2016 is a landmark year for content marketing, as we close in on a saturation point, with the majority of companies now relying on content as a primary part of their general marketing strategies. Not only will it become something you have to use but it will become something that practically all your competitors will be using. Many new arrivals will make big content marketing mistakes, and others will scour the web for content tips and strategies without truly learning the fundamentals: in the words of David Ogilvy, “you cannot bore people into buying your product; you can only interest them in buying it.”
With all that in mind, here are five things you need to know about content marketing right now, guided by the State of Content Marketing report.
There's No Shortage of Tools
Content marketing used to be about doing a lot of tasks manually. But with so many tools for Chrome and Firefox, most of the tasks involved with content marketing have been automated. Content marketing programs like Buffer can schedule content to be published, whereas social media tools like Hootsuite can be used to promote said content without recurring input.
The important thing about tools is that with the right ones you can handle a huge content marketing campaign with less effort. They take some time to set up and it can take a while to get used to them, but when they are up and running you can direct your attentions to more important business tasks.
You Need to Integrate
Content is king and it’s going to keep people coming back to your website - but retention is queen, demanding integrated with all other aspects of your marketing. What people need to understand in 2016 is that content marketing is the driving force behind your entire marketing campaign.
It speaks to your customers. It powers your social media promotion. It creates relationships between you and your target audience. Whenever you think of marketing, you should be thinking of content marketing. Integrate your content marketing team with the rest of your business.
Leverage Content Marketing to Attract the Best Talent
Content marketing has many uses, and it’s not simply to increase sales and conversions. You as an organization are only as good as your team. The newest generation of workers is different. They no longer recognize traditional values or hierarchies. They want to see that a company has a purpose, and by implication that their work has a purpose.
Use content marketing to attract the top talent. You can do this by giving an insight into what your company is doing and how you are making a difference.
Content Marketing is No Silver Bullet
It’s easy to look at all the hype surrounding content marketing and to assume that all you have to do is start a campaign and then good things will happen. This is not the case at all. In fact, it’s extremely easy to start a content marketing campaign and then see it flop. Most entrepreneurs will start out like this.
You have to measure what’s working. Then you have to refine and tweak your campaign until you get the results you want. And since the landscape changes all the time this is a process that never ends.
The Sales Funnel Goes Hand-in-Hand
Your success as a content marketer relies on having a sales funnel that goes with it. Remember what your main goal is: content marketing is about taking a person and leading them to the point where they become a customer. Traffic numbers alone mean nothing, because you can’t pay your bills using traffic numbers.
Creating a sales funnel is exactly like content marketing. You have to refine and tweak it until you get it just right. These are some tips for crafting the perfect sales funnel:
- Have a target audience. Make sure you have the image of your perfect customer in your head.
- Make sure you have multiple funnels to suit different sub-niches of your target audience.
- Don’t start by asking people for their money. Give them something of value. Nurture your target.
- Concentrate on providing a five-star user experience.
- Each stage should tell you where in the process the client is, all the way from ‘Just looking.’ to ‘I’m ready to make a purchase.’
Your content marketing campaign will filter through people so only the most likely people to make a purchase will find themselves in your sales funnel. This is how you go about achieving laser targeting.
The number one takeaway from this guide to content marketing is that this is something that’s here to stay. Content marketing must be a priority and it must be something that figures as part of your business. Its what users expect and it’s what the experts say is most effective.
How will you start your content marketing campaign today?