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Does Content Marketing Really Work?

Author: Lisa Morgan
September 22, 2021

Competitiveness has become fiercer than ever as a direct result of globalization, technology innovation, and digital transformation. One way that companies can differentiate themselves successfully is through the use of effective content marketing which advances the positioning and goals of an organization and its offerings while addressing the needs of the target audience.

Content marketing done well can literally change the dynamics of an industry, assuming that the company can deliver on its promises.

Having a Unified Content Strategy Helps

Well-marketed companies orchestrate their messaging across channels. The messaging is consistent, even though it may need to be adapted slightly to suit the individual marketing channels.

A cohesive content marketing strategy advances a company’s strategic objectives more effectively than random content creation. Educating a market is difficult and expensive, even more so when a company lacks a holistic content marketing strategy and plan. Conversely, when the pieces are designed to work together, organizations realize many benefits, including:

  • Achieving a higher level of mindshare and recall among target audiences
  • Creating a sustainable competitive advantage and brand differentiation
  • Realizing greater ROI
  • Influencing the direction of an industry

Factors Holding Companies Back

Marketing generally and content marketing specifically suffer when individual teams are operating in silos. For example, PR may be galloping off in one direction while content marketing and social are headed in other directions. The lack of consistent messaging and overall orchestration results in friction that confuses target markets and lowers the effectiveness of content marketing efforts.

“Fingerprints” is another common obstacle. Everyone reviewing a content piece has an opinion. That’s normal. However, in the worst situations, the thinking of those involved in content reviews is not aligned, so there’s a lot of debating and politicking. The result is often a compromised content piece that doesn’t read well and lacks a clear message.

There’s also the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HIPPO), which may limit the effectiveness of a piece or an entire program.

The root cause of these issues is people problems – poor marketing management and egos.

How Effective Content Marketing Works

Effective content marketing begins with an understanding of what the company wants to achieve, as well as the target market’s needs and pain points. It’s also aware of and aligned with other marketing efforts.

Despite the unusually dynamic nature of today’s business environment, having a plan is essential because all of the pieces need to work together. Achieving that requires a consistent set of messages that are coordinated across channels so that they support each other. Usually, these are organized into campaigns that have specific messaging, goals, strategies, and tactics.

Finally, there’s the measurement of progress against goals. Which messages are resonating with the target audience and which aren’t? Is the content being shared or quoted? Are the numbers what they should be in terms of views, clicks, shares, and conversions? How can content effectiveness be improved?

Bottom line, content marketing can help a company achieve its goals faster when it’s planned, orchestrated, measured, and optimized in a thoughtful and deliberate way.