This article was originally published on CMO.com.
As 2016 fast approaches, brands are coming to terms with the impact that ad blocking will have on digital marketing channels long taken for granted as effective.
At the same time, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s “2016 Annual Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends” reports for B2B and B2C, many brands plan to allocate more than 30% of their annual marketing spending toward content marketing budgets as a way to generate sales, raise brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty and engagement, and spur action.
More ad blockers and less consumer patience for one-way brand messages have converged so that advertisers are relying less on paid media and leaning toward developing content-driven relationships with customers across digital channels. To achieve the most from this change in investment, brands should make three simple content marketing resolutions before 2016 starts.
Resolution 1: Make Content Marketing A Constant
In the coming months, consumers will see a lot more content marketing. Smart brands should follow the lead of the most successful publishers who continually produce fresh, engaging content that solicits and addresses audience feedback.
To be successful, these publishers track content thoroughly, including what’s viewed most, the times and formats of popular posts, and what content gets shared. In addition, they realize that consumers today expect to receive content wherever they may be and across multiple channels, so their strategies include display, mobile, social, and email.
And more and more, consumers expect brands to “never close,” so brands that adopt a 24/7, “always-on” approach to content marketing instead of a stop-start campaign strategy will attract, engage, and retain loyal customers.
Resolution 2: Personalize Content
While it may seem daunting to personalize content to individuals, brands must resolve to rise to this challenge in 2016 because today’s consumers expect and almost demand it. And the consequences can be huge when they don’t.
Even brands with loyal fans that read, view, listen, and visit owned properties because they’ve had positive experiences can become alienated when those brands do not personalize content to them. Even the most beloved brands can sabotage their content marketing strategies when they assume engagement related to one product means interest in a broad category, when they don’t take the time to learn which content attracted a consumer via social or mobile, or when they don’t learn what brought a returning consumer back to a Web site to make a purchase.
By not individually personalizing content, brands risk the content marketing equivalent of ad blocking—abandonment. Conversely, by using technology to understand how consumers are navigating various channels and which offers, articles, and platforms are engaging them (and when), a foundation is created for the personalized content you deliver to them now and in the future.
Resolution 3: Get Past Raw Clicks
Amping up the clicks may help generate traffic, but it is unlikely to garner the business outcomes most brands seek. Remember that consumers are using ad blockers because they want to avoid irrelevant, intrusive content that is not seemingly directed at them or interrupts their journey.
Simply loading up on clicks is like hoping you’ll get healthier by ingesting massive amounts of vitamin C; the body takes it in, but doesn’t store or use the excess. In the case of click-binging, you aren’t doing anything to build relationships or repeat engagement, the optimal measures.
Successful publishers consistently deliver articles, video, commentary—a variety of content heavily tied to a specific editorial focus—which encourages subscribers and readers that engage with that content to return over and over again. Publishers amass traffic, reliable return visits, and shares. When brands get past raw clicks as a way to engage and instead deliver content that appeals to each individual based on their interests, they’re on the road to fostering repeat engagement that builds healthy relationships.
The growth of ad blockers could actually ring in a new era of opportunity for brands in 2016. While brands reassess the best and most efficient ways to reach consumers, making these three simple content marketing resolutions (and sticking to them) will help them to maximize their marketing strategies and better capitalize on the way their consumers are using content.
Content marketing already provides a significant means for driving sales and building awareness for many brands, but if they choose to rise to the challenge of creating engaging personalized content for individuals, they will be setting the foundation to grow one-to-one consumer relationships that will flourish for years to come.
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