Content & Internet marketing strategies, 2013
Internet marketing saw massive changes in 2012 brought on by the mass adoption of mobile devices, and huge changes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Accordingly, businesses are evolving new strategies to reach and engage customers in 2013.
These changes mean that marketers are rethinking the way they reach customers online, and the role of content within their overall strategy.
This article will highlight some of the primary causes of online marketing failures, and discuss why content will become the focus of most strategies in 2013 and beyond.
Internet marketing before 2013
Up to 2012, most businesses understood that having a blog was a good idea because it created a base of content that could be indexed by Google and returned in organic search results to drive traffic.
Why blogging fails
Many businesses try blogging, but fail to drive significant volumes of traffic, and therefore revenue from their blogging activities.
The problem is that businesses aren't professional publishers, and most people expect a high standard of content before they will start following a blog.
Most businesses fail at delivering high quality content. Instead, they generate noise (content of little real value, or content that is overtly sales oriented).
The lack of writing skills, SEO skills, and a strong bias towards sales oriented copy are the death knell of any business blog.
In addition, most people are inherently aware of a bias in content generated by a business and are less likely to trust opinions or assertions made by a company.
In the end, most businesses simply give up.
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Blogging badly is not a sustainable business enterprise.
As a result, blogging has lost some popularity as a business marketing tool, with many businesses turning to the open arms of social media as their primary online marketing strategy.
Why social media fails
Social media had nothing short of a dismal showing in 2012 when it came time to look at the bottom line - check out the article entitled The social media marketing honeymoon is over for more.
In that, you can see that social media really had no direct impact on eCommerce sales over the busiest time of the year. This, after years and years of investment by business.
Primary contributors to poor performance
So both blogging and social media have, in general, failed to deliver positive returns for business. There are any number of reasons, but I believe that the most significant contributing factors are:
- Poor Web writing skills: it takes time and practice to learn to write in an engaging style for online readers and SEO
- No focus: content and message need to be directly relevant to the audience you are trying to reach
- Lack of planning: business plans are common practice for growing a traditional business, but seem to be non-existent for growing a business online
- Lack of originality: any content that is not engaging, new, or offers a different perspective, ends up as background noise
- Lack of commitment: assigning junior personnel to manage an online marketing strategy is not a commitment, it's a waste of resources
Competing online is hard.
You either need to commit 100% and make a solid effort to dominate your niche, or concede altogether.
Doing things in half measures is worse than doing nothing because you end up investing time, money and effort for the same result.
Internet marketing strategy after 2013
Online marketing in 2013 and beyond is all about content. Content is becoming more and more important as time goes by. The reasons?
- Google has introduced changes such as Panda and Penguin that now reward good content
- Mobile devices favor paid content over ads
- Social media marketing is driven by content
You might be wondering why I have spent the better half of this article outlining why blogging and social media have failed, only to say that content is really important.
The answer is that the problem was not blogging or social media, but how businesses were using them.
Blogging and social media are channels for your content. They are not the marketing and sales strategy in its entirety.
Don't expect a blog, or social media to deliver results in isolation. They are only parts of the online sales funnel.
In order for a business to implement a successful strategy, post 2013, it needs to invest in a content strategy based on research into the niche, and an understanding of how the Internet is shaped by mobile, SEO and social media.
In other words, the investment in Internet marketing is in the research and planning of:
- what content to deliver
- where to deliver it
- how to deliver it
Should you continue to blog, and use social media? Absolutely. But, don't dive in without understanding what's in the water first.
Strategies for 2013 and beyond
Here are the best marketing strategies and tips you can use to help grow your business online in 2013:
- Connect and leverage influencers: Find good bloggers and social influencers and get them to evangelize your business
- Learn how to blog properly: Writing stuff is not blogging. Hire a successful blogger to audit your blog or train your staff
- Contract experts: It's very difficult to be an expert at something outside of your core business. But, you need this expertise to succeed online, so bite the bullet and hire someone to consult and advise you.
- Use social media to magnify the effects of your content: Social media is a great way to drive engagement around your content - but you need the content first
- Deliver content broadly: Your blog is not the only place to post articles, contribute to other blogs or news sites
Take the view that all Internet marketing activities start with great content that is focused and relevant. Everything else arises from your content strategy - blogging, social media, email campaigns, and so on.
With a killer content strategy, there are plenty of creative ways to deliver that content and you should be open to exploring new technologies and services that can help get the right content in front of the right people to drive explosive growth in 2013 and beyond.
What strategies are you looking to put in place in 2013? How are your marketing strategies changing over time? Share your tips and advice in the comments.
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