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What Are the Biggest Content Marketing Hurdles?

April 8th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Consumers don’t trust most marketing methods, meaning content marketing has a better chance of winning their business, a Forrester Research study reported in MediaPost says. But businesses face lots of challenges in successfully implementing content marketing strategies.

First, let’s look at what kinds of marketing earn the least—and most—trust:

  • Text messaging ranked low, with just 9 percent of U.S. consumers saying they trust texts from companies.
  • Banner ads are trusted by only 10 percent.
  • 12 percent trust mobile apps.
  • 18 percent trust email marketing messages.

At the higher end of the trust scale, 46 percent of people say they trust consumer-written reviews of products; professional reviews are trusted by 55 percent; and recommendations from friends or family earn the trust of 70 percent.

Since so many marketing messages are earning limited trust, more and more brands are turning to branded content, which Forrester defines as “content developed or curated by a brand to provide added consumer value such as entertainment or education.” Branded content isn’t a paid ad, sponsorship or product placement. It isn’t designed to directly sell a product or service, but simply to build affinity with a brand.

What does your branded content marketing campaign need to be successful? Here are a few important points Forrester recommends:

  • Content must reflect your brand’s core values.
  • It must create value for the consumer so they’re inspired to share it with others.
  • When creating content, companies should focus on good storytelling and on creating content that is useful, inspiring and interesting.
  • In addition, that content must engage with consumers in the proper context. You would develop different content for your blog than for Facebook or Pinterest, for example.
  • Companies must measure results of their content marketing strategies on an ongoing basis.

Forrester recommends creating an editorial calendar to manage your content marketing strategy. While its study focused on major global brands, an editorial calendar can be smart way for even the smallest business to keep its content marketing strategy on track.

You can use an editorial calendar to plan what type of content will be needed when—such as for a new product launch, to tie in with a particular event such as the Super Bowl, or for a certain season—and what channels you will share it in. An Excel file is a simple way to create an editorial calendar.

Always leave room in your editorial calendar for spontaneity so that if a topical event sparks a lot of chatter and it’s relevant to your brand, you can create relevant content or comment on the event in an appropriate way.

Want to learn from the big brands? Forrester called out Cisco, the Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Chanel No. 5., Michelob Ultra, BMW, Schiff and Chipotle as brands that excel at content marketing. Try following them on social media to see what strategies they’re implementing and what your business could borrow from.

Image by Flickr user (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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