July 29, 2014

Content Marketing Leads Forbes' 2014 Online Marketing Trends

Content marketing topped Forbes’ seven most dominant online marketing trends for 2014. The rising inbound marketing star is predicted to become even bigger, as evidenced by the report titled “B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America,” which states that 58 percent of B2B marketers  are planning to increase their content marketing budgets during the next 12 months.

As stated by marketing industry pundit, author and speaker Seth Godin, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” His sentiments are echoed by other marketing proponents who agree that traditional marketing is quickly being replaced by content creation. With power now in the hands of consumers, inbound marketing—in particular content marketing—is what’s trending.

As opposed to traditional marketing, such as TV and magazine ads, content marketing—which includes everything from blog posts to social media to video—helps build brand awareness, fosters consumer loyalty and attracts customers.

Despite this ongoing trend, however, marketers still struggle to create content that “converts.” In fact, only 14 percent of businesses said their content marketing strategy was “very effective,” according to a 2014 study by Forrester Research. According to analysts, the problem could be in execution. Below, we explore some of the challenges marketers face when creating content, and the ways to overcome them:

Sync marketing efforts with the wider goals of the organization: Your content marketing strategy needs to tie in with your brand’s overall business goals. For example, if you have a revenue target of $2 million for 2015, then your marketing efforts should be directed toward that goal. In the end, it all comes down to dollars and cents. You’ll need to validate the effectiveness of your campaigns by proving return on investment. Without such proof, companywide support will be a source of pain for marketers.

Educate and train personnel about content creation: Your marketing staff plays a primary role in the effectiveness of your strategy. After all, you rely on them to keep content fresh, relevant and engaging. Senior-level marketers should be in charge of raising the content awareness of staff, primarily teaching them how to speak in the voice of the customer. If you don’t have the capability within your own organization to provide a superior level of content, consider outsourcing this vital function to a content strategy vendor.

Shift from product-focused to relationship-building content creation: Speak to the business issues that buyers face. Highlight how your products and services help customers become more successful. Additionally, provide cutting-edge insights that buyers can use to solve their problems. Most importantly, focus on building relationships, not closing the deal.

Once your organization has made the switch to content that is relationship-building, you will find your brand’s visibility heightened, demand generation naturally advancing, and buyers even more interested in solving their problems with your solutions.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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