Content marketing is still everybody’s favourite new boy toy. But he is getting a bit older and more worn, and has to work harder to command attention in a increasingly competitive market.
Sure, he remains cute. A fresh stream of content is still the way to get noticed online, to up page rankings, to establish yourself as an authority with your market and to build customer relationships. But the trouble is the sheer volume of content being produced. We’re drowning in it. There’s more information being posted than there are eyeballs to read it. I’ve heard that as many as 27,000,000 new new pieces of content are produced and shared online daily.
This flood is not going to abate anytime soon. More and more businesses are earmarking larger portions of their budgets for content creation. But at the same time, they hold increasingly serious doubts about the effectiveness of their content marketing plans.
A lot of small and medium-size businesses are feeling the pressure to get into content marketing game. Suddenly faced with becoming publishers, they feel the strain on limited budgets and staff to produce a flood of content. They may just hold their noses, go to a content mill and get any old dreck to keep pumping out posts. But at $5 a piece, or whatever rock-bottom price they find, they get what they pay for. And their words get lost in the flood.
These businesses should take a breath and relax. Quality is better than quantity. They need to produce things that actually engage their audiences, with information people need and want to read.
Rather than multiple daily posts, the time- and money-strapped businesses should give it some thought and do a couple of finely focused efforts a week. They need to determine what their objectives are, whether it’s getting more bookings, having people respond to a special offer or to become a widely shared authority, and set up a content calendar – with publication dates and specific topics – that they stick to. They should also decide on their metrics to determine success, whether its website traffic, e-blast click-open rates, social shares or whatever.
If they can’t afford to hire someone to research and write the content full time, and can’t dump the job onto one of their overworked staff, then they should outsource the job to someone who knows what they are doing (hint: this person won’t be working in an overseas sweatshop).
Newbies and seasoned pros alike also need to get the most from the content they produce. Every blog post, for example, should yield multiple social media posts, reaching the people who missed it the first time around. Content should be reused and repurposed; people have short memories and what’s old will seem new again.
Remember it’s better to have something important to say, and say it well, than to chatter away to yourself.