Content marketing is on the rise. The 2014 Econsultancy Marketing Budgets Report showed that 74% of brands surveyed are looking to increase their spending in the field of content marketing, which makes it the biggest area of increased spend this year. As this figure has been steadily growing over the last few years, it’s time to take a look at how marketers can create truly effective content marketing strategies and where they could be going wrong.
All too often, content marketing is focused on stickiness, bounce rates and social shares. While it is clear that these are important factors, it is vital to remember that content marketing actually exists to give users something that is interesting, funny or informative. If the content piece doesn’t do this, it will not be successful and the effect on a brand’s online presence will be minimal.
In order to maximise the effectiveness of content marketing, marketers need to consider what users will want to see, read and experience, and how they can deliver this to them. As Avinash Kaushik has said, “content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” Content marketing strategies should aim to add this value in a carefully targeted way, which sometimes means thinking more about what the content is than how many shares or links it will get.
Narrowing the Scope
The aim of content marketing is not to appeal to everyone; it is to appeal to a specific group of people with particular interests. The more clued-up marketers are about the interests and habits of their potential audience, the more likely it is that their strategies will succeed in attracting this audience. Content marketing is an opportunity to connect with customers on a much deeper level than standard marketing techniques allow and, if executed well, can build and maintain a strong brand presence.
This is also the case when it comes to social media. By gaining followers who are truly interested in the content that is being created, a brand is more likely to build and retain a strong social media following. These followers will like and share multiple pieces, helping to gather more followers and increase the brand’s online presence. In order to gain such loyal followers, however, it is necessary to create a reader-centric content marketing strategy that is truly relevant to the audience.
Reaping the Benefits
It might seem obvious that content should be the centre of content marketing, but often this is not what strategies are focused on. By shifting the structure of a content marketing strategy so that interest and audience are the priorities, brands can boost their social media profiles and build their online presence. Putting content at the forefront of a campaign is the only true way to compete in this ever-growing sector.