If you’re like me, you like a good analogy. Analogical reasoning plays a critical, though mysterious, role in problem-solving contexts, especially for marketers. Today, marketers struggle with the “digital roadblock,” where proven marketing techniques fall flat and innovative ideas thrive. Forty percent of marketers know they must change their strategy and leadership role within the next year, but very few know how. Sixty percent plan on increasing their content budgets, but don’t have a defined strategy.
I propose thinking of content marketing as a drug. No, not a street drug – or at least, not only street drugs. There are prescription drugs, medical trials, and even placebo drugs. Some are bad, some are good – it depends on how you take them, or whether you take them at all. We take drugs to cure something physically, emotionally, or even mentally.
The reality is that digital marketing today is broken. As little as 8 percent of marketers are satisfied with their marketing campaign.
It’s time for a fix.
It’s time for a prescription.
By viewing content marketing as a “drug” for your marketing efforts, you can determine what is right for you.
Say No To (Street) Drugs
Link spamming and keyword stuffing are equitable to street drugs. These “feel” good because they might give some benefits at first, but in the long run they ruin you. Link spamming is common among sites with low quality or so-so content and results in penalties from Google and competing search engines. Google fights spam through algorithms as well as manual review, so it’s only a matter of time before questionable link building techniques are uncovered. In many cases, penalty from unnatural links are slim to impossible to undo, so it’s best to avoid them in the first place.
Yes to Medical Cannabis?
Social media is like cannabis. Some states are legalizing marijuana, others aren’t. Either way, it’s controversial, yet it’s proven that medical marijuana has incredible benefits. Similarly, it’s hard to pinpoint the right way to utilize social media, but we know it has marketing potential for every industry, even content.
Social media today is the leading online activity, composing 60 percent of smartphone use. However, similar to medical marijuana, it’s not always the best choice for every business. According to Laura Hogan at HubSpot, it’s time to rethink social media if your business is:
- Unsure why you’re using it. Sure, marketing “experts” say you should be on social media. Your loyal fans appreciate your digital presence, but if you invested into social media because of others, chances are you don’t have a plan and therefore can’t maximize the ROI of utilizing social media.
Instead, set clear, specific goals when it comes to growing your social network. Yes, social content might feel “fun” compared to other channels, but this doesn’t make it any simpler.
- Failing to reach the right audience. According to Hogan, each social platform has its specialties. Facebook is excellent for visual content whereas LinkedIn is perfect for industry insider news. Twitter is designed for sharing articles while Instagram is a natural place to promote products.
Think of each social page as an extension of your business blog, creating content for a unique segment of your audience. This boosts engagement rates while giving your audience what it wants.
Recognize, Diagnose, Prescribe
If you’re one of the 8 percent of marketers unhappy with their current marketing campaign, think twice before investing in content marketing. A doctor wouldn’t prescribe medicine without diagnosing the problem, so why invest in content marketing without a goal? Let’s take a look at the common symptoms of failed marketing campaigns and the remedies that are available to you:
- Difficulties closing B2B deals. The most common symptom in failing to seal potential B2B deals is the inability to effectively sway the executive suite. Content geared towards CEOs, CFOs, and other key decision makers is critical to earning trust and growing your business.
Whitepapers and case studies have a reported a 70 percent effectiveness rate for influencing C-suite leaders towards a deal. Original content filled with reusable information creates powerful social proof for your target audience. According to Angela Stringfellow of CODA Concepts, LLC, whitepapers give businesses the opportunity to get in-depth with their content without stereotypical marketing fluff.
- Challenge with SEO, brand recognition. For many B2C businesses, the biggest challenge is standing out from the crowd and earning highly targeted traffic. With 347 blog posts published every minute, digital noise has never been louder. Typical symptoms include low click-through rates, low user retention, and low conversion rates.
Through business blogging, organizations have the opportunity to create a meaningful relationship with their audience. Real value from business blogging comes not from self-promotional content, but from providing valuable information to your readers for free. This results in competitive positioning, which creates brand recognition and inherently improves SEO.
- Low conversion rates. When businesses have an excellent social media presence and robust blog yet fail to convert readers into paying customers, chances are there’s something wrong with their site copy. Since site copy lays dormant, it’s tempting to forget that it’s part of your content marketing efforts. Instead, consider website optimization and whether or not your site is performing to its potential.
While content marketing is right for every business, not every business is utilizing content marketing for the right reasons. Pinpointing your weak points, goals, and areas in need of improvement and you’ll invest in the most meaningful and effective content for your brand.
Have you diagnosed your marketing challenges, and have you prescribed a content solution?
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