Mind the Content Marketing Gap

Apr 28, 2016

Article ImageThe relevance of content marketing continues to rise. Brands that wish to succeed in this area have dramatically increased their investment in creating high-quality content and promoting it effectively. But some have found themselves unable to make the connection between customers and company, which creates a gap. Although their objective is to "get found," companies often find there's an unexpected contrast between the reasons why they "do" content marketing and the actual results of reaching customers.

The problem? There's a difference between the content they're producing and the content their customers actually want. By identifying what kind of gap your company is currently facing, you will be able to focus on reconnecting with your customer.

Can you identify your company's content marketing gaps from examples below?

Interesting Content vs. Audience Readership

A majority of marketers are creating content without understanding their audience's interests and needs. Yet they expect to attract their target audience and gain traffic to their website. One of the biggest challenges for content marketers is developing interesting content that gets read. Typically, the top reason why people follow brands is because of interesting content. However, only 1 in 5 readers will get past the headline to read in full. Producing relevant and timely content is important to retaining subscribers and keeping a good reputation as an information source. Content marketing is all about creating and distributing material that provides value to your readers. It should be interesting, engaging, and make them want to come back for more.

More brands are hiring people or marketing agencies to produce great storytelling. Many teams are now made up of managing editors, content producers, data and insights strategists, chief listening officers, and content creators. Their combined focus is on getting the messaging just right, by crafting the company messaging framework and developing customer journey maps to connect with the company's core audience. 

Traditional vs. Real-time Marketing

The way consumers communicate and consume content has shifted. Traditionally, TV has been considered a great advertising tool because they reached viewers who were very focused on their TV's for entertainment and as an information source. However, this media platform has become stagnant with the use of DVRs. Plus, it requires a huge investment and has limitations on tracking effectiveness.

In today's world, the focus is on real-time digital channels more than TV. For example, now when a news story breaks, where do people turn for information first? They probably check social media feeds and then search major news outlets. Creating personalized, emotional connections with real-time delivery matters more than ever before, based on this change.

With real-time marketing strategies at play, brands need a laser focus, with constant monitoring, data tracking tools, and dedication to instantaneous opportunities to engage. As with any marketing campaign, though, they need to find the "sweet spot" of personalized relevancy. Overall, the most important concept to grasp is that without understanding your audience, even the best thought-out marketing strategy could falter.

Costs vs. Budgets

There's been a long-standing rule in content marketing that 90% of your budget should be focused on promoting content and the remaining 10% should be spent producing the content. This rule came about during a time when there were limited distribution channels and promotion was expensive.

It is time to rethink the ratio and the distribution channels. Now, because media spends are cheaper, content must become richer and better targeted. It's time for a 60/40 split. Brands that wish to succeed will dramatically increase their investment in the content they produce in the socialized marketplace. The good news is that the costs to promote content are down, so this shift has a bigger impact on process and content philosophy than it does on budgets.

Blogging vs. Mobile Optimized Blogs

Companies that run a blog and want to increase blog traffic may think that creating more blog content is a quick fix. However, even those with the most engaging content and a written road map for how this goal will be achieved, may be missing one key element--optimizing their blog for mobile.

An increasing number of readers access blogs from their mobile devices. Supporting your mobile users is important now and will become increasingly significant. Whether you're just starting out with content marketing or you've been using the same mobile marketing strategy for a while, you must take into account the various devices out there-including smartphones, tablets, and feature phones-and the different ways that users interact with those devices throughout their day. An effective mobile-optimized blog can lead to deeper consumer engagement.

Quantity of Content vs. Realistic Resources

When it comes to effective content marketing, there's something to be said for quality over quantity. It doesn't take a genius to tell you that the quality of your content should be high. You want people to read it, share it, and talk about you. In an ideal world, you'd create high-quality content all the time. However, don't underestimate how long it takes to create a good piece of content. Research, writing, editing, and publishing are all time-intensive, and they can spread energies thin across an increasingly diverse set of content marketing channels. In doing so, some content fails to add value or help position your brand properly.  

With limited resources, one option to look at is repurposing your best content into more variations. When you've put an extensive effort into a piece of content, it deserves a new lease on life. You can dust off those forgotten gems and look for new ways to repackage them into a fresh new piece of marketing content. Dig into your Google Analytics and see what your most popular posts have been over the past year. Try to figure out why they performed so well and how to give them a stylish new makeover. A few examples would be to turn successful, still relevant blog posts into whitepapers, ebooks, or webinars to appeal to a new audience.

Put These Suggestions to Work

To help close the gaps in the great content marketing divide, here are five takeaways to consider:

  1. Know what will resonate with your customers.
  2. Develop a mobile-optimized content marketing strategy and identify distribution channels where your audiences reside. 
  3. Keep it real-time. The simple truth is, if your message is too broad and generic, consumers will see right through you. Real-time marketing can have a significant impact.
  4. Don't get sucked in by claims that quantity is better than quality. Publishing something extraordinary once a week will trump publishing lots of mediocre rubbish.
  5. Identify ways to repurpose content to engage new people. Use data and insights to guide your strategy to make sure that when you talk, your audience wants to listen. Then be sure to monitor and make adjustments throughout the year.

Content marketing can be the most potent of the marketer's weapons. Once companies fully realize that audiences are interested in high-quality, relevant, real-time content, they will be more prepared to truly close the gap and delight their audiences at a deeper level. 

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)