Content marketing cloudContent is king, or so we hear from a seemingly endless stream of “advice” articles and postings. Brands of all sizes have eagerly jumped on the content bandwagon. So much so that the volume of content has tripled in the past 12 months according to a study by marketing analytics and software firm, Beckon, quoted in Advertising Age.

Engulfed with all of this content, one would think that consumers must be engaging with brands in record numbers. Apparently not according to Beckon’s study. Aggregate consumer engagement remains unchanged over the past 12 months. Furthermore, Beckon found that 5% of content generated 90% of consumer interaction. That means that the majority of content is failing to deliver any consumer engagement.

Yet brands are publishing content at an incredible pace. McDonalds plans to double its output of content this year to 5,000 pieces. Beckon’s study found some brands generating as many as 50,000 pieces of content per year.

Content marketing is truly a great tool for building brand engagement, however quantity will never trump quality (no pun intended).

What you should do to optimize your content marketing

According to The Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research study, there are several things that top performing content marketers do that others don’t.

  • They document their content marketing strategy. For many companies there is no documented content marketing strategy. Without a destination and a road map it’s easy to see how a business can lose its way and fail to succeed at content marketing.
  • They know how to define success. Metrics need to be specific and measurable.
  • They create differentiated content. This starts with ensuring that you have a compelling reason for engaging your audience with content marketing. For example, sports marketers will undoubtedly find it easier to engage an audience with content marketing than dry cleaners. And remember, content marketing is not the place to be making overt sales pitches.
  • They recognize that building a loyal, engaged audience then leveraging that audience to drive profitable customer action – the ultimate goal of content marketing – takes time.Your audience and presence will build gradually. Be patient and don’t expect results overnight.
  • They publish content consistently. Different companies in different categories may establish different frequencies and cadence for their content delivery. The important factor is to deliver your content consistently.
  • They focus on measurement. How and what you measure will depend on the type of content, and where your audience is in the buying journey. A good reference is Jay Baer’s Field Guide to the 4 Types of Content Marketing Metrics. This guide breaks down measurement in 4 categories: consumptions, sharing, lead generation and sales.
Too often brands may see guidelines posted on how frequently they need to publish content and the natural inclination is that more must be better. When it comes to content marketing more is not better; better is better. Document a clear strategy, know what success looks like, know how to measure success, be patient as your audience builds, and consistently provide your audience with content they value and look forward to receiving. Those are the steps to successful content marketing.

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