Is content marketing worth the time and effort (not to mention budget) it requires?
In a nutshell: yes, it is. This is particularly true if you don’t have a massive amount of budget to set you off from the ground up. On the other hand, your modest budget may very well be part of the reason you’re reluctant to push through with content marketing. If you’re a small business owner who finds it constantly challenging to stay on top of your to-do list, it doesn’t make sense to make major adjustments to your workload and funds. After all, it’s understandable that adding another task – and one you have to do regularly, at that – to your schedule that’s already bursting at its seams is the last thing you want. But once you realize just what kind of good investment it poses for your company, you’re bound to see that the returns are definitely well worth the adjustments.
For instance, according to the 2017 benchmarks and trends report by Content Marketing Institute, over 60% of B2B marketers reported that their content marketing strategies are more effective compared to the previous year. And in 2016, none of the marketers stated that their content marketing was “not at all effective.” This means that if you keep at your content marketing, and you focus on implementing effective strategies, you will see results eventually.
Here are a few trends you can implement to help you boost your overall digital marketing this year.
- Realize that content formats are changing.
Of course it’s a given that you need to consistently churn out content for your different platforms. Generating new ideas for your blog, for example, is something you should already expect to do on a regular basis. That’s all well and good, but it would be a huge mistake to assume that it’s the only thing you need to do.
This doesn’t have to spell out that you should go right ahead and hire a team of writers to work for you – especially if you can’t afford to at the moment. But it does mean that you need to take into account the fact that content marketing is changing rapidly, whether you have a team with you or not. Take Pixar as an example. Before they release award-winning animated films, they first start off with “ugly babies.” Acknowledge that process is just as important as content, so you’ll always be driven to find ways at improving how you do things.
You need a broader strategy, taking into consideration the need for a diverse set of skills later on, so you can meet the needs of your audience. And it’s not going to be solely focused on text, either. You may need to consider people who have experience in video production and editing, graphic design and illustration, and audio production.
- Practice transparency in your company.
Now more than ever, customers are bombarded with all sorts of advertising coming every which way. It’s not to anyone’s surprise, therefore, that there’s an inherently increasing fatigue in brand advertising according to Digiday. This can be about anything: claims on being environment-friendly, contributions to charity, and corporate support to particular causes. No wonder many people, particularly millennials, find it exhausting.
To address the issue, you need to take a genuine and more transparent approach. And if you want to give back to society, do so because you really want to help, not because you just want to tie it to a company promotion. In Asia-Pacific, recommendations ranked highest (85%) when it comes to who consumers trust in terms of brand advertising. This boils down to one very important thing: you need to consciously earn – and keep – the trust of your customers because that will be your best bet for an effective marketing strategy. There’s a big difference between you telling your readers how great your company is, versus your customers singing praises about your products and services to their friends because they genuinely liked it.
- Consider content as the fuel that drives your customer’s journey.
When you take into consideration digital marketing in general, you’d be hard pressed to pinpoint tactics and strategies that will work without content. On the contrary, you need content for just about any kind of marketing you need to do: whether you’re preparing your social media posts; writing blogs and articles; drafting your email marketing; launching campaigns; or even doing the script for a podcast.
Content marketing is at the core of any marketing strategy you’d like to implement, so you need to be able to catch your readers’ attention and establish trust in order to convert them from engaged audience to happy customers. Instead of focusing on top-of-the-funnel content, concentrate instead on supporting your readers with what they need at every stage of their journey. And of course, you can’t stop the minute they purchase your product or sign up for your service. You need to constantly nurture your relationships so they’ll be enthusiastic to promote your business to other people.
While these trends are noteworthy and should definitely be taken into account, they are by no means final. It would serve you well to do your own research and find out how you can improve your content marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to try new ways or risk failure in your endeavor to develop your process or offer better content. Though it may take considerable time, your willingness to step outside your comfort zone and try unfamiliar things will later on serve you in your business. Just as trends are known to fade away in time, so should you be open and flexible in adjusting to changes. A sensible approach is to always keep a look out for top performers in your field, and listen to the feedback of your customers.
What content marketing trends are you adapting for your business this year? Is there anything in the given tactics that you find challenging or unfamiliar when applied to your particular industry or field? Let us know in the comments.