Everyone involved with marketing a local brand, large or small, has at least dabbled in content marketing. What is content marketing? Well you can read about it here. Most marketers are using content to reach out to customers, but not all of them are finding success. As technology has advanced, and the concept of content marketing has become mainstream, developing an effective content marketing strategy is now a must.

content marketing

In the early days of content marketing, a creating a small amount of content infrequently could get you a lot of exposure. But things have changed over the last several years. Today’s consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of content directed toward them, and spend less time hanging around on websites (think about the amount of time people are now spending on social sites and apps as opposed to browsing the web). Just getting content out there and hoping for the best doesn’t work anymore. If your business doesn’t have a solid content marketing strategy or it’s been a little while since it’s been updated, it might be time to adapt your plan for the coming month. Here are 5 ways you can do just that:

1. Incorporate Updates to Your Business Model

If your brand is evolving, your content marketing strategy should too. Most businesses in South Africa have adapted their service offerings and marketing recently due to the tough economic climate, but have you also adjusted your content? You wouldn’t start a business without a business plan, and you shouldn’t start content marketing without the same sort of framework in place.

Incorporate any revised business goals (think revised target markets, sales figures) into your content marketing strategy. Anticipate the opportunities and challenges that you will face as you bring your plan to life. If you haven’t already, determine the characteristics of your ideal consumer (target market). You neeed to think about what they want to read, listen to or watch, and where they would be online to do that. Content marketing is an ideal way to share your brand story, so as your brand develops, so should your content.

2. Review Your Channel Plan

The digital world is full of platforms where you can share your story, and each one is a little bit different. Each of these platforms is one channel you could incoporate into your content strategy – think different Channels on DSTV, all aimed at different markets. Where you post is just as important as what you post, and what works well on one platform might not on another. Anytime new content is developed, consider the context in which it will be viewed. Content cannot just be created once and splashed across every platform out there, very often it will need to be tweaked slightly for each platform. Someone who is reading a blog is not expecting the same sort of content as a person checking in on their social media account. Following channel trends can help you to determine what kind of content will work in that medium.

3. Stop Focusing on Volume and Start Focusing on Value

We have all read studies of how you can massively increase your traffic by posting a blog a day. The problem comes in with organizations positing poor quality blogs just to meet the requirement of 30 posts in 30 days, damaging their brand and alienating their audience. In their haste to jump into the world of content marketing, many organizations have pushed a great deal of information into the digital space. With so much content floating around, it can be hard to attract, and retain, an audience. Competition is fierce, even among smaller niches, and capturing someone’s undivided attention is challenging. Marketers need to be innovative and listen to their market carefully, to be able to provide content that gives value and fills their audience’s appetite.

4. Don’t Leave Out Visual and Video Elements

The attention span of the average Internet user is decreasing – it is the Instant Gratification Generation. The typical reader will leave a site within 20 seconds, so marketers don’t have a lot of time to reach out to their audience. Our brains are wired to retain information when paired with images. Utilizing engaging content is a strategy that works, and it makes content more likely to be shared. Incorporating video content is also becoming a common practice, and for good reason. Video captures and retains attention. Video can increase conversion rates by 85% and simply using the word “video” in an email subject line increases the likelihood that it will opened by 19%. Videos for smaller companies don’t need to be professionally produces and costly. As long as the information is valuable, your audience will love it. Photos, infographics and videos should be a focal point of any content marketing strategy in 2016.

5. Consider Advances in Technology

Today’s consumers are growing accustomed to receiving custom content. We can see that in the South African market with the rise in searches using geographic terms. If someone searches for shoe stores in Poffadder, they expect to find a search result. Technology has opened doors, but it has also made it difficult to keep up. As more brands discover the key to getting noticed, targeting your audience becomes more difficult. Fortunately, technology companies are developing solutions for digital marketers. Software is now helping marketers to identify topics and trends, and break through complicated social media algorithms, so marketers can develop fresh content that speaks to their audience.

content marketing strategyTechnology is also affecting the type of content that’s being produced. The widespread use of smart phones and tablets means that digital content that’s not optimized for mobile viewing is getting lost in the shuffle. Locally more people access the internet via a mobile device than a desktop machine.  This means that ensuring that information can be viewed on multiple devices should be a key aspect of your content marketing strategy. As technology continues to advance, content marketing via virtual reality and 360 video could be a real possibility.

Like many things in life, success often comes when you keep your momentum moving forward. Content marketing takes time – one of our clients The Luthuli Museum, asked us to write some content for them in 2012. Four years later, one of the articles we wrote is now responsible for 22% of all of their incoming organic traffic.  Content marketing has its challenges and often requires the ability to see beyond the here and now. Taking your 2016 content marketing strategy outside of your comfort zone may be the best thing you can do for your business. If you need help with your strategy, ask for our expert help.