Have you ever played that game “Where’s Waldo?”. In that game you had to find, well, Waldo, which is a pretty funny guy. The books were filled with LOTS of information and, your objective was to search for the red-striped T-Shirt guy. Does it remind you of something? Maybe content marketing?
Can you find Waldo? I guess you can’t. At least, not at first glance.
This is exactly how the internet feels nowadays. People won’t be able to find you (yeah, you’re Wally) in the so crowded space we live in.
Creating content is not a problem anymore. We have plenty of it. In fact, more than we can even consume.
So… Why should people read YOUR content when they can be reading your competitor’s? This is exactly what we are going to talk about in this blog post.
Online Content Statistics NOWADAYS
According to an online research, 4 MILLION blog posts are written every single day on the internet nowadays. Can you even BELIEVE it?
If you wanna get a sense of how big this is, just go to worldometers.info. You’ll be able to see in real time how many blog posts are written each day.
So, with 4 million blog posts each day. Do you really believe your 500-word 10-point techniques will stand out? You don’t have a chance.
Fact is: People and companies are more and more focused on creating content. Content has become the standard for anyone that wants to build a presence online. And I don’t blame them. It is, in fact, effective.
However… How to stand out in such a crowded space?
Once upon a time, the internet was starting out and people were already discovering. SEO and marketing techniques were being discovered and people were simply RAVING about it. Everything was new.
Those so-called “marketing experts” decided that it was time to sell some online courses teaching you some “guidelines” to build content online.
You need to create actionable 500-word how-to posts focusing on long tail keywords that appeal to your niche audience.
Publish each day. Create as much content as you can. Update your blog constantly. The more the merrier.
Does it sound familiar? I bet it does. I have plenty of 500-post drafts sitting on my computer and I wanted to release one blog post a day. Oh boy, the past…
But there is one question we need to ask ourselves: Does it still work? Or do we need to adjust our sails if we really need to stand out?
If there are 4 MILLION blog posts being produced each day (and some of them are actually PRETTY good), how can we assume our content is going to be SEEN by people? How can we catch their attention?
And more than that… How can we optimize so that we don’t waste our current content and always feel the urge to produce more and more?
The Internet Is Crowded With Content
As I’ve said before, producing content is a normal (and affordable) strategy nowadays.
Once upon a time, only those who had money and controlled the sources of information (TV, printed media, etc.) could produce content. So, we could say that content was concentrated in the hands of few.
However, today, things have changed completely.
Technology has given us the power to create anything we want. Everyone can own some kind of online publishing platform, scaling exponentially the content that is produced everyday.
We can read content from our neighbor’s blog, from our aunt’s Tumblr and I must say we are going to watch a lot of dog news as soon as they start learning how to do it.
There is still some type of high-end technology, but most of the people are fighting for the mainstream attention: the internet.
A research done in 2014 showed that 93% of B2B (Business To Business) companies and 90% of B2C (Business To Consumer) companies were producing content. However, 50% of them admitted they were struggling to build an effective content marketing strategy.
And what does it mean to build an effective content marketing strategy?
Well, create content that resonates with your customers or audience. If you’re just building content that no one will see, you’re just wasting time.
Not only those companies are producing more content, but they are actually systemizing them. The goal here is to create the more content they possibly can so that people start reading, looking and searching for them.
They are appealing to different types of media: webinars, podcasts, blog posts, articles, social media. Another research showed that each company tries to stay active in, at least, 6 different social media channels. How exhausting!
Do people really NEED all of this content?
More than that… Can people really CONSUME all of this? Or are we so drawn by our inability to create content that appeals to our audience that we tend to compensate with more and more content?
Fact is: Most of us still struggle to create content that appeals to our audience. And this is starting to show up with many different people starting to realize that… Their content is not interesting enough.
The challenge has shifted: we desperately need relevant content.
A New Approach
So… If quantity and so-so content are not enough anymore, what is? What is the type of content that will rule the future?
First of all, we need to understand a few things. The world has changed.
That strategy of “keep publishing content and someday people might discover you” is b******. And a complete waste of time.
Why should you waste your precious TIME beating a dead horse when you could implement a CLEAR strategy that could generate much MORE RESULTS with LESS EFFORT?
What happens is that people end up treating different situations as if they were equal. They engage in the produce produce produce mindset that they don’t even stop to think about what they are doing.
Old marketing gurus tell that you should create content that appeals to your audience. In fact, that is TOTALLY true. But if nobody knows you… Will it matter?
Bottom line is: you have two main roads to follow when it comes to creating content.
You have an audience or you don’t.
Content strategies will drastically vary depending on your situation at the moment.
I have an audience
If you already have an audience, things are a little bit easier. You already have a following that is interested in what you have to say.
In this situation, you can start optimizing a system that is meant to create content focused solely on your audience. But, even still you can’t make a mistake.
Forget that 500-word blog post. Even your audience is not interested in that anymore.
After Google’s latest updates (you know, Panda, Hummingbird, etc.), these type of contents is pretty much doomed.
What Google wants NOW is quality content. But you’ve probably heard of that already, right? So… Why aren’t you doing it?
Fact is if you have an audience you already have one of the most important things for an online business to succeed.Keep innovating, keep creating new ways to deliver content to your audience. And, at the bottom of that, keep finding ways to escalate your audience.
If your strategy is working, replicate it. And try to make your audience bring on more people.
But… This is a topic for another blog post.
I DON’T have an audience
This is where most people fail at. And I’m not saying this to brag because… MAN! I’ve failed at this several times before.
The 500-word blog posts strategy already don’t work for those who have an established audience… I imagine you already know the efficacy for YOU, who doesn’t even have an audience.
If nobody knows who you are, why should you spend time ONLY creating mediocre content? It will lead you to nowhere. And it will take A LOT of effort who will become ZERO results.
Instead, your focus should be on producing high-quality content and on getting this content in the front of the right people…
But… What would be those right people? Will it be your audience?
Well… No. These people will be influencers in your niche, who will link and share your content across platforms.
By doing that, you’ll suddenly build authority and your name will start to be seen and heard by others.
No more waiting for them to discover you. And you won’t go to them, either.
Instead, you’ll connect with the middle part of the chain, those who will link you to their audience. And this should be your main priority.
Why Content Marketing Is Important
As we’ve seen before, building content alone is shooting yourself in the foot. And I don’t blame you for doing that. As I’ve said before, I’ve been there already.
But, you need to understand that if no one knows YOU, you shouldn’t be spending all of your efforts NOW on creating content.
Instead, you should split your time and focus on both content creation and content marketing.
Well, but what is content marketing, by definition?
Content marketing, by itself, has two different definitions.
The first one is about “content marketing” as a field in marketing. And by that, I mean that it is a block of strategies that rely on the creation and distribution of content marketing.
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”
The other side for content marketing, lies on marketing the content you produce, of course. It’s not about all the strategy of creating, planning and distributing, but it solely focuses on the distribution part of it.
Basically, if you have a lot of content and no one is reading it, then, you need to focus on getting this content in front of the right people, based on what we’ve discussed previously.
Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Might Be Missing Something…
Okay, so now we understand most of a content marketing strategy and how it works (just a little bit, right? There is much more than that), you must be wondering “why does my content marketing strategy does not work?”.
Well, there might be a hundred reasons why your content strategy is not working, but, usually, it all comes down to ineffective messaging.
What do I mean by ineffective messaging?
Picture this: you just got a new puppy. You always wanted a dog and now you finally got it. You’re ready for him to be your new best friend. And you want him to have the best time when he finally arrives.
And, as you probably know, there are a lot of things you need to buy: a new bed, some sheets for him to feel comfortable, new toys… But you feel lost. You could use a guide here.
This is when you’ll probably search for what to buy when you get a new puppy. And this is where a lot of companies probably can use this to catch your attention with content focused on answering all of your questions.
This is content marketing at its best. Imagine an e-commerce website linking to all of its products while providing you good content. A gold hit, I must say.
However, for this to happen, they might have predicted all of this and understand where you are in the buying process. They wouldn’t have the same success if, for example, you’d bumped into an article about “Things That Happen When Your Dog Hits The 6-Month Mark”.
My point is: understand in what “phase of the process” your customer is.
There are usually three phases in which your customer is:
- New visitor
- Recurring visitor
Understanding that there are three different phases of a “potential customer” is key to creating an effective content strategy.
Most companies don’t understand this completely and they end up creating only one type of content, that usually impact only one of those three pillars or, in worst case scenarios, none of them.
Take for example if your content solely focuses on new visitors. How would your customers feel? Have you forgot about them? They have no content being produced for them. In cases like that, what ends up happening is that customers might end up forgetting about your service and might end quitting after some months.
Thrive Themes is a perfect example of how incredible they can be to their customers. Even after buying something from them, you get constant emails with tutorials, new ideas, case studies that can scale up your business, etc.
On the other hand, imagine if your content would just focus on your customers… You could have some other strategies for acquiring customers, but… Your content would be useless for it.
What about getting new people on the door? Would you be paying for them for eternity? Guess you might be missing a goldmine here. Content marketing can be powerful when it comes to acquiring new customers and building trust, which is something that more and more companies are realizing.
So, How To Rock Your Content Marketing?
As we’ve seen before, content marketing is not that simple and most companies still make a lot of mistakes when it comes to cracking the code of content marketing.
There are a little simple strategies (it would be impossible to cover it all in this blog post) you could start implementing right now that can really make a difference in your online content strategy.
#1 – High Quality Posts
You probably know this already but high quality content still plays a major role in any successful content marketing campaign.
Forget about that superficial blog posts and other type of content you’re creating. People already know this stuff. The internet is crowded with those type of posts.
Instead of just giving people a quick glimpse and touching just the surface of the lake, dive deeper into the subject. People already know about the “X ways to do something”.
Give them more than that. Give them an actual strategy for what they are trying to accomplish.
#2 – Phases Of Customers
Don’t forget that your customers are not equal in desire and importance. They are in different phases of a buying process.
Deeply understanding your customers is key for a successful content marketing campaign.
Take some time and analyze the data you already have in your hands. You can easily find this data and metrics.
Ask yourself some questions:
Who are these new customers that arrive in my website?
What are they reading?
What are their biggest problems?
How can my company help them while making the sale?
Why those new customers haven’t bought from you?
What type of content are you producing for your existing customers?
What do your customers want to know you can help them?
Can you train and provide training for your customers?
These are just some guidelines that can help you outline and optimize your current content strategy.
#3 Content Matches Sales
I was recently listening to “Hack The Entrepreneur” podcast episde 415, where he interviewed the founder of Co-Schedule, Garrett Moon.
In that interview, Garrett talked about the importance of having a content core.
What he said was that most companies end up creating posts like “10 Ways To Do X” that could actually generate a lot of visits, but it had a convert ration close to zero.
And this is very true.
Your content means nothing if your traffic is not converting. As I’ve talked before, you need to make sure to find the optimal balance between content and sales.
Start within your niche. What are the problems your product can solve for your customers. Start with those problems. Create content around that. Become an expert in that niche.
Make the offer as you go through the content yourself. The audience won’t even notice and you’ll be amazed by how much more conversions you’ll get.
#4 Create The Right Type Of Content
Some content might work for you while others might work best for your competitor’s. That’s totally ok.
Understand what your customers are consuming and replicate it. Create more of that content.
You know, if you’re really serious about content marketing, you really need to dive deep into your customer’s behavior. Mostly, trying to make your company become part of your customer’s habits.
How to do that? Figure out what your customer’s routine look like.
Do they listen to podcasts while driving to work? Do they read blog posts? Where do they read those blog posts? How do they get there?
You know, all of these pieces need to flow smoothly in order for you to fish the right customers. And this is where most people fail.
They just create content. And leave it there. Out in the wind… Have you found Waldo already?
#5 Don’t Be Afraid To Show Off Your Brand
This is something I’ve been realizing more and more each day.
Content is really becoming the same and companies are really struggling to make themselves heard (and different).
It seems like there is all about list posts nowadays.
Most of it happens because people are desperately trying to follow formulas, the so called “content blueprints”.
Yeah, those blueprints are great. They give you a great sense of what works and what does not work. HOWEVER… They are making content just like everyone else.
Don’t be afraid to innovate. Don’t hide your brand’s core.
Try new things. Experiment with formats. Create content that really outshines your competitors.
One of the most amazing things is to follow a brand that has a voice. And that voice definitely comes from anything, but following already established recipes.
What’s In There For You?
If you understand that content marketing is not about chasing the latest trends, then, you’ll have higher chances of succeeding.
Understand the core of the process. Understand the principles. Forget about chasing trends which, will, most likely not pay off.
Instead, build a SOLID content marketing strategy. It might take some time, definitely. But eventually, you’ll get there. Waldo says thank you! People will be able to find him faster 🙂