Do You Have What It Takes to Master Content Marketing?

Do you have what it takes to master content marketing?

If you breezily think, "Yeah, sure. I've got it," then prepare to have your world turned upside down.

Today's content marketing industry is brutal. I'm predicting that those who are only half-committed will crash and burn within the next twelve months.

We've reached a saturation point in content marketing. More than 95% of all businesses are actively engaged in content marketing efforts. And most businesses are committed to spending more on content marketing.

Competition has reached a fever pitch.Those who lack the chutzpah to carry on will be forced to bow out.

Why do I have such a brutal view of the content marketing world?

The State of Content Marketing Today

I was doing content marketing before it was popular -- even before the term "content marketing" came into vogue.

Back then, we just called it "blogging." It wasn't that difficult to create some nice articles, publish them and gain traffic.

In fact, a lot of bloggers who did just earned a full-time income just from ad revenue.

Is it still possible to do that today? Yes, it's possible, but incredibly difficult.

Here are the challenges

  • Content marketing is huge. Today, content marketing is a full-fledged industry. It has seminars, conferences and meetups. It has books, guides and courses aplenty. It has its gurus, movements and factions. And all of this amounting in billions of dollars in expenditures. Marketing Mag predicts the size of the content marketing industry will be300 billion by 2019.
  • Content marketing is changing constantly. One of the cliched truths about content marketing is that it's always changing. From major algorithmic changes to social media upsets and technological innovations, there are no constants.
  • Content marketing requires incredible technical savvy and an entire team of knowledge and experience. Content isn't just about the writing anymore. It's about images, interactivity and social savvy. In order to execute successfully you'll need designers and developers; coders and writers; social media savants; and a whole lot of money.

So, do you still think you have what it takes?

Here's what you need to master content marketing.

I'm not here to spell out doom and gloom. In fact, I think that you can succeed, but you'll need to have the right resources.

  • You need a sick content writer. Written content will reign supreme. From headlines to email subject lines to persuasive content, your content writer needs to be top-notch. Second rate content won't hold a candle to the explosive power of the content being unleashed today.
  • You need a designer. Great words mean nothing unless they are accompanied by stunning visuals. Give your content the essential upgrade of killer design.
  • You need a developer. Content marketing is increasingly becoming a developer's task. Why? Because great content involves interactive elements. Truly powerful content is the kind that people can click, toggle and play with. Think quizzes, infographics and gamification.
  • You need a coordinator. How does content marketing fit together? Well it doesn't, unless you have a capable executive to make it all tick. Whether this is a VP of Marketing, or a Growth Hacker (the title doesn't matter). The function is key however: Make all the parts move in order to produce great content.
  • You need brilliant execution. It's true that "content is king," but today we need to change that statement just a bit: "Quality content is king." There is a ton of content on the Internet, but only a few people will ever see it. Why? It has been poorly executed, hastily written and hardly even promoted. Today's content marketers know that they have to pull off a flawless execution to get the kind of results they are hoping for.
  • You need a rock-solid strategy. What is the foundation of a great content marketing approach? It's strategy. Many marketers rush into the content marketing game, thinking it's a 2+2=4 effort. Create the content and they will come, right? Only partially right. Successful content marketing demands that you devise the correct strategy. That's easier said than done. Only a third of content marketers actually have a documented strategy. If you're part of the mass of marketers who can't point to a documented strategy, prepare to be disappointed in your efforts.
  • You need total company support. This isn't a solo effort. The content marketing should be at the core of your company's marketing efforts. Yes, SEO and paid search and direct marketing are all valid, but the lion's share of marketing success is going to come from your content efforts.
  • You need to be obsessed with it. It sounds crazy, but you should be obsessed with content marketing. If you're not, then you're going to get sick of the effort and bail out. Thousands of businesses already have. How many blogs have you seen that haven't been updated since 2012? Many content marketers are only vaguely aware of what it takes to succeed, and those that are aware are unshakeably committed to success. In other words, they're obsessed.
  • Conclusion

    Finally, you need to carry it on for the long haul.

    Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Results don't come in days. They're earned over months.

    I'm convinced that content marketing is the path to marketing success. But the road is a long one and a hard one.

    Do you have what it takes?