Reality check: are you actually ready for content marketing?

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So, you’ve made your way to London's Excel and enjoyed a day or two at Internet World. You’ve heard several seminars, spoken to tonnes of people on the stands and by the time you’ve finished reading the leaflets you’ve collected, there’ll probably be a new animal released from the Google Zoo unleashing its wrath on the digital world.

OK, a slight exaggeration, but my point is this: after listening to everybody tell you that their way is the right way, where do you begin – and more importantly, are you actually ready to begin?

If you attended the seminar I gave with Adrienne Burns at Internet World last week, you’ll know we outlined key things to think about in order to construct a successful content marketing strategy, focusing on what we call the three pillars of content marketing: a well-executed strategy, the right technology and quality content creation are the key to success.

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Ben and Adrienne speaking at Internet World

Whilst we wanted to really get deep about how to create a great all-round campaign, it would’ve been near-enough impossible to do this in a 30-minute seminar – but we still wanted to show the value of content marketing. We hope we achieved this to an extent in discussing the three pillars, but just as important was to outline the digital landscape as it now stands, and why content marketing has risen to what it has now become. Without knowing this, you’ll fail before you start.

To make sure that content marketing doesn’t become a waste of time and effort for you, I’ve put together three key points to remember before you begin your next campaign, to help you assess if you’re ready to get going. As mentioned above, knowing what you’re going into is key, and hopefully reading through these will prepare you well for the road to success ahead.

Sharing is caring – you are here to serve!

Content marketing is all about the consumer, not about you. In order for it to work, you need to offer them something of value in order to earn the right to pitch to them. Google itself has became incredibly successful by focusing purely on what its users wanted, not simply what provided the quick financial win.

I know it may be hard, but you simply have to put your audience first! Rather than a mindset of ‘How can I get this content to go viral?’, go with ‘What can I give to my consumers that they’ll need, enjoy and share?’ This user-centred approach will not only gain you customers, but genuine fans and ambassadors of your brand. Sharing your knowledge shows that your care about their interests – they will be more likely to buy from you and recommend you if you simply put their needs first.

Content marketing is not a quick win

In our industry, there is always a trending new technique, a new trick to online success. These so-called ‘silver bullets’ simply don’t exist anymore, and content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires patience, commitment, strategic thinking and hard work. Although you can see great campaign results over a quarter, you shouldn’t undertake a content marketing strategy unless you’re in it for the long run. But remember: it will be far more worthwhile if you succeed.

Focus on quality and be unique

Your primary aim in a content marketing campaign is to create something that is useful and relevant to your consumers, not to provide what everybody else provides. Don’t get obsessed with your competitors. Although it’s important to be aware of what they are doing, don’t get bogged down in mirroring their strategy - it will probably work out badly for both of you.

Coming up with creative, new ideas that add value and promote your niche is a far more effective way than simply copying others. Give them credit when they do something well – then use it as motivation to do something better.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help with your content marketing

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