The time has come for companies to face the true effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns. At this point, the general population is absolutely inundated with content of all forms, with the ability to grab people’s attention becoming the foremost concern of every proactive marketer. The question then becomes, how does a brand cut through the noise and reach their target audience?
The shortening of people’s attention spans, the proliferation of available content and the diversification of mobile devices all do no favors to strategists when it comes to putting together a reliable content marketing strategy. Don’t worry – this list is not meant to scare you away from investing in a solid content marketing strategy. If anything, it is intended to encourage you to go full-force and to treat new industry developments as exciting challenges. The following are several such challenges of which to make yourself aware of when developing your content marketing strategy.
1. Poorly Written Content
We will start out with a painfully obvious yet integral hurdle that has always existed in the content marketing game, and that will only continue to prove essential when reaching your target audience. Listen up: No SEO tricks, no fancy GIFs and no distribution plan can redeem poorly written content.
The quality of your posts is the foundation that your content strategy builds upon, and if it is not rock-solid, your entire structure will crumble to the ground. If your content creators are inexperienced, unmotivated, uninspired or have been stretched too thin, it will, without a doubt, display itself in their writing. Unfortunately, what shreds of good content you have will undoubtedly get swept into the corners along with the bad, resulting in diminished returns from your content marketing initiatives.
Once you have built yourself a strong team of content writers, make sure they are all on the same page (yours) when it comes to how they address your prospective clients. Ensure that your content is written to speak to your target audience and avoid using language that alienates them.
Content sprinkled with five-dollar words and abstract language may do a solid job at inflating a writer’s ego, but in the end all it really does is distract your audience from your brand’s true message. On the other hand, content that is full of grammatical or factual errors will lower a prospective customer’s opinion of your reliability, and they may look elsewhere.
2. Inadequate Distribution
With a dizzying array of social media platforms and websites, it may seem intimidating to even begin thinking about tapping into the potential powers of each one. But the hard truth is that if you are not distributing your content widely, then it will simply not reach your target audience.
The types of media that you can take advantage of in 2016 include owned media such as websites, social media pages and blogs, earned media such as guest posts and product reviews, and paid media such as display ads. According to an article on Forbes, only 26% of marketers invest in content distribution. Wouldn’t it be great to be ahead of that curve?
In 2016, strategic distribution will set businesses apart in the hyper-competitive landscape of content marketing. This includes but is not limited to mobile search optimization, building relationships with publications and networking with influencers and thought-leaders in your niche. The next point addresses a particular aspect of distribution that will gain considerable importance in 2016.
3. Importance of Social Media Distribution
According to ABC News, more and more consumers are relying on social media as go-to sources for information and news, with less people visiting homepages. This change has been progressively facilitated by the increased presence of mobile platforms, with more and more people getting their information and news on their phones.
As we are all aware, websites don’t perform as optimally on phones as they do on laptops or desktops. For this reason, it becomes easier to access information on platforms that are inherently designed to perform optimally on mobile devices, such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
Consumers are visiting homepages less and less for news. Instead, they follow eye-catching links that people post on social media that then lead them to specific articles. As a result, most sites will depend on a strong social media presence for increased site traffic in 2016. Companies will have to continue keeping up with the changing tide and adapting their content for mobile viewing, in addition to maintaining a consistent presence across all social media channels.
4. High Demand for Visual Content
As consumers’ attention spans continue to wane, desensitized by the omnipresence of digital information, visual content has stepped into the spotlight, as it is more easily digestible than lengthy articles. Pictures, infographics, videos and GIFs are slowly beginning to dominate the content marketing scene, and, according to The Guardian, by 2017 video alone will account for 69% of consumer Internet traffic. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, but a video is worth a million.
More content will have the appearance of being user-generated even when it isn’t, lending a feeling of authenticity to a brand’s campaign. This is a tactic borrowed from written content marketing strategies, which aims to garner a sense of trust in the reader by addressing consumer-specific concerns.
Faster Internet and wireless connections additionally will allow people to seamlessly view images and videos any time of day, even when they are on the go. To combat this trend, brands who still wish to focus their energy on written content will need to continually produce engaging, educational and entertaining content that can compete with video.
To pack a punch and reach the consumer in a concise yet intriguing way, brands will need to cut down on wordiness, break up the text so that it is easy to read and weave image and video throughout the article to maintain the viewer’s attention.
5. The Rise of Wearable Technology
Just when marketers thought they had mobile optimization down pat, along came the advent of wearable technology. Wearables are pieces of clothing that also have technological capabilities, such as Google Glass or the Apple Watch. According to Business Insider, the use of wearables is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 35% between 2014 and 2019.
Companies now have to find innovative ways to adapt content to these new technologies and microscreens, shortening their articles and making them increasingly readable on these particular devices. This new listicle format will be increasingly favored over the traditional article format.
If someone can’t even be bothered to pull their smartphone out of their pocket to look something up because they are wearing an Apple Watch, the new challenge becomes keeping your content sharp and engaging on this new, minimalistic device. Brands will need to readapt their content for on-the-go readability, and will also need to look into making their articles more searchable via voice commands. Marketing teams will need to adapt new ways to make the transition from mobile to wearables content seamless and consistent if they hope to keep up with the competition.
Marketers have a whole host of new challenges. Technology is developing more rapidly than ever, consumers are becoming more proactive and aware of their involvement in the marketing process and the demand for quality content has never been more pressing. For your content to succeed, it must be constantly attended to and adapted for the changing tides of consumer and market demands. Invest in a solid content marketing strategy, starting with strong written content and finishing with a healthy distribution plan and platform optimization strategies.