Content – its main purpose
Content is an important part of a modern marketing strategy. Like the menu in a top restaurant, the tastier (more relevant and compelling) the food you offer, the more likely it is that potential customers are eventually going to select your products and services. Regardless of where people are in the buying cycle, they are looking for information – they want answers. Whether comparing product features or looking to solve a specific challenge – our goal is to answer those questions in a way that educates and inspires action.
“What helps people, helps business” – Leo Burnett
Content – the volume days
Since the turn of the century more and more companies have come to realise that the key enabler of their digital marketing is content. Initially it was thought that the content itself didn’t matter – as long as you had more of it than your competitors, you were winning the content marketing battle.needs to be feed with content. Over the last six years, content’s relationship with the marketing world has been a wild ride.
Somewhere around 2012, even the businesses and marketers who had solid content strategies got consumed by producing more content as fast as possible. With the emergence of platforms like Elance and oDesk (now Upwork) and fiverr, the mad dash for content had the marketing world hypnotised. The content itself didn’t matter – as long as you had more of it than your competitors, you were winning the content marketing battle.
But a few years on, Mark Schaefer published an article about something he called “content shock” – the existence of more content than a target audience could consume – and people started to panic. Was this the end?
No, not by a long shot.
As any good marketer knows content is (and always was) an important part of a great digital strategy. One of the main interpretations of Schaefer’s content shock article was that because there is too much content for our audiences to consume, only the most expensive content – or that with the biggest promotional budget – can rise to the top. This is a misrepresentation because the problem isn’t that good content can’t find an audience, but rather low-quality content has no chance of accomplishing content marketing goals.
Believe it or not, some businesses – and maybe even marketers – are confused about content marketing and how to leverage it in their strategies. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at content marketing then and now by examining its current state and suggesting how we can all move forward by learning from past mistakes or misconceptions.
Content marketing needs to seek to engage and capture a reader’s attention while offering them value in the form of an answer to their question, or solution to their problem. So why is everybody surprised that publishing $5 blog posts four times a week doesn’t work?
There Will Never Be Enough Exceptional Content
As a society, we love to consume content. Whether it’s to get away from our everyday lives (movies, sporting events) or part of them (news articles, weather forecasts), we are often either looking for information or wanting to be entertained. Don’t let content shock or any other scary term deter you from putting your thoughts, words and ideas out there. If it’s done well – with heart, energy and value – good content can and will soar above the cheap write-by-numbers fluff.
Technology and the increased flow of information has clearly made customers smarter, and thus a more formidable marketing challenge. But when it comes to content, people have always had the ability to sort through the filler; whether it’s books, movies, magazines or blogs, if your content is truly worth reading and valuable, there will be potential customers willing to do the necessary digging to find the answers they’re looking for.
But Producing Exceptional Content isn’t enough
You can have the best services / products at the best prices but this has little or no impact on how many potential customers know about them – or how well you’re search ranked by Google. The what, where, when and how of content is critical.
You also need to learn from the performance of your current content to improve the performance of your future content – this requires listening, measuring and change. You need to tap in early to relevant hot topics, to keep up to date with what’s working in content marketing and to leverage the content being published by the leaders (probably not the competitors) in your market. Lastly, you need to never lose sight of the fact that good content marketing is networking: A two way process where you’re meeting the needs and interests of your prospects – prominent direct advertising of your business in your content marketing is the death knell of its effectiveness.
You know your business and your market but WSI Thames knows content marketing. Together we can produce and use content in ways that cost effectively bring business results.