Marketing executives are often accused of being tools but they rarely have the tools to come up with a great campaign strategy that cuts through the noise. Because it’s wrong to just assume that a failed content campaign proves that the approach is overused and losing its effectiveness, or that your brand or product wouldn’t benefit from proper content optimization and distribution. A failed campaign is simply a warning that there’s something wrong with your content marketing strategy. Here at Don’t Panic, we’ve got the perfect mixture that will lube up those tools and get them working smoothly! Here’s a look at the most common issues and how to fix them:
Is Your Strategy a Strategy?
“Our content marketing strategy calls for the promotion of our goods and services through regular creation of blog posts and a robust social media presence.”
This sort of mission statement is quite common in marketing departments, and there’s a huge problem with it: it’s not a strategy. The reason that content marketing is so important is that it allows you to develop a lasting relationship with your target audience, and to build long-term trust that enhances your brand image. Posting on a blog and on social media from time to time, particularly if it’s just to push product, isn’t a strategy. That’s just a checklist with tasks to be done from time to time. A content marketing strategy must be properly planned and executed. It emphasizes consistency, so the frequency and form of content should be specified. Above all it provides value, meaning that every piece of content should have a “reason for being” which benefits the people who read or see it.
ACTION POINT: Ensure that you actually have a documented, cohesive and goal-oriented content marketing plan that you and your people follow rigorously. Otherwise, you’re relying on luck, not strategy.
Are You Providing Value?
Here’s a question everyone can relate to: do you look forward to hearing from relatives or friends only when they need something from you? Of course not. Similarly, customers don’t like hearing from you only when you’re trying to sell them something. What you can give your audience is unique, interesting, usable content, ideally something which will solve a problem or answer a question for them. The best way to do this is to make sure your posts or videos are compelling and don’t simply repeat the same stuff people have read or seen many times before.
ACTION POINT: Evaluate all of your content to ensure that it’s interesting, unique, and valuable to your target market. Above all, don’t be boring!
How Wide Is Your Net?
Regular blogging, posting to YouTube and Tweeting are certainly important. But that “strategy” ignores all of the people who aren’t reading your blog or following you. If you’re not casting a wide net though, you’re probably missing a huge percentage of your target audience. One word explains the solution to most of these issues: repurposing. Take older content, particularly if it was popular, and convert it into different forms for consumption on other platforms. Videos (and they don’t have to be expensive, highly-produced masterpieces), even podcasts or webinars are ways to reach many prospects who would otherwise never be exposed to your content.
ACTION POINT: Break out of your comfort zone, and repurpose your content so it takes many forms and appeals to both readers and viewers.
Are You Marketing and Promoting to the Right People?
Lots of marketers fall in love with numbers; it comes naturally with the job. The first step to fixing this problem is to understand the target market, either through existing research or by looking at analytics tools for your major platforms. The second is to match your content and distribution platforms to that audience. For instance, gen-X and millennials consumers vastly prefer video and audio books, while many baby boomers still prefer longer written content. Social media use in general transcends demographics, but people over 50 gravitate to Facebook, LinkedIn is more popular with those aged 25-49, and Snapchat and Instagram’s primary users are under 30. Pinterest’s user base is primarily female, and nearly half of the Hispanic audience uses WhatsApp.
ACTION POINT: Ensure that you are creating content which will appeal to your target audience, distributing it on the platforms they’re likely to use, and widely promoting it for maximum visibility and effectiveness.