This makes the content marketing landscape extremely competitive. With more and more companies using content creation and its distribution to improve brand awareness, credibility and niche authority, run-of-the mill content marketing doesn't work anymore.
If you take a look at some of the best content marketing campaigns of 2014, you realize you can't afford to take content marketing for granted. You need to be able to create compelling content and ensure it reaches your target audience.
(Note: Take a look at Kapost's comprehensive list of the best brands in content marketing.)
But effective content marketing is way more than "just" creating high quality content and its effective distribution. The focus must be content amplification.
Each content piece you create is a building block of brand identity; you need to be able to maximize its use. That requires experimentation and endless fine tuning, but at the end of the day you can't succeed in content marketing without pushing the envelope.
Let's take a look at 3 things that can set you on the road to content marketing success:
1. Step Out Of Your Content Comfort Zone
Say your content marketing efforts primarily focus on publishing content on your blog and high authority third party websites/blogs. You then focus on sharing the links to this content on your social media profiles.
This strategy is working for you and you are in a happy place right now, safe and secure. You are scared to get out of this comfort zone and try something new. This is where you go wrong. If you want to go one up over your competitors and make sure your content scores over theirs, diversify your content formats.
Take the case of podcasts. According to Washington Post, the number of monthly podcast listeners is 75 million, which basically makes this format a great way of reaching out to your audience.
A fearless marketer will say, "Hey! Let's think about creating a podcast?"; scared marketers will say, "Let's just stick to what we've been doing and not venture into uncharted territory". No prizes for guessing, it's the fearless content marketers who're going to run away with a large portion of consumer mindshare. You'll be left with the crumbs.
So, if you want your business to grow via content marketing don't be scared of doing something you haven't done before.
The question is - How do you become a fearless marketer? By making a conscious effort! Start off by getting a low down on the latest trends in content marketing and figuring out which one of them will work for your business.
Your next step is to begin incorporating that trend in your content marketing strategy. If you think podcasting is a marketing tactic you need to use, make sure you know everything about it. Identify how you can create and launch a successful podcast. You might not get it right the first time, so keep trying.
2. Deliver What Your Audience Wants
This sounds like a no-brainer.
But think about it. Do you really put in a lot of time and effort to understand what your target audience wants, and then create content that delivers on their needs? What's more, have you considered want your niche influencers are talking about and tried creating content that centers on the topic they are discussing?
Your audience not only includes your existing and potential customers but also thought leaders in your niche. A lot of content marketers only focus on turning customers into brand loyalists; but that is just the first part in the long process of optimizing deliverables from content marketing. The second part is trying to convert influencers into thought leaders; and once you've done so, you need to keep building a meaningful relationship with them by way of your content.
Rand Fishkin has hosted a Whiteboard Friday on this subject and it offers some great insights. What is very evident when you want to scope the audience's mind before getting started on content creation is the difficulty in tapping into conversations that give you a very clear idea of what they want. This is why you need to spread your net wide. Use social media, discussion forums, conferences, and anything else you can to understand your audience better.
If you know what they want, that's half the battle won, the other half will be won purely on the brunt of your content.
3. Get Creators
This takes us to our final point.
One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is consistently creating high quality, shareworthy content. It is the inability to achieve a measure of consistency in their content production efforts that prevents organizations from getting the most out of content marketing.
Get good creators on board. They will be the backbone of your marketing campaign. So, what does pushing the envelope have to do with hiring the best content creators? Good question, and the answer is - Investment. Be prepared to spend more to hire the right talent. While most organizations are willing to invest in experienced content marketers, they choose to be thrifty when they are hiring content creators. That's where they go wrong, and essentially where you shouldn't go wrong.
You need to find the right writers for content creation, designers for crafting striking infographics and work with only the best video experts for creating interesting high quality videos. In the world of content marketing, coming out second best is not enough. But if you want to be the best, you need to work with the best and for that you need to spend some money. In this particular case, you need to push the spending envelope.
Result-driven content marketing is all about taking risks; because in every risk lies an opportunity. It's a cut throat world out there and nobody is going to hand an opportunity to you on a platter; experimentation helps you create these opportunities. If you think about it, the points mentioned in this post ask you to go the distance and then some more. Do what you've been doing, but take that extra step. This will help you optimize your content marketing campaign.