Is Your Content Marketing Working for You? If not, Follow These 5 Steps to Make it Work.

Last updated: 07-06-2020

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Is Your Content Marketing Working for You? If not, Follow These 5 Steps to Make it Work.

How to Make your Content Marketing Work in 4 Steps
By Dawn Bowman
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Did you know that more than 75% of marketers use content marketing to generate leads and grow their businesses?
However, content can only help you if it is well-curated. Plus, with more and more brands hopping on to the content bandwagon, standing out from the crowd is no easy feat.
If you’re struggling to capitalize on content marketing or need help getting started, read on.
These four steps will make your content marketing efforts more effective.
1. Get to Know Your Audience Better
Who are you creating content for?
All of your efforts will be in vain if your audience has zero or little interest in the content you’re putting out. More often than not, content marketing falls short because of a misalignment between the content and its audience.
Understanding your audience will help you figure out what content you need to create. Additionally, it will enable you to invest in the right resources. 
Should you get a new video camera, or hunt for a freelance graphic designer? Do you want to start a blog or a YouTube channel? The answers to all these questions lie in figuring out your target audience.
If you’re struggling to define and understand your target audience, here are a few tips that can help:
  Survey Your Customer Base: Identify their ages, genders, and locations. Find out more about their hobbies, favorite social media platforms, main frustrations when it comes to your niche, etc. However, remember to keep your survey short and simple.
  Leverage Social Media Listening: With the right listening tools, comb through your social media presence to find and contribute to conversations about your brand. Are people talking about you? What are their pain points? Are they satisfied? Take notes.
  Chalk Out Who Your Target Audience Isn’t: Putting out relevant content also requires that marketers know what not to create. For instance, maybe your product doesn’t cater to an older population. That cuts out a good chunk of people from your target audience.
Take Airbnb, for example — an online marketplace for locals and travelers. It isn’t seeking to appeal to everyone, and that’s precisely the point. Airbnb is targeting travelers that want:
Cool
Affordable
Authentic
This can be seen from the types of posts they create. By means of sharing user-generated visuals on Instagram, Airbnb has made sleeping in a stranger’s bed cool — exactly what its target audience is on the lookout for.
Image via Instagram
2. Reach Out to the Right Influencers
Whether you need a helping hand with content curation, content promotion, or both, influencers could be just what you’re looking for. They are social media celebrities who have knowledge, authority, and sway in their niche. Moreover, they tend to have a way with creating content and influencing purchasing decisions.
Influencers and content marketing go very much hand-in-hand. 
Here are three undeniable reasons why your content marketing strategy must open the doors to influencers:
They’re Authentic
Many of us frown at the sight of those creepy pop-up advertisements. Direct advertising is gradually losing its hold, and the new alternative is influencer marketing.
Influencers are individuals that people choose to follow because they want to. These online stars put out high-quality content, interact with their followers, and deliver experiences. Additionally, they’re relatively less likely to be viewed as “partners of a brand.”
This authenticity helps brands increase conversions and boost sales. A 2019 report revealed that 80% of consumers make a purchase based on influencers’ recommendations.
There’s Something for Everybody
Whether your business is well-established, just starting off, or somewhere in the middle, influencers will have you sorted. They come in all shapes and sizes — each of them has a specific style, appeal, audience, and area of expertise. Additionally, even if you’re working with a small budget, influencer marketing could prove beneficial for you.
All that being said, the influencer vetting process can be tedious. Fortunately, there are tools and platforms that can guide you through it, and help you narrow down on the right influencers.
They Have a Way with Creating Content
Influencers regularly create content for their audiences and know what they like and dislike.
So, by delegating the task of content creation to influencers, you can offload a huge chunk of your work. What’s more, you can be assured that they’ll get it right.
3. Create an Effective Content Mix
Rewind back a few years, and the internet was filled with text-heavy content. However, in a world that wants to absorb more information faster, other forms of content — images, videos, infographics, and podcasts — are now in the spotlight.
Plus, a content marketing strategy that includes different types of content will be a lot more successful at connecting with a wider variety of customers. This is because consumers have varying tastes, and each one will prefer one form of content over the others.
Let’s take a look at three popular types of content to win new leads and boost conversions:
Videos
If you want to grab your audience’s attention and engage them quickly, videos must top your priorities. In fact, 85% of marketers believe that video is an effective way to grab attention online. That’s not all; 93% of them landed a new customer owing to a video on social media.
While short, crisp, and attention-grabbing videos can be useful in the awareness stage, how-to and product review videos can be capitalized on in the decision-making stage.
What’s more, videos enable brands to market their products by way of storytelling. However, simply creating videos isn’t enough. You need to ensure that they’re unique and of the highest quality. For this, you can leverage video making tools that can help you create videos with ease. 
Take, for example, an American clothing company, Patagonia. Their videos feature people who wear their clothes and their experiences with them.
For instance, this video walks viewers through three-year-old, Mac’s, snowboarding journey.
Image via YouTube
Infographics
Infographics are red-hot on the internet right now. These visuals are colorful, graphic representations of data. When done right, they can be packed with tons of information while also being easily digestible.
Infographics also make for highly shareable content and are a great way of getting backlinks.
While there are a number of tools that can help you create these visuals, make sure to keep a few points in mind:
1. Keep the designs simple and clean
2. Use sufficient white spaces
3. Include easy-to-read fonts
Podcasts
In 2020, there are over 900,000 podcasts, and there’s a reason why these numbers are climbing by the day. Podcasts are engaging, interactive, mobile-friendly, and cheap to create.
While podcasts are still picking up steam, they make for the perfect addition to content marketing strategies. What makes them so effective is that they can be consumed anywhere—at the gym, in the kitchen, on the road.
However, before you start a podcast, make sure that you check off the following boxes:
A great name
The right gear
The right software solutions
Also, whenever you think that your podcasts aren’t generating expected results, analyze where you’re going wrong. There are several tools and platforms that can help you measure your success.
4. Evaluate your Content
There’s no dearth of material offering advice on how to create and implement an effective content strategy.
However, time and again, it is necessary to ask yourself if your content marketing strategy is really working. Taking a look at your page views or post likes is not all that measurement of success entails today.
Thanks to technological advancements—we can measure and analyze just about every metric in content marketing today.
Here are some questions you must ask yourself:
Is Your Content Discoverable?
Your content could be the best out there, but what’s the use if it’s not reaching the right people? While measuring SEO effectiveness is difficult, it isn’t impossible. 
The key is to measure a multitude of metrics and not just a select few:
Keyword Rankings: This will help you find out if you’re targeting the right keywords, and if you’re actually ranking for any of them.
Organic Traffic: If your organic traffic is increasing, your strategy is probably working. However, you need to assess the quality of your traffic too.
Click-Through Rate (CTR): You’re ranking high, but how many people are really clicking on your website? That’s something CTR will help you gauge.
Site Visitors: If you’re receiving a new influx of visitors consistently, it certainly means that you’re discoverable on the internet.
You can use various analytics tools like Google Analytics to find this information.
Is Your Content Engaging?
You’ve got new visitors to your website or new followers on your social media accounts. Now what?
You need to make sure that those users remain interested and don’t exit your website quickly. For websites or blogs, metrics like time on site and bounce rates are great to start with. 
On the other hand, for social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you need to look at how people are reacting to your content. So for these, you’ll need to have a different strategy in place.
Find out if they are commenting and sharing, in addition to liking. Is your content sparking conversations? Engaging content can not just build brand awareness, but also boost customer loyalty. 
Is Your Content Converting?
For many businesses, the bottom line is boosting sales. After all, what good are content and engagement if your sales remain stagnant in the long-run?
So, as a practice, closely monitor if your content marketing efforts are driving sales.
All that being said, measuring your content marketing success is a mammoth task. To ease the process, you can invest in tools and services. Some of the tools marketers swear by are Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and BuzzSumo.
Ready to Nail your Content Marketing Strategy?
Understanding your audience, partnering with influencers, creating a mix of content, and measuring your success are the bare necessities of an effective content strategy.
However, working out a successful content marketing strategy is a continuous process. It requires a whole lot of trial and error, alterations, and patience. Moreover, keeping in mind the ever-evolving nature of the online world, it is necessary to stay in the know.
Are there any tips you’re following? What has worked for you? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.
 
About the Author:
Dawn Bowman is the Managing Editor for Shane Barker Consulting. She was previously the Managing Editor at KillerStartups and Startups.com. In her spare time, she writes short stories and song lyrics.
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