Businesses have created content marketing since 1732, when Benjamin Franklin published the Poor Richard’s Almanack, a yearly book that consisted of household tips, puzzles, poems, weather forecasts, sayings, and other content.
The publication, which was meant to promote Franklin’s printing business, became extremely popular among American households and managed to sell 10,000 copies a year.
Businesses since the 18th century have used content to promote their brand. It was not until 2001, however, that the term “content marketing” was coined.
Content marketing is a popular, non-intrusive way for businesses to build a relationship with their audience.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Most consumers (84%) expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences and events.
Consumers expect content marketing, and businesses should offer it to them.
Businesses have trouble engaging their audience because people are becoming smart consumers – 60% recognize business content they consume online as content marketing.
Content marketing is not easy, but it is essential.
Here are 5 reasons why content marketing is not working for your company and how you can turn it around.
1. Your Content Does Not Have a Voice
Many businesses fail to give their content a distinct flavor that’s crucial for building an emotional connection with their audience.
For example, a piece of content that appeals to technology professionals will be different from one that appeals to designers or marketers.
For example, Grammarly’s content is targeted at business users of its grammar tool.
Grammarly's posts have its signature dash of humor while also educating its audience on tips related to language and communication.
The tone of Grammarly’s content is relaxed and easy, which tends to be uncommon in the B2B space.
Another example is a video from Red Bull. Red Bull targets extreme sports enthusiasts in its content because it organizes and covers live sports events.
Red Bull’s videos exude thrill, excitement, and adventure that’s unseen elsewhere. The content has a bold undertone, helping it build a massive follower base.
Here are some steps to how you can create a voice for your branded content.
Create an Audience Persona
You need to create a representative profile of your target audience.
Start by including their demographics such as age, location, and profession. Then move to psychographics such as their key interests, habits, lifestyle, traits, and beliefs.
An audience persona will give you an understanding of who you’re talking to and what type of content will click with your consumers.
Define Your Brand Voice
Next, you need to list some of your key brand characteristics.
Your voice should ideally flow from the founder’s personality and goals. Ask some of these questions:
- What was the larger intent behind starting the business?
- What are some of the emotional values that make your brand unique?
- Are you lighthearted or formal in your approach?
These questions will help you explore the distinguishing aspects of your brand. Brainstorming these will help you give a human shape to your brand.
Boil this down to three or four words that reflect your brand’s core positioning.
Create a Style Chart
You can now create a style chart that lists the do’s and don’ts for content creators on your team.
The chart will help them create content that has a distinct tone, colors, format, and way of presentation that makes your content unique.
Giving your branded content a voice will help your audience relate to it and come back for more.
2. Your Content Has an Absence of Visuals
Visuals help you grab the audience’s attention and encourage them to stick around for more content.
For example, Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images.
In addition, 4 times as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it.
You can use a variety of visual content marketing formats, such as graphs, infographics, videos, and digital magazines, to make your content look good.
Visuals make content more attractive and likable.
Tools to Help Create Visuals
Many tools are available to help create visuals for your content.
For example, you can use an AI-based tool such as Adobe Spark to create infographics, images for your blog, social media, flyers, and presentations.
The tool is also good for creating slideshow videos and web pages.
It can assist you in placing design elements such as text and images, making the process quick and easy.
The free version of this tool comes with an Adobe Spark branding. The paid version (without the branding) will cost you around $10/month.
You can also use a tool such as Maglr to create magazine-style digital publications.
Image Source: Food Inspiration Magazine
The tool comes with pre-designed templates and provides you with an option to embed your publication to your website or send it as a link within your newsletter.
It has a drag-and-drop feature, and you don’t need to be a professional designer to create branded digital publications, embedded stories, presentations, and proposals.
Maglr also allows you to create search-friendly URLs for your publications. It offers a 14-day free trial, and its pricing starts at €100.
Lumen5 is another app that helps convert your existing blog posts into videos.
Lumen5 an AI-based tool that assists in creating branded slideshow videos by simply entering in your blog post URL.
It picks up text from your post and starts creating your video. You can edit the text, choose your images, and add your logo to the video.
The paid version of Lumen5 will cost you $49/month.
Adding visuals in the form of images, videos, and infographics will help bring life to your content. It will make your content more attractive and get your audience to stick around.
3. Your Content Lacks Interactivity
One of the best ways to educate your audience is to make learning fun.
Content formats such as quizzes, polls, contests, and assessments piques your audience’s interest.
In addition, interactive content keeps your audience engaged – 81% of marketers find interactive content more attention-grabbing than its static counterparts.
These formats gamify the content and enable a two-way conversation between the brand and its audience.
For example, HubSpot’s Website Grader helps the brand earn 50,000 leads every month.
The Website Grader is a helpful tool for marketers and business owners. It reports the performance of a website on three core parameters: SEO, mobile-friendliness, and load speed.
The easy-to-use tool provides actionable insights for website owners. Users need to simply add their website URL and email to a form, and it quickly generates all the details. It, therefore, is a great initiative for HubSpot to gain leads.
Tools to Help Create Interactive Content
You can use a free tool to create interactive polls, quizzes, personality tests, and stories.
For example, Apester provides a template to add your content and images and create an interactive content piece, such as a quiz.
Apester gives you the option to embed the interactive piece on your website or share it as an instant article on Facebook or as a link.
You should create a variety of interactive content pieces that increase both your audience’s engagement and leads for your business.
4. Your Content Focuses Solely on Conversions
You shouldn't create a piece of content with the sole purpose of achieving a certain number of conversions. Conversions happen once you have successfully built an audience with your content.
A large and loyal base of followers and subscribers will ensure you receive repeat business.
“A focus on conversions … will continue to try to capture the interest of those ready-to-buy customers who would've bought from you anyway, while simultaneously excluding the critical, unaware parts of the population you need to reach,” said Derek Gleason, content lead at ConversionXL.
Content helps engage people who may eventually become your customers and reaches people beyond your current customers.
To decide on the merit of your content, simply ask the following questions:
- Will the content piece educate and entertain my audience?
- Will readers find enough value to return?
If the answer to both these questions is “yes,” you can move forward.
As a content marketer, you simply need to focus on adding value to your target customers. Use content to educate and entertain them, and conversions will likely follow.
5. You Focus on the Wrong Promotional Channels
Quality content works as a long-term resource for lead and revenue generation. Promoting your content through channels that suit your business is critical to success.
For example, if you’re selling a B2B tool, your prime focus should be to get as much visibility on LinkedIn, Quora, your business blog, and guest posts. You’ll find that most of your target decision-makers are quite active on these channels.
Similarly, as a fashion or restaurant brand, you’ll get the maximum returns from channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, where your target audience spends much of its time.
YouTube is great for all types of businesses that can invest in creating quality video content.
You need to learn specific trends for each channel to get ahead of your competition.
For example, on Instagram, some of the trending features include IGTV and the “Ask Me Anything” feature in stories.
Fashion brand Louis Vuitton created an IGTV video that resulted in more than 300,000 views.
Louis Vuitton listened to and followed trends on Instagram to engage its audience.
You must promote your content aggressively on a few specific channels while having a presence on all of them.
This strategy will help you get the maximum possible ROI from your content marketing efforts.
Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Works
To get consistent results from content marketing, you need to stand out and make your audience go “Wow, that's something.”
Let your content bring a smile to their face so they’re inspired to share it. Make use of visual and interactive formats to take the boredom out of your content.
There’s already a ton of content out there, and you must be honest while producing content for your audience.
The content marketing process is rather slow. But if you stay persistent with your voice and focus on the right channels, you’ll find success sooner.
About the Author
Abhishek Talreja is curious about everything content and marketing. He loves to keep it short, simple, and meaningful. He is the founder of Prolific Content Marketing.