We’ve all heard it, “Content Is King”. But as more and more companies have embraced content marketing, the pool is now so large, it can be hard for brands to be heard. Have emerging platforms, new technologies, and increased competition all contributed to the dethroning of content?
Despite these changes to content marketing, marketers that have continued to evolve their strategies still believe that content marketing reigns supreme. This blog post will explore a few reasons why you may have seen a dip in your contents’ effectiveness, and then outline six ways you can improve your outcomes in 2017.
Why has my content reach decreased?
Has your content reach plateaued (or plummeted)? You’re not alone. Here’s a few reasons that you may have seen a decrease in your content’s effectiveness:
Not connecting with customers
All too often, brands focus on themselves when developing content, but forget to consider whether their audience is interested in what they are talking about. It’s easy to forget that your purpose is to communicate with customers, not talk at them. Copywriting is challenging, especially when you’re trying to capture the attention of people across a variety demographics and personalities.
Nevertheless, to convey your message to your target audience you must make sure your content is resonating with them. To do that you must really understand who they are—and understand that not every customer is the same, and they may have different wants and needs.
Search Engines have become smarter
There are thousands of signals search engines use to determine content ranking and relevancy. Overtime, algorithms have moved away from matching keywords and have become better at understanding content as well as the context of your page. Today, search engines like Google can track a user’s search queries to determine the purpose of their search, and then deliver the appropriate search results to match the intent of the user. They are also able to “read” an image, and understand your website’s purpose and offerings based on the “sum” of the photos featured.
To complicate things further, the increasing usage of RankBrain, which helps Google prioritize signals based on machine learning of the user’s behavior over time, means subtle but effecting changes. These changes will be so gradual that tools developed to detect SEO ranking fluctuations won’t be able to detect, nor will it be easy to identify if a shift is due to industry user behavior or normal time decay of content.
It’s noisy out there!
When marketers starting dubbing “Content is King”, it was almost enough to say, “If you build it they will come”. There was a lot less noise and competition online because marketers weren’t convinced of the value of content marketing. Many users relied on RSS feeds to discover content, so simply ‘feeding the machine’ was a successful tactic to promote content.
Today, everyone has something to say—even the small local mom and pop shops are on social media and producing blog content. Technologies have evolved and introduced new ways to consume content. There are so many ways to discover content between traditional media, word-of-mouth (yes, people still talk to one another), social media sites, email, traditional search, voice search, and even virtual reality! How is your company leveraging all forms?
Improve your content in 2017
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and break through the noise of content marketing? Follow these tips:
- Know your audience
Do your research. Do you really know who you are targeting? What keeps your audience up at night? Where do they like to go? When do they go there? Why are they interested in you? Recognize their values, motivators, and challenges. Understanding your audience is the first step to developing content that they’ll want to consume.
- Produce content.
While publishing content at a consistent cadence is still important, marketers need to focus on quality before quantity. Now that you know who you’re communicating with, create content to develop deep connections with your audience. Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to personas or consumption. Topics, messaging, and tone-of-voice should be customized to suite each audience’s needs for each piece of content. Make sure your content is optimized so that you don’t lose a user because of poor design or slow load times. Remember, high bounce rates coupled with low time on page will hurt your organic search visibility.
- Produce content in different formats.
Photos, website, videos, blogs, vlogs… there are endless options in how you can deliver your content and message to users. Be strategic when deciding the best format for your content. What platforms is your target persona most active on? What device do they use most? Where will they be consuming your content—at the office or on-the-go? Will they be multitasking? Asking yourself key questions will help you to decide which format will be most effective.
- Promote your content.
Leverage technologies, such as marketing automation tools or social media networks, to help amplify the reach of your content. Recognize and appreciate each platform’s purpose and limitation. Should your video be a short shareable clip, live streamed on FacebookLive, or planned and polished and embedded on our website? Also, don’t forget that you can amplify your content through paid media.
- Monitor your analytics.
See what’s working and what isn’t. Due to the complexity of algorithms, change up your comparison time periods and track trends rather than solely focusing on simple numbers.
- Be agile.
Having a plan is important, but continue to listen to your customers. Review social media engagement, your analytics data, and qualitative research. Be ready and willing to pivot to best meet your audiences’ needs and interests.
While it may seem hard to keep up with the changes of content demands, your effort will be rewarded. Consider doing a full inventory of your content to determine how you can improve and refresh your approach. By understanding which content topics and formats are missing from your mix, your content team will have a clear focus on revitalizing your brand online. As marketing technologies and consumers continue to evolve, so must your content. Remember, if you’re still using the same content strategy you were two years ago, you’re behind the times!
Or, get in touch with Mambo for help with a full content gap analysis or persona workshop to uncover the power behind your brand.