Why You’re Failing To Engage With Your Online Audience

It’s funny how quickly the world can change in just a few short years. Back in the 2000s, if you wanted to get noticed in the digital space, you spend a lot of time focusing on keywords to boost your rankings. But those days are long gone. In the modern digital marketing space, it’s all about content. In fact, content marketing and digital marketing have almost become synonymous. Content marketing is continuing its upward trend. And other forms of marketing are becoming secondary issues, at best.

Unfortunately, content marketing is difficult to get right. It’s all about finding ways to connect with your audience. But most entrepreneurs and businesses aren’t experts in the matter. In fact, many don’t even have a background in traditional marketing. That means that things frequently go wrong for small businesses trying to make waves in content marketing for the first time. And they often fail to connect with their intended audiences.

The Problem Of Scope

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There’s a reason why British company Heinz famously has “57 varieties:” It’s been around a long, long time. It’s had well over a century to develop new products and exploit new markets. As a startup or small business, you haven’t. And so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to accomplish a broad range of goals with your content marketing. One of the problems that startups have with their content marketing is that they try to achieve all their goals in one fell swoop. This usually means that they fail to realize any of them.

You should ask yourself, a few important questions before you start. Are you just looking for new customers? Or are you trying to build a bigger brand? Do you want to educate people about your product? Or are you seeking to improve SEO and search rankings? Trying to achieve all of these goals in a single content marketing push is going to lead to failure. If you’re trying to build links to other websites, it’s probably not a good idea to go with heavily branded content. Other sites will be far less willing to link to content that is overtly commercial. Heavily branded content could be useful, however, if you’re trying to raise brand profile or explain a product.

The Problem Of Promotion

You might be producing great content, but the world of content marketing has moved a long way from its early days. Back in 2010, companies put 90 percent of their effort into producing great content and 10 percent into marketing it. But today, that’s no longer the case. It’s harder now to get your content to stand out. Companies today are investing 30 percent of their time into producing the content, and 70 percent into promoting it.

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Marketing content is difficult. Everybody knows it. But there are some things that you can do to boost your presence and get your content noticed. One is to identify the so-called “tastemakers.” These are the people who stalk YouTube, Facebook and Instagram day and night. And they have significant influence over niche communities interested in your product. A great example is all the tech and gaming channels on YouTube. Mostly, these channels are run by independent amateurs. They review computers and games for their audiences and send out regular reviews. What they say can be highly influential. So it’s important to use tastemakers as a platform from which to promote your product.

There’s also the problem of companies failing to choose the right channels for their content marketing. If you’re a food business, it makes no sense to market on LinkedIn. People sell food by publishing high-quality photographs, and so Instagram marketing is your best option. Equally, if you’re a machinery business, it makes no sense to post content on a makeup blog. Content promotion needs to be relevant to your audience if it’s going to be a success.

The Problem Of Poor Production Values

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Small businesses and startups often struggle with the issue of presentation. One common problem is choosing the right medium to convey information. Many companies just assume that the best way to communicate is to write out a big long article on their particular subject. But that will rarely get people engaged. For better or worse, the internet is mostly about short, sharp, punchy content. If you’ve got a lot of data or information you want to convey, try using an infographic. A lot of infographics are quite long and complicated these days. That might be good if your audience is sophisticated. But if you’ve got one particular message you’d like to get across, it’s probably best to keep them as simple as possible.

There’s also a lot to be said for the presentation of the content itself. It turns out that the quality of the content is usually independent of the presentation. Great presentation can often act like a rocket underneath content that is poor or ill-informed. How many people do you know who take the time to read abstracts on ugly, academic sites like PubMed? Not many I’m guessing. Most people will consume the content that they find the most attractive. And so if you want to grab attention, a big chunk of your effort should be spent on polishing your message.

There’s one more important thing when it comes to content creation: titles. When a person first comes across your article, they won’t immediately have an understanding of the content. All they’ll have to make a decision about whether to read it or not is the title. The most effective titles are ones that offer readers a tidbit of information that leaves them wanting more. But this is hard to achieve without making your content appear spammy. A good example might be “Avoid these pitfalls for marketing success.” The reader immediately wonders whether they’re managing to avoid the pitfalls themselves. After all, they don’t want to fall prey to marketing blunders.

Thus, having excellent production values can provide a significant boost to your marketing campaign. But remember, when it comes to retaining interest, it’s the content that really counts. Customers want to be able to get something useful out of the material that your company produces.

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