Despite the rapid changes in the marketing landscape, content marketing is a tactic that will never go away. It’s not only a priority among marketers, but a top initiative in c-suites across industries.

Although highly prioritized, confidence levels among marketers is spiraling down. After all, with everyone creating content, how can we ensure our efforts are standing out in an ocean of articles, blogs, white papers, newsletters, tweets and Facebook posts?

To ask if content marketing is worth the effort is a painfully rhetorical question. If all you do is follow content marketing best practices, you can expect the results you get from ‘doing’ content marketing. In today’s always on firehose of content, rising above the noise requires creativity, variation, and out-of-the box thinking. Let’s look at how you can adapt your content strategy to achieve better business outcomes.

HIGH QUALITY LEADS – LESS IS MORE.

If you were to choose between buying an email list and sending generic messages vs investing in targeted content and sending it to an audience whose attention you’ve earned organically over time, which one will you choose?

Although it requires more effort, it clearly makes more sense to choose the second scenario given that companies publishing relevant, rich, and timely content generate 2x more leads than companies who don’t.

Segmenting your content based on audience will not only drive more leads, but the leads will also be more qualified saving you time and money.

The takeaway – it’s better to invest in quality over quantity. Be a resource before you try to be a vendor.

INBOUND TRAFFIC

By regularly developing content that provides a solution to a need or content that caters to an identified interest, you can generate higher click-thru rates and increase website traffic. Along with the increase in website traffic with each piece of content you are generating brand awareness.

Think about the search intent (keywords) your audience is likely to use to search for information specific to your expertise. Use that research to create a variety of topic segments which guides your content creation for your website, blog, social, podcast, and videos.

Once you publish your content, make sure to add tracking including the key variables (channel, medium, source, title) so you can easily understand which topics, publishers, and types of content are driving business outcomes. If your content isn’t generating inbound traffic, research topics that haven’t been tapped – even if those topics have a smaller addressable audience. The takeaway – if you are just getting started look for niche topics or specific long-tail search queries.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Did you know that simply adding more visuals to your content can increase audience engagement by up to 94%?

By enhancing your content with photos, videos or infographics, your audience is more likely to engage with your content, share it with their network, and most of all anticipate similar content from you in the future.

While these tips are nothing new to most content marketers, consider engagement over reach next time you create a social post, blog, or newsletter. While reach is always important, understanding what type of creative drives engagement is critical to judging content success. If a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise? If a post doesn’t gain visibility, you’ll never know if the content was valuable. Always keep the photos, videos and infographics relevant, while using each post as an opportunity to test engagement. The takeaway – test headlines, CTA’s, and creative to drive engagement with your content.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Good content marketing not only translates to be better sales but establishes your company or brand as a thought leader in your industry. This is why creating and sharing relevant and rich content is critical to driving better business outcomes.

An example of a company or a brand that has established thought leadership through content marketing is SAP. D!gitalist Magazine is SAP’s online tech publication where topics such as big data, cloud computing, analytics, and Internet of Things are discussed. It is targeted at a specific audience – individuals who are leading their company’s digital transformation.

Achieving the level of a thought leader is an ongoing process, but the payoff can be tremendous. A properly executed thought leadership campaign generates influence – which elevates you as an industry expert people turn to when making key decisions. The takeaway –

Improved rankings on search

Practicing good content marketing is not only good for brand awareness and revenue. It is plays a pivotal role in SEO too. As algorithms evolve, websites that have been practicing good content marketing are rewarded accordingly by Google.

While SEO is a consideration in content marketing, think first of how attractive your content is and how well your content can be consumed by your audience. If you can do that, your level of attraction with Google will also follow.

So, is content marketing worth the effort? Yes.

The results of good content marketing may not be instant, but just because it is not easy to win does not mean it is a waste of time.