Just how vital and valuable is content marketing in today’s business landscape? Behold these eye-opening statistics:
- Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 780 percent higher for digital marketing content leaders compared to followers. (Source: Aberdeen)
- Despite costing 62 percent less than traditional marketing, digital marketing content generates 300 percent more leads. (Source: DemandMetric)
- A whopping 95 percent of customers consider digital marketing content as trustworthy when evaluating a business and its offerings. (Source: DemandGen)
However, not every business that is on the digital marketing content bus is enjoying the ride. In fact, many businesses are generating less-than-optimized outcomes; and many are generating little to no ROI. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that businesses can dramatically improve their results — which means more brand awareness, more customers, more revenues and more profits — by ensuring that they embrace and abide by these five principles of crafting highly effective digital marketing according to entrepreneur and online marketing expert Johnson Nguyen:
Deeply Understand the Target Market
Before focusing on words, images, colors, design, delivery, or any other aspect of the content creation process — it’s imperative for businesses to take a step back, and deeply understand not just who they are striving to reach, but quite frankly, why those intended recipients should care.
Adds Johnson Nguyen, who heads a Vancouver, British Columbia-based online marketing firm: Using high-quality market research and tools like buyer personas sheds valuable demographic and psychographic insights into what kind of content is going to resonate with target audiences, and what is going to get ignored. Indeed, it doesn’t matter how well written or effectively designed a piece of content is. If target audiences don’t perceive it as relevant — that is, if it doesn’t align with their pain points, goals, objectives and aspirations — then it simply can’t and won’t work.
Make Adjustments Based on the Channel Strategy
A surprising number of businesses — including large, successful firms — make the mistake of trying to push the right content out the wrong channel. For example, they overload their Facebook page with articles, while their website blog gathers virtual dust. Or, their YouTube channel is loaded with sales-focused commercials instead of educational and engaging content. The way to avoid this pitfall is to adjust content accordingly not just based on who is going to receive it (as discussed above), but how they are going to receive it.
According to Johnson Nguyen: It is also possible — and often recommended — to push content out through multiple channels. For example, if there is a new feature article on the website blog, businesses can put a captivating and intriguing snippet on Facebook or Twitter, and link to the content.
Be Original — or Else!
While it’s acceptable to occasionally re-post content (of course with permission from the author or copyright holder), the focus must be on creating a steady stream of fresh, interesting, relevant, readable, visually engaging — and perhaps above all else: original content. This is not just essential for SEO purposes, but it helps businesses stand out and apart in a crowded, competitive marketplace.
Many small businesses struggle to create and distribute original content; not because they’re lazy or neglectful, but because they simply don’t have the internal resources to make it happen. In these cases, partnering with an experienced and reputable online marketing firm is the right move.
Keep the Content Production Wheel Turning
Many businesses — and again, not just small firms but also large organizations — have a strong and impressive start to their blog and off-site campaigns (e.g. guest posting on a third-party site, publishing industry-relevant infographics, etc.), but then lose focus — and eventually, abandon the effort more or less. This is a common, yet significant mistake. Content is not a one-time deal or a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. It is an ongoing commitment.
One of the most difficult things for businesses to grasp is that content creation — and content marketing overall — is a long-term strategy, not a short-term tactic. It can take several months to build a base of content and start seeing results, such as a shorter sales cycle that is populated by higher quality prospects. Unfortunately, many businesses pull the plug on their content strategy far too soon. They are like people who enthusiastically sign-up for a gym membership but stop after a month or two because they don’t look like a fitness model. It’s a journey, and unlike the people on Star Trek, businesses have to travel the path instead of the beam from point A to point B.
Monitor and measure everything
Just as TV ratings and not critical acclaim ultimately determines which shows stay on the air vs. head into the dustbin, businesses need to pay attention to how their content is working — and how it might not be working — and make adjustments accordingly.
Adds Johnson Nguyen: Many businesses that monitor the performance of their content — or have it monitored by an online marketing agency — are surprised to discover a gap between what they expected, and what is actually the case. For example, they anticipated that an infographic would go viral yet didn’t, while a long-form 2,000-word feature article on their blog is on fire and generating likes, shares, and comments. The point is not to abandon predictions since it’s important to have a solid sense of what’s going to generate traction. Rather, the message is for businesses to monitor and measure everything and adjust accordingly.
The Bottom Line
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, content marketing isn’t just an important part of overall customer outreach and retention strategy — it’s integral, and for most businesses, it’s essential. Following Johnson Nguyen’s proven and practical tips for crafting highly effective digital marketing content will help businesses extend their reach, impress their customers, and expand their brand in both traditional and non-traditional markets. In short: it will keep help them strong and successful, instead of struggling to get noticed, and perhaps fighting to survive.