These days, savvy consumers have no patience or interest in reading the boring and obvious sales pitches that once defined content marketing. Brand managers are quickly learning that the key to content strategy is to create content that addresses the needs and interests of their target market.
Over the last three years content marketing has experienced exponential growth. This year 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing with an average of 28% of marketing budgets being allocated toward content marketing. Successful business don't just dive in head-first without a plan; they take time to create a content creation plan that truly targets their market.
Here are the top 5 reasons that your business should create a targeted content creation plan:
1. Content Matters
One of the most significant reasons to have a content creation plan is that online content strongly influences today's consumers. The average consumer reads or scans at least ten pieces of online content before they go on to make a purchase. Data from the Search Engine Journal suggests that consumers value brand content (in social media) almost as highly as a suggestion from a friend. This means that your content is a powerful tool! A poorly planned campaign could result in lost sales or worse--the loss of brand trust. With the right content strategy, you can create trust and credibility in your brand. Ultimately, this is the best way to influence and keep customers.
2. Long Term Results
Another important reason to invest time and money in a content creation plan is that you will see long-term results. For example, one company may invest money in a billboard while another company invests money in blog or video content. The billboard content has a lifespan of about 30 days, but the blog or video content could potentially last forever. In order to see long term results you must have a plan. What are your goals for content creation? What are you trying to achieve and how will you measure the results? Spotty or trial-and error approaches to content marketing often result in failed marketing campaigns, so be certain to you have a specific plan of action.
3. Keep up with the Pack
As you know, many businesses are putting significant resources toward content marketing. In other words, this isn't an area where you can afford to take shortcuts. Nike is a great example of how strategic content marketing can lead to major success. Nike recently decreased their budget for traditional advertising by 40% and shifted their focus to connecting with consumers online. As a result, their revenue increased by $3 billion. With this example in mind, consider how your business allocates funds for content marketing. Your competitors are focusing on using strategic content marketing that tailors content to fit the needs of target consumers. Do you want to be left behind? A strong content creation plan can ensure that your business doesn't get edged out by the competition.
4. Improve SEO
We all know that search engines are improving which should be good news for both businesses and consumers. With Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithm updates, successful businesses are focusing on content strategies that put users first. Marketing professionals now recognize that a content-based approach is much more effective for improving page rank than a keyword-driven approach. Is your content strategy changing to reflect these improvements? Google increasingly favors content that is actually relevant to user's searches, so your strategy should follow suit. Quality content that delivers on its promise should help to improve your rankings now and into the future.
5. Give Your Customers What They Want
In order to carry out an effective content marketing campaign, you have to put some thought and effort into who your customer is and what information they are interested in. This is why it is so important to have a plan in place. How can you give your customers what they want if you don't even know what that is? Discovering the key to customer interest often takes a significant time investment, so you should use all the tools that are available to you. Watch for trends in your social media campaigns and on your blog. If you have access to reporting tools, try to understand this data in the context of consumer interest.
When you connect with your customers through relevant and engaging content, you are offering more than just a product. You are offering customers valuable information and more importantly, you are forming a relationship with that customer. This relationship is at the heart of any successful content marketing campaign.
It's easy to jump on the content marketing bandwagon, but is your business actually using content effectively? Many businesses that are new to content marketing feel the need to jump into content creation without a real strategy or plan. Don't make the same mistake. Take the time, effort, and necessary resources to form a content creation plan.
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