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Today, content marketing is becoming more popular than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of surveyed marketers say they are creating more content than they did a year ago.
With that said, developing a well-rounded content marketing strategy can be a big struggle for many businesses. Most companies have at least one area within their strategy where they fail to reach their full potential. According to HubSpot, the biggest challenges facing marketers today are creating awareness, generating leads, utilizing social media, targeting the audience and creating brand recognition.
Therefore, while many businesses are implementing content marketing tactics, there are still many challenges companies face when developing strong content. This article will examine the top challenges businesses face and offer strategies to improve content creation.
Engage customers with personalization
One of the biggest obstacles businesses face, according to HubSpot’s research, is targeting the right audience, and with that, engaging the audience. HubSpot has found that 88% of B2B marketers and 89% of B2C marketers are either currently focusing on creating more engaging, higher-quality content or planning to in the upcoming year, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
While many businesses are focused on improving content, many others struggle to implement strategies that actively engage consumers such as personalization techniques. For example, most marketers will admit that personalization has become imperative for successful content marketing programs, but only 6% say that they are planning with personalization in mind, according to MarketingProfs.
In order to incorporate personalization into content creation, companies first have to determine the audience they are talking to. Choosing a target audience enables businesses to streamline messaging, target topics and determine the most effective marketing channels for content.
In order to create a defined target audience, companies should first develop buyer personas. Buyer personas act as representations of a business’s ideal consumer. In creating personas, companies evaluate characteristics common to their current customer base as well as traits found in their ideal buyer, thereby making it possible to segment consumers based on their interests, wants, needs, demographic and more.
Once buyer personas have been created, companies can use them to target their content by streamlining messaging and topics to the interests of the determined audience. The end goal is to create content that provides the consumer with value and engages consumers. Therefore, by determining a target audience, businesses can add a personal touch to content by implementing elements that connect to the customer’s interests.
When creating content, the primary goal for most businesses is to generate more leads as more leads yield more customers. But before a company can generate leads, they first have to successfully engage the consumer.
Unfortunately, instead of focusing on customer engagement, most businesses use content as a form of promotion when in actuality consumers are looking to gain value from content.
According to a recent report from the Economist Group and peppercomm, 75% of executives said their primary purpose for seeking out content was to generate ideas; however, 93% of marketers said the intent of the content they created was to directly promote products and services. Therefore, although consumers are looking to gain insight from content, many businesses still struggle to produce value as opposed to promotion.
It has been proven that providing the customer with content that offers relevant information significantly increases consumer engagement. According to a recent study, consumers are more intrigued when a brand educates them with a relevant article or the content interests them.
In order to ensure that users find value or gain insight from content, businesses can simply reference the determined target audience and pick content topics that are in line with the interests of the audience.
Implement social media
In addition to providing the consumer with value, it is equally important to utilize multiple marketing channels in order to extend the reach to a wider audience. According to the SocialMedia Examiner, 92% of all marketers indicated that implementing their social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses.
Beyond increasing exposure, social media also offers businesses a chance to build customer loyalty and nurture leads by acting as thought leaders in a given industry.
According to HubSpot, 72% of marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans, while 71% of marketers are using social media to gain marketplace intelligence.
Many businesses still struggle to fully implement social media into their strategy, as B2B marketers ranked social media as the third biggest challenge and B2C marketers ranked it as the second in a recent report from HubSpot. As social media is still a relatively new form of marketing, many companies are adjusting to regularly publishing content on social media platforms. With that said, businesses have yet to tap into social media’s potential to target, generate and nurture leads.
A simple way to improve a social media presence is to interact with users as well as post content regularly. Adding an element of interaction offers a touch of personalization that can make a business appear more approachable, thereby increasing consumer engagement.
Once a consumer interacts with a piece of content, an additional challenge many businesses face is ensuring that the consumer continues to engage with company content. Calls to action are a great tool for re-engaging consumers. Incorporating calls to action within a piece of content can act as a guide leading the reader from one piece to the next.
The key to designing an effective call to action is making sure that the content provided is targeted at the consumer’s interests. According to a recent survey conducted by HubSpot, calls to action that were targeted to a specific user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than those that were designed for all possible users. Therefore, an effective call to action should offer additional content, be it an article, ebook or webinar that is within the consumer’s area of interest.
Creating great content does not guarantee lead generation. Successful content creation should also target the correct audience, drive awareness and engage readers. If you’re looking for more information about how content marketing works, check out Jacobs & Clevenger’s free Content Marketing Case Study.
Topics: Inbound Marketing