If there's one thing I've noticed about content marketing - one common flaw I've picked up on where content strategy is concerned - it's that way too many businesses hammer out articles and media without any clear idea of their reasons for doing so.
Sure, they know they want to bring more traffic to their site. But they haven't really given it much thought aside from that. That, my friends, is a very serious problem.
"Why does your business have content?" asks Florida Trend's Ron Stein. "Most businesses say they use content to drive people to their website because it's simply the best way to do that. Solid content will help get your website noticed, yet driving eyeballs to your site is just one piece of an effective marketing program."
What Does A Successful Content Marketing Plan Look Like?
There are two questions that form the crux of every successful content marketing strategy, and they're closely related to one another: why and how. Why are you putting content on the web? What's your primary goal with your content marketing strategy?
And no, "traffic generation" is too vague - it's sort of a given that you want your content to increase traffic.
The question you need to ask yourself is why you want that traffic. Do you operate an online storefront to which you're looking to attract potential customers, or are you simply looking to raise awareness for a particular brand? Are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, or a valuable resource for your clients and customers? Are you simply trying to capture leads for a B2B organization?
Everything - from what type of content you're going to create to how you're going to promote it to the audience you're going to target - is secondary to this.
In a previous piece, I talked a bit about the difference between lead generation and demand generation. I established that you need to choose one or the other when developing a marketing strategy. Trying to do both at the same time - or worse, setting out with no idea of which one you want to utilize - will lead to a content strategy that's diluted, vague, and ultimately useless to your business.
In Closing: Why Do You Want To Create Content, And How Will It Help You?
I've pretty much said all I need to say here, I think. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how intricate your promotional strategy is, or how powerful your content. If you don't have a clear notion of why you're producing that content in the first place - if you don't know, beyond the desire to generate traffic, why you're trying to pull in readers - you're shooting yourself in the foot before you even step out the door.
Image credit: ryanmilani
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