It’s no secret that in order for businesses to succeed today, they must have an effective online presence. More than 40 percent of the world’s population now has an Internet connection, and there are more than 3 billion Internet users on the planet. One way business decision-makers and marketers can take advantage of the potential exposure offered by the Internet is by using it as a marketing platform.
Internet marketing has two sides: traditional digital marketing, which is much like typical television advertising, and content marketing. With traditional digital marketing, companies place ads on websites that consumers encounter while they are browsing the Internet. It is considered an interruptive marketing tactic, and many Internet users find it annoying.
A second Internet marketing tactic that is gaining steam is an inbound tactic called content marketing. When a company employs content marketing, they create high-quality, valuable content that draws potential customers to them. Content marketing can consist of blog posts, articles, e-mail newsletters, podcasts and more. Essentially, content marketing establishes a company as a thought leader and expert in their field, and builds trust with customers so that they ultimately may decide to make the leap from potential customer to paying customer.
Why Is Content Marketing So Important?
Content marketing is more crucial than ever these days — and it may be on its way to becoming the primary Internet marketing strategy. One reason is because of the rise in ad-blockers. Ad-blockers allows a user to block ads from appearing while they browse the Internet. According to an ad-blocking study done by Adobe and PageFair, there are 198 million active ad-block users today, and ad-blocking has cost Internet publishers nearly $22 million in the last year. Apple’s latest iOS 9 included mobile ad-blocking software, so mobile users can automatically block advertisements during their mobile Internet-using experience.
People are choosing not to see traditional ads on the Internet — which is where content marketing comes in. Instead of forcing people to see irrelevant ads that may annoy them, you can use content marketing to give leads a sense of your brand and knowledge, establishing trust and respect with potential consumers and giving them an overall positive feeling about your brand from the get-go.
The Challenges of Content Marketing
Obviously content marketing is important, and marketing experts believe that it is going to be the most important digital marketing trend in coming years. But doing content marketing effectively is not as simple as it may sound. There are many challenges that come along with using content marketing as an inbound strategy, and it can take a lot of work to get it right.
Creating great content actually takes a fair amount of time. Not only do writers have to find proper sources for conducting research, they also have to write, edit and proof pieces before they go live. This whole process can take more than a week for just one blog post. A huge component of appearing credible and drawing in customers is having well-written and trustworthy content, so putting up pieces without proper sources and with grammatical or punctuation errors can actually backfire when it comes to trying to generate new leads.
Another one of the biggest challenges cited by content marketers is creating content that is engaging and valuable. Because there are so many people on the Internet, there is also lots of content. Thus, it can be challenging for companies to create and share things that are both unique and help consumers in a tangible way.
Content marketers also face the tough task of creating enough content to keep consumers engaged. While most experts believe that content marketing is a quality — not quantity — game, companies still have to be able to come up with enough content on a regular basis so that consumers don’t lose interest. Coming up with high-quality ideas on the regular can be tough, especially if a company’s marketing lies in the hands of just one or two individuals. While there are helpful blog topic-generating services on the web (like this one from Hubspot), topic generating technology is new and imperfect, and it can be challenging to rely on an algorithm to come up with the blog ideas for your business.
Creating content that gets discovered can also be hard. One of the best ways is by creating SEO-optimized content, which means the content is crafted so that it fits Google’s (or other search engines’) algorithm so that it comes up first in search results. If you have SEO-optimized content, there’s a better chance that it will appear in the first couple of results pages of a person’s search, upping the chances that they will find and read it. SEO optimization is a complicated science, though, and it includes a lot of components like using the right keywords, writing with proper grammar and using responsive design.
Finally, one of the last biggest hurdles for content marketers is measuring effectiveness. According to a content marketing white paper created by the Content Council, marketers are trying to measure the effectiveness of their content by doing things like tracking web traffic and engagement (time on site, shares, etc.) However, in reality, website traffic and engagements aren’t really good indicators of ROI. (For example, people can come to your site and read your stuff and not spend any money). This means that it’s actually pretty hard to figure out just how big your content marketing efforts are paying off or how you should refocus or refine them to make them more effective.
Content marketing may seem like a tough task, but it is crucial. By tackling content marketing, you can bring in more traffic, generate more interest in your business and effectively establish yourself as an authority in your field.