For B2B companies, service companies, and web-centric businesses, content marketing is a must-have tool in your marketing toolbox. However it can be an easy task to let fall to the bottom of your priorities list. When you have customers to serve, prospects to address, and crises to manage, it’s hard to justify taking the time to create compelling content. However, the benefits can be enormous. We could make the case for inbound marketing here, but it’s already been done pretty effectively by Hubspot, David Meerman Scott, the Harvard Business Review, Adweek, and more.
So, assuming you’re on board with content marketing, and assuming you probably don’t focus on it as much as you’d like, we thought we’d give you a bit of a self-test to see if it’s getting some results that indicate success. Here are some signs that you probably have some issues with your content marketing strategy:
- None of your leads come from your website. This isn’t a totally bad thing – it actually means you provide value that people want, in that your leads are coming from other types of marketing or from networking. However it also means that you aren’t effectively translating that value online. Considering it is one of the cheapest and most target-able media available to almost every business, this is a missed opportunity.
- Need more help here? How can you solve people’s problems in a way that aligns with your brand? There are surely many different valuable tips, tools, strategies, and experiences that you can share, just like what you do in the real world. Do you attend a monthly networking breakfast? Do you make connections and help people with their business challenges? Do you ever give presentations at conferences or networking events? These are all “real-world” activities that can gain further longevity and exposure online
- Your Facebook posts aren’t shared. This is a common problem for companies that don’t have a focused social media strategy. This means one of two things: either (1) your fans aren’t your target audience or (2) your content isn’t valuable enough to share. Usually companies are simply sharing press releases, discount codes, or pre-scheduled promotions. Some might argue that they don’t need people to share the content – they just want fans to see it. However if fans aren’t engaging with your content, they are probably “seeing” it with glazed eyeballs as they look for content in their feed that they actually care about. Even if the people sharing at first are just employees within your own organization, it implies that they think the information might actually be useful to the people in their network.
- Your Twitter posts aren’t retweeted. Success on Twitter can be more involved than on Facebook, however the same basic adage applies: if people aren’t sharing, they probably aren’t caring. Make sure you are first creating connections that are much deeper than just promoting your content, so that people are actually paying attention when you do have content you want to share.
- You’ve never said “we actually just wrote a blog on that” in a client meeting. I get the best feeling when a client asks about something and I can send them a blog we wrote on that very topic. It shows that we were already thinking about those issues and that we are leaders in our industry.
- You aren’t active in at least 3 LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn has turned itself into one of the largest business content ecosystems online, providing you with extremely targeted ways to promote your content. You can use paid ads to drive traffic to your content, and you can also share it for free in active groups. We’ve literally had clients find us because we had answered a question on a LinkedIn discussion and they wanted to know more about how to do that for their company.
- Most of your website traffic isn’t from organic, non-brand-related searches. If you aren’t generating quality content, then you aren’t showing up in searches, and you aren’t getting those people to your site.
I could go on, but you get the point. Your content marketing strategy might not be generating the business you thought it would. However the good news is that you are already way ahead of other marketers because you’ve gotten your feet wet and tried content marketing. Time to either double-down and fix the problems, or realize that your organization just isn’t ready for content marketing. Either way, it’s better than pouring time and resources into a content marketing strategy that isn’t netting results.