Probably not as 80% of Australian businesses have no idea if their content marketing is actually working.

The 2015 Content Marketing in Australia report said that 80% of Australian companies surveyed could not track the ROI of their content marketing efforts.

They don’t know if it’s even worth the effort.

The whole point of any marketing is to generate more business.

If it’s not doing that, then it’s a waste of time, money and resources.

content marketing ROI

In this article

How to Avoid Content Marketing Failure

Sadly this situation is not new in the digital marketing area.

Most companies and marketers keep making the same fundamental digital marketing mistake that they have been making for the past 20 years.

The failure of so many content marketing and social media campaigns is a sad example of web history repeating itself.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

Digital Marketing History Repeating Itself

In the late 1990’s and early noughties when the online business world really got going, every business wanted a website because, well, “everybody has one or we’re told we need one”.

And so were launched a million business websites, often at great expense, which did nothing for the bottomline of the companies concerned.

Then it was, “we must do online advertising, everybody’s doing it”. The pathetic click thru rates, high cost and low conversion rates soon convinced many that this too was a bad idea.

Then it was analytics, blogging, social media ad nauseam.

Every year there was a new “shiny ball” for the digikids to play with.

This never ending digital development, ongoing cost and lack of results led many businesses to distrust web developers and online marketers with open hostility.

Despite the barely controlled anger from the broader business community, it was nevertheless apparent that some companies were doing very well in the online space.

Incredibly some were getting click thru rates on their ads of over 20% compared to the industry average of less than 1%.

Other companies were making millions of dollars with conversion rates up around 60% and even 80%, while everybody else’s were stuck at around 2%.

And the year on revenue growth for online businesses was often 10 times more than their offline counterparts.

What was their secret?

Secrets of Digital Marketing Success

Strategy

- in a word.

They had a well thought out business strategy on how they were going to use the digital space to achieve tangible business goals.

EG:

  • Who were they going to target?
  • How were they going to target them?
  • What did their customers want that they could give them?
  • Where were they going to target them?
  • How were they going to measure the results in monetary terms?

There’s obviously a lot more to it, including execution, but it all starts with a sound strategy.

And that’s what so many content marketing initiatives lack today.

The Content Marketing Institute said that only 37% of Australian marketers had a documented strategy.

content marketing ROI

It’s this lack of strategy that’s crippled many digital marketing initiatives over the past two decades, and sadly it doesn’t appear as if anything much has changed.

Too many companies are just churning out blog posts, interacting on social media and recording Youtube videos without a clear content marketing strategy.

To be fair, churning out content worked for a while, chiefly because your competitors weren’t doing it and Google even rewarded you for it with loads of extra search engine traffic.

But now everybody’s doing it, and Google has come down hard on content churn merchants.

So what’s the key to an effective content strategy?

Quality

- In another word.

Unless you’ve been asleep at the marketing wheel, you’ll already know that these days it’s all about quality.

Produce content that people want to read and engage with.

And how do you do that?

See previous points on strategy.

If you don’t know who your target customers are, what motivates them, their values and what they want, there’s no way you’ll be able to produce quality content.

When attention to quality is overlooked, things tend to fall apart quickly.

Acrolinx recently measured the effect of quality content on 340 companies’ digital marketing efforts.

Regrettably it found that almost 70% of companies were producing poor quality content.

Yet for the few companies that did produce quality content they found a clear correlation between quality content and online success.

content marketing ROI

Acrolinx said that many companies were just relying on quantity output or tools and technology to amplify their output.

And that’s not a winning solution over the long term.

Australian Quality Example

When ANZ wanted to create articles of influential economic content, they hired one of the most respected financial journalists they could find.

Like ANZ, you need a senior practitioner if you want quality work, and for that you’ll have to pay.

Hiring a junior PR officer or a recent media graduate to produce your content isn’t really going to get the leads pouring in.

Quality costs money.

But still that’s not all.

Distribution

- Promotion

Just producing quality content isn’t going to produce the results you want unless you promote it.

The build it and they will come strategy doesn’t work.

You have to be actively out there distributing and promoting your content.

Which leads us back to strategy:

  • Which digital channels are you going to be active on?
  • and which of those are you prepared to pay to have your content promoted?

Without strategy and budget even the highest quality content may find itself unfound and under-read.

Ironically a recent content marketing guide from Contently listed the four main tactics necessary to get your content effectively distributed:

  • 1.Email newsletters
  • 2.Organic social media
  • 3.Paid content distribution
  • 4.SEO

Do they look familiar?

There’s nothing new here in what’s required for effective marketing. Not a lot has changed over the past 20 years.

And unfortunately that includes many companies continued unwillingness to do the work necessary for digital success.

Do the Work, Get the Result

This article is just a timely reminder that many (most) businesses keep making the same mistakes online year after year, regardless of the latest tools, techniques and what we’ve learned.

They keep rushing into digital marketing without having a clearly defined business strategy and execution plan.

They keep looking for quick fixes and instant results.

There are no short cuts, no silver bullets or magic potions.

Developing a strategy and crafting quality content takes thought, time, planning and resources. You have to commit to it, like an exercise program, only then will you see the results.

As Contently states:

Building a content brand takes time, but the rewards are huge.

I’ll be producing more posts specifically on how to produce quality content over the coming months, so stay tuned.

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