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December 5, 2014

How to Tell if Your Content Marketing is an Epic Failure

Everyone has jumped on the content marketing wagon. Whether it was a marketing forte or not, most businesses have now realized that content marketing is an essential component to healthy outreach.

Why? Two reasons, though they are intimately intertwined:

1) People love content. Not just any content; pieces that educate, amuse, enlighten, and excite. Notice that companies that clutter the web with the same old same old aren’t front runners. Those that continue to redefine the genre are.

2) Google loves content.
But of course, Google loves it because people love it, and Google loves people. That’s basic math.

While it took Google some years to create search algorithms sophisticated enough to weed out the good and the bad, the eagle has landed.

But how do you appropriately measure success with the somewhat intangible world of content?

You’ll never really know without a strategy. A content marketing strategy is the single most important factor in the campaign; even more so than the content itself.

Why? Let us count the ways.

Proof that Strategy is the Key to Content Marketing Success

Consider it this way: Does it make sense that you can write content about any topic at any time for any social network or website, share at will, and people will magically appear? Of course it doesn’t. And as much as the word “strategy” strikes fear in the right-brained creative’s mind, it’s truly a marketer’s best friend.

If you don’t have a strategy for all the fabulous content you create, here is your reality:

  • Your demographic will be confused and disloyal, with no solid reason to seek out your content
  • Content has zero perceived value
  • Your time and resources spent to create each piece is essentially wasted
  • The Internet becomes an even more cluttered and noisy space
  • Your brand’s image gets muddled, or worse

How to Tell if Your Content Marketing Has no “There There”

So are you lost in a sea of content with no road map to success? Here’s how to tell: Answer the following questions honestly and you’ll become clear on how strategic your efforts have been thus
far.

1) Are your topics cohesive?

Content that is all over the place with regards to categories and focus indicates zero consideration to consistency. Without a clear voice and a common theme (or themes), your audience won’t have a clue what you, and your business, is really about. And you’ll fail to provide consistent value, or amass an audience that wants to keep coming back for more.

2) Do you know who you’re creating content for?

Knowing your audience is so important I just can’t emphasize it enough. And by knowing, I mean really knowing; not guessing. Do customer surveys. Ask your customers questions about who they are. Analyze demographics. Go deep with this; the more you know about who they are, the more you know about what they want. And your content can target this precisely, making for a glorious win-win.

3) How consistent are you releasing your content?

A haphazard content publishing plan is also a major no-no. Create an editorial schedule that has some cohesion and stick to it religiously. Update your blogs the same time each day / week / month. Keep websites fresh and current; the same is true for social media channels.

4) Have you mastered a distinctive voice for your brand?

Brand identity is also core to your marketing efforts. If you publish social media blasts in one voice, blogs in another, and external marketing pieces in yet another voice, you’re back to confusing your target customers. Know who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and how to convey that throughout each medium.

5) Do you have a rock-solid distribution plan?

Be honest now; have you really plotted out how you’re going to release all that great content? You obviously know it takes more than just a single brilliant blog to woo the masses; create a road map of what content you’ll need, when it will be released, and where you will showcase each piece, and you are literally light years ahead of most of your competition. This is absolutely the recipe for your content success.

See, this isn’t too scary no, is it? All it takes is a little planning and creativity; a nice balance of logic and artistic flair. In other words, you need to put as much thought and effort into your content plan as you do the content itself. We live in a world where most content marketing is reactionary. One-off content pieces splash into the scene every day; sometimes they reach a chosen audience, but even if they garner some eyeballs, without follow-up it’s an utter waste. Don’t let your next viral eBook fall into an abyss of poor planning and execution.

What other content marketing strategies do you employ for success?

How do you measure the results?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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