More than 20 years have passed since Bill Gates proclaimed “Content is king,” signaling an era in which successful digital marketing strategies would need to have content at its core.
Since then, it’s likely your marketing team has been investing significant parts of your budget in content marketing — creating blogs, social media posts, ebooks, videos, slide shares and website content as part of a comprehensive effort to drive customers to your brand.
And, if you’re like many other marketers, getting the same results you did even two to three years ago is challenging. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 44% of B2B marketers reported that it had become increasingly difficult to get their audience’s attention over the past year, while 51% of B2C marketers agreed with that statement.
It shouldn’t be surprising. We’re flooding the internet with massive amounts of content, and your audience has every reason to be constantly distracted by thousands of tweets, posts, emails, ads, videos, and other content.
Yet, content marketing as a strategy is still critical. Americans are now spending an average of 23.6 hours a week online — nearly the equivalent of three workdays, and up from a mere 9.4 hours in 2000. As a marketer, you need to find a way to more effectively make meaningful connections with your customers and prospects.
Artificial intelligence, just as it has with nearly every other industry, is emerging as the answer to your most challenging digital marketing problems.
Through the intersection of artificial intelligence with content marketing, content intelligence has emerged as the platform solution that can solve the following 7 common problems with content marketing plans.
1. Limited ability to truly understand customers. Every time your targeted audiences engage online, they’re leaving digital cues about their behaviors and preferences, and the triggers that get them to move forward with a purchase.
More than likely, your marketing team has been able to capture some of that data through analytics. But you could do so much better. There’s a lot of data out there that’s not getting translated into a more vivid picture of your customers and prospects.
A content intelligence platform is able to deliver sharper insights from all that data, giving you a more comprehensive image of your audience, including their likes, dislikes, favorite influencers and most recommended apps With these deeper insights, marketers can start developing deeper segmentation to identify the needs of their customers.
Consider it a marketing persona in 3D, compared to the 2D picture you’re currently working with. In a marketing environment that demands personalization, this is a critical feature that can enhance engagement.
2. Publishing by volume. Following the mantra “Content is King,” many marketing teams have spent the past decade pushing out massive amounts of content. The mindset? Get more results with more content.
Maybe you were in that camp a while ago. More than likely, you’ve switched your focus by spending the past few years focusing more on content quality.
Unfortunately, your team is still probably creating a lot of waste — a lot of content that won’t have any impact whatsoever on your marketing strategy.
It’s also likely you produce a decent amount of content that does engage your audiences. But it’s still a guessing game because you don’t necessarily know why that content made a connection. Was it the tone? The timing? A specific answer to a challenging problem? Should you create more of it? Follow up with another post that addresses a certain issue in the content? Create the type of content that seems to be generating leads for your competitors?
All of those questions can be clearly answered with data processed and analyzed through a content intelligence platform. With the guidance delivered through content intelligence, marketers can gain the insights — a roadmap of sorts — to consistently create quality content that’s concise and addresses the needs of your customers.
They also can receive the insights they need to create content that strategically overcomes the objections prospects may have as they navigate the buyer’s journey. With a more clearly outlined series of content, companies can more effectively deliver the right type of content (email, text, video, ebook) with the right message to the right customer.
3. A haphazard approach to connecting with your audience. Along with the right content for the right customer, you need to ensure that you’re connecting at the right time with the ideal mix of channels.
This is one of the main frustrations facing marketers. Your prospects and customers may be on a mobile phone while performing searches, only to show up later on a laptop or tablet to complete a transaction. You may feel like your strategy is trying to hit a constantly moving target. And it’s only going to get worse.
According to Globalwebindex, the average American is now connected to the internet through 3.6 devices. And 84% of Americans are accessing the internet from smartphones, up from the 23% that was reported in 2010, according to a report from University of Southern California Annenburg.
And next up? Wearables. They’re on pace to be the next trend to shake things up, with more than 17% of Americans now owning a smartwatch or other wearable device, according to Statista.
A solid marketing strategy relies as much on delivery as it does with creating the right type of content for your prospects. You want to create an experience that comes across as seamless, using the right mix of channels that matches their online behavior.
This is where content intelligence can provide more precise actionable insights on where and how to plug in your messages to make more meaningful connections. They should come across as natural and, more importantly, personalized.
4. Lack of resources. More than likely, your team has brainstormed more than a few creative projects that you never had the time to get around to executing. With everything that goes into developing a content marketing strategy, including content creation, automation data analysis, and social and email campaigns, many marketing teams are overwhelmed with the tasks facing them.
With content intelligence delivering more reliable, data-based actionable insights, your marketing team can become efficient. Using that guidance, they’re better equipped to devote more time to tasks like strategic planning.
Also, through continued advances in natural language generation (NLG), content intelligence is promising to lighten the content load by writing social media posts, subject lines, landing pages and other messaging designed to connect with your audience.
Several years ago, Gartner predicted that 20% of all content would be written by machines by 2018. That prediction seems to become a reality. The Washington Post is using Heliograf, an automated storyteller to write general news articles and social media posts.
Companies like Groupon, USAA, Forbes, and T. Rowe Price are using Narrative Science’s Quill for its content-writing capabilities. Early reports indicate that Quill can write 10- to 15-page financial reports within moments, compared to weeks for the average writer.
5. Failing to pair content with specific goals. Before a major conversion (i.e. a purchase), many customers engage in micro conversions along the way, as part of the steps that make up the customer journey.
With limited insights, it may be difficult to get a clear understanding of which types of impressions (and a combination of impressions) are making the most impact with your prospects.
A strategy guided by content intelligence can deliver on those touch points with the right message, timed at the right point of the customer journey.
6. Vague measurement strategy. Do you really know what you should be measuring to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaign? The answer to that question likely varies depending upon who you’re talking to, from your CEO, CMO and sales team to the members on your own marketing team. Some may value an increase in brand awareness, website traffic, and social engagement, while others may only look at bottom-line type metrics like marketing ROI, sales and customer retention.
In most cases, the truth lies in all of those factors and more. Content intelligence, analyzing your audience and activity on competitors’ sites, can help you determine if an increased focus on certain areas (such as thought leadership, real-time social media engagement, and brand awareness) can deliver more impact than you may have previously realized.
7. Inability to demonstrate clear ROI. With so many elements making up a marketing strategy, it’s hardly surprising that marketing teams are finding it difficult to show a clear connection between dollars spent on different aspects of the campaign that may be limited to impressions.
On the other hand, it may hard to determine whether a customer would have gone through a purchase as a result of Google Adwords campaign had it not been for the previous impressions.
Content intelligence not only can provide a more enhanced ROI picture, but it can also guide you on how dollars should be spent to promote your messages — again using data to provide the actionable insights you need to move forward with more confidence.
With a clearer vision of what engages your customers, you can gain a more effective path to a personalized content marketing strategy that increases engagement and sales while streamlining your processes. Talk to Vennli about what content intelligence can do for your team.