Content marketing has exploded in popularity, and the reasons aren’t surprising. Consumers are using the internet more for shopping and researching products. They’re also relying on social media and online publishers to get their news, and to judge what companies are trustworthy. Meanwhile, companies are competing for ad spots and social media followers, while blasting out content through blogs and newsletters.
The content marketing revolution is clearly in full swing. However, marketing platform Kapost reported that “only 32% of marketers say they are effectively executing enough content.” Thus there seems to be a gap between what businesses and entrepreneurs would like to achieve through content marketing, and what they are actually achieving.
1. Aim and Fire
It’s a piece of cake for huge, established companies to gather followers on every social media platform. They are already well-known and don’t need to prove themselves to followers. But for newbies, it’s probably a waste of time trying to leverage each platform equally. It’s important to build yrour initial community before branching out all over the internet. So the key is to select one or two (Facebook and Instagram, for example), platforms to start with and focus upon.
In order to select a target that makes sense, consider your audience demographics. A platform’s popularity ranges for people in different age groups, industries, and regions. Once you know your target audience well enough, you can begin researching to find out where they are most likely to hang out online. Pew Research collected some telling statistics about who uses which social media platforms.
2. Watch and Learn
We all glance over our basic data – how many followers we have, how many people comment on our posts, etc. But unless you are deliberate about keeping track, the information you learn could go in one ear and out the other without being retained.
The key here is to stop caring about numbers. Receiving 1000 likes in a day is great, but you shouldn’t let your ego swell over a one-time incident. Instead, start caring about patterns. Noticing patterns is your biggest opportunity for growth. So when a piece of content you publish does really well on social media, the question to ask is not “how many liked it?, but “why did they like it?” Was it more informative than your past content? Was it a different kind of content (eg. article, picture, video, quote, etc.)? By noticing patterns you can replicate and build upon what works, while gradually letting go of what doesn’t.
3. Remain Consistent
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but consistency is always a bit of a challenge – especially considering how busy professionals are nowadays. Being consistent doesn’t just mean updating the same platforms with content on a daily or weekly basis. It goes deeper, and includes consistency with your branding.
Consider two or three entities you follow on social media, or an entrepreneur who you religiously open emails from. Then ask yourself, “What keeps me coming back?” Undoubtedly, there is something that they provide with consistency. Maybe it’s education about something you’re interested in, or entertainment during the day when you need it. They probably don’t need to post articles or send out a newsletter every day, because when they do, you pay attention – you know what to expect.
So to excel in content marketing, you need to know what you are going to provide consistently, not simply the fact that you post consistently. Keep this in mind when creating any content.
4. Give it Some Thought
A lot of people are lazy about content marketing, or they’re disinterested. This is because content marketing isn’t the primary interest of most people. Their primary interest is usually their business – or whatever they are marketing. If you find yourself rushing to get your content finished each time, or dread coming up with content ideas, you may want to switch up your production process.
Brainstorm some ways to make content marketing easier, so that you can actually give it thought. Generic content can be more harmful to your reputation than no content at all. So consider setting aside time each day to jot down ideas, write, or research new topics. Your audience will absolutely be able to tell the difference between generic content, and well-crafted content. While this may seem more time-consuming, a little preparation can often speed up the creation process and get your juices flowing.
On the other hand, if you simply despise content marketing and feel like it is a major weak spot, you may want to designate the job to someone else.
So how do you know if you’d make a good content marketer? Expert content marketers are often described as “idea” people. They are articulate, they understand human motivation, and they enjoy communicating through creative means. If your content marketing has been sluggish, consider handing the task over to someone who embodies these traits.