One unfortunate aspect of content marketing is that strategies age faster than one might expect. Moreover, outdated strategies don’t really help businesses achieve their goals, since they’re inefficient at converting leads and attracting new users from your target audience.
Therefore, keeping your content marketing strategy up-to-date is absolutely essential. To know where you currently stand, ask yourself these questions:
Does your content advance leads in the buying process?
When you read about the technical aspects of content marketing for too long, you start to forget that your content needs to have a function. If it doesn’t advance leads in the buying process, then your entire strategy will be misguided.
A recent Entrepreneur article explains why lead generation is at the core of every content marketing strategy. According to the article, many businesses have the tendency to focus on the quantity of their content, rather than its quality:
“A crucial mistake made by so many content marketers is the creation and pumping out of truckloads of content for the sake of content. When it comes to content, quality is king and to add to that — consistent, predictable quality is the sweet spot. A haphazard, rushed, or under-whelming content marketing strategy guarantees you or the company you are representing poor lead generation results, and an utter waste of marketing budgets.”
What’s better: a single article that generates one hundred relevant leads, or twenty articles that generate two leads each? You’re always better off focusing on your content’s quality and role in the lead conversion process.
Can users digest your content within 37 seconds?
Now that everyone and their mother has heard about content marketing, users are completely overwhelmed with the current output by businesses. Just consider how Facebook’s newsfeed has changed over the past years in regard to the amount of business content it shows.
A consequence of this is that users are now unwilling to commit to long-form content. According to NewsCred, the median time people spend on articles is 37 seconds, so you don’t really have a long time to get your message across.
When you create content, consider how your average reader will approach it. Make it easy for them to quickly scan your articles and get the necessary information from them.
Is your content substantial?
In what seems like a direct contradiction to the last point, it’s also important for your content to be substantial. Just because users don’t want to read your entire article, doesn’t mean they don’t want to see that you put effort into it.
This Venture Beat article talks about the ideal length of articles in the context of content marketing. It states that you should write pieces between 1,200 and 1,400 words to maximize the amount of shares:
“Longer posts are more shareable than short ones. The target length that marketers want to hit is 1,200 to 1,400 words. This is about two to three pages in length. (This post is just north of 1,000, so I’m clearly not listening to this advice).”
Is it silly to write so much, knowing that most users will never read a third of the words? Not really. First of all, it’s important to demonstrate your thought-leadership in your content. Long-form articles give you the chance to do that.
Moreover, that 37 second statistic was just the median. Some users, albeit not many, will want to read everything you wrote. Those are the people who are likely to convert, so it’s crucial to meet their demands.
Do you rely on ads for site traffic?
Moving away from your content’s length, it’s also worth talking about how you’ll promote your site and brand. There’s one trend in particular that’s driving business owners and marketers crazy.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, over 200 million people now use ad blockers when searching for content. That means that your paid search efforts aren’t as effective as they once were.
Is pay-per-click advertising still a viable way to attract users from your target audience? Sure. It’s just not enough on its own to generate relevant leads. Consumers today don’t want to sift through ads and wait for commercials.
On the other hand, they’re more than happy to consume original content, provided that its quality is respectable. They’ll go out of their way to find content, but will take multiple steps, including finding and downloading an ad blocker plugin, to free themselves of advertisements.
Are you using the latest technology?
Not keeping up with technology is a clear indication of an outdated content marketing strategy. Take live streaming for example.
Live streaming has evolved from being a novelty to being a legitimate way to share content with your target audience. It won’t take long to scroll through your social media feeds to confirm this.
The best part is that any business can stream live video. This recent Forbes article mentions the most popular platforms to offer it so far:
“Live streaming will grow in popularity. Of course recorded video will continue to be popular. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and SnapChat offer easy-to-use platforms for hosting live product briefings, tours, tutorials, product launch events, and more content.”
Facebook and YouTube are two of the most accessible platforms for businesses. The only hard part is deciding what type of content is worth streaming live. Rather than wearing this option out, it’s best to save it for special events.
New trends in technology give businesses additional chances to connect with their target audiences. If you don’t seize them, your competitors will.
Businesses have to constantly evaluate their content marketing strategies. It’s important to know how current users are consuming and searching for content so you can meet their demands.