small business, a business in the “Business to Consumer” B2C sector or “Business to Business” B2B sector, well over 75% of all businesses indicate they are familiar with and using, a content marketing strategy.
However, just because a business recognizes the importance of content marketing doesn’t mean their efforts are successful. In fact, that same group that sees the value of content marketing may also doubt their effectiveness at creating targeted content. In the trenches, there’s often a high level of uncertainty about what is working and what isn’t when it comes to content strategies.
Content marketing is like a triathlon – you have your three “races” being content, publicity, and strategy. And you need to excel in each one in order to win.
Why Do Online Marketing Strategies Fail?
If you’ve been working your brand’s content marketing strategy for weeks or even months and aren’t seeing great results (such as increased web traffic, higher rankings for keywords, more inquiries), here are a few things you need to consider:
Your content marketing plan is too broad or without clear direction.
If you want your content marketing to be successful, you need to have a plan. What’s your business’ content marketing strategy? If you’ve answered something like, “Um… We put content on our blog and social media.” Read on…
- Make sure your strategy is focused on your defined business goals, or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). What goals are important to you? Targets to reach for include click-through rate, views, submitted lead generation forms, shares, overall traffic…. Define what’s most important to your business and then monitor those KPIs routinely.
- Once you’ve established a baseline level of activity, you can make changes in your strategy based on what you see as working best. If you see the open rate on your weekly e-newsletter is twice as high when you send it out on Thursday at 7 am, run with it! Reinforce well-performing initiatives and keep fine-tuning those that aren’t living up to your expectations.
- Whether you’ve hired a content marketing agency or handling the work in-house, it’s important to be actively involved in the content generation as well as content strategy. Ask questions, dig into the reasons for underperformance, and always be on the lookout for ways to improve.
You aren’t promoting your content enough, or in the right way.
It’s easy to say to yourself:
“Ok, I wrote the company’s blog post and put it on our website and Facebook page. I’m done for the day/week/month!”
Content creation is certainly a big part of content marketing, but it’s not the only part. If you’re not promoting your content in a variety of industry-appropriate and creative ways, you’re missing out on a potentially big boost in visibility. Whether you’re writing the content yourself or paying someone else to do it for you, you need to be publicizing it as frequently as possible.
This type of promotion could mean routinely placing it on your social media accounts, publishing in your e-newsletter and printed materials, offering customers visual or hard-copy reminders in your store or office, and conducting outreach through organizations that within your business sector (your city’s Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Board, a local professional association or networking group, school alumni associations).
If your content marketing strategy doesn’t include any form of promotion, you need to adjust and refine your focus. Brainstorming ideas for publicity and promotions plus scheduling the time to engage in these activities every day/week/month are essential if you want to get the word out about your business.
However… on the flip side of the coin, maybe it’s your promotion and PR strategy that’s turning people away! Take a good hard look at your actions and see if you’re “guilty” of any of the following:
Talking about yourself – a lot.
We’ve all been to a gathering and noticed “that person” — who does nothing but talk at other guests about how they and their brand are the best thing since sliced bread. While in some situations this can work, it’s important to understand audience and social cues. Depending on the type of event, this type of hard promotion is not always the best or most appropriate method. Share and promote your brand, but work to engage your customers in a conversation. Be willing to share and promote the good work of other businesses or organizations you admire or value. Take a step back and listen to your customers and let their wants, needs, and concerns inform your communication.
Serving up the same exact food every single day.