The 4 Key Success Factors of Content Marketing


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Maybe you just got started with content marketing in the past year, maybe you are planning to do so in the near future. Perhaps you are even an experienced content marketer? 


Whatever the case, there are people out there who came before you, and they have gained some insights over the years. We went around the world and looked at blog posts from successful content marketers in the US, Europe, and Asia, and distilled their insights into the simple question, "What makes a good content marketer?"


In these articles, we explained the basic concepts, such as:

Inbound Marketing Explained                        

Inbound Marketing Explained                        So What is Content Marketing Anyway


Using Content Marketing to Strengthen Your Brand      There Is Money In That Content Man!


Now, let's look at the personal level. What makes a good content marketer? What does a good content marketing team look like? Which key decisions to you need to take in your organization if you are embarking on your content marketing journey? From over 40 articles, we picked out the four key issues everybody can agree on.


Make a real commitment

Like with everything else in life, you better do it right, or you don't do it at all. If you decide to try content marketing "for a bit", with an understaffed team and not enough time and money, then don't bother. You will fail. You won't even begin to see results.


Successful content marketers confirm that whatever their industry or brand, their organization is extremely or very committed to content marketing. If the company believes in content marketing and provides the marketing team with the right resources, chances of success are much higher.


Content marketing is a complex endeavor. It means understanding the principles of inbound marketing and what companies do wrong with inbound marketing. Content marketing encompasses such creative domains as writing for an international audience or technical aspects like A/B Testing or SEO, and the impact of machine learning on SEO. As artificial intelligence evolves, it will have a profound influence on content marketing. And you need to measure the effectiveness of your marketing

Understandably, smaller companies are struggling to find experts in all of these fields. But it's not rocket science. All you need is ... 


A solid content marketing strategy

Content marketing is not just about writing and publishing articles, shooting videos, or managing a Facebook page. Your marketing efforts must have a solid strategy behind them. 


A strategy needs to answer in no uncertain terms the question, what is it you want to achieve? Do you want to drive online sales, or create brand awareness? What should people do after seeing and engaging with your content? Do you want them to pick up the phone or subscribe to email newsletters? We discuss the effects of a missing strategy in this article: The 7 Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing 


A good strategy also involves team management, project management, rules for creation and distribution, regularity and consistency in execution, and patience. Whereas the effects of a TV ad can be measured immediately, a solid content strategy may take months or years to bear fruit. (But when it does, be prepared to be awed). Having realistic expectations is key to success. The level of commitment and your expectations should of course match. 


Quality over quantity

It seems obvious, but because posting on digital media is so easy and doesn't cost anything, many brands produce far too much content. 


A well-written article, a very creative explainer video, or that meaningful infographic - in short, content that offers users real value and is therefore appreciated - are way more important than producing massive amounts of content. It may, for example, make more sense to spend more money on distribution or content and employing fewer content creators. 


Some platforms like Facebook even punish you for posting too much. Large amounts of posts with minimum engagement tells the AI behind Facebook that your content may be shallow or irrelevant, which reduces the exposure for your entire pay. Less is often more, in other words. 


Stay on top of your game

Finally, digital marketing is not a static process. It is evolving over time. New tools and platforms come online and the behavior of users changes. Two years ago, LinkedIn wasn't exactly the most popular platform for marketing in most countries, now it's growing rapidly and become more and more relevant for B2B marketing. People put great hopes in Snapchat, and then Instagram did hit back. What works and what doesn't seems to change by the minute. 


One way to keep abreast is to have a dedicated "technology advisor" with regular meetings. This may be a person in your company or an outside agency. Having these regular briefings will help assure your strategy isn't outdated before it is even launched. 


Content marketing is a journey. It is not just another way of marketing, it is part of the digitalization of our world. And one thing is sure, companies that don't become digital will be left behind. (See also: Sayonara, suckers! How digital companies are leaving the rest behind.)