Marketers see that content marketing success demands sophisticated strategies that keep audience relevance and storytelling at the core..

Most brands understand the basics of content marketing – fresh, timely content draws website traffic and generates leads. By sharing headlines and facts on social networks, marketers build brand awareness, and they further educate prospects with complementary visuals and long-form collateral. But what really separates the winners and losers in the world of internet marketing? Audience targeting and storytelling are the factors that divide campaigns performing at par and those driving impressive results, according to a survey of B2B Technology Marketing Community members on LinkedIn.

Around 71 percent of respondents said audience relevance is the most important element in content marketing campaigns. Engaging and compelling storytelling ranked second, with 56 percent citing this factor as fundamental for success on the web.

These figures imply that marketers have finally heard Google’s messages loud and clear – content is king and top-notch quality is the only way to win. If they aren’t creating materials with their audiences’ in mind (and are instead trying to win-over search crawlers), marketers’ web content will fall to the bottom of SERPs.

Just 15 percent of respondents listed SEO-driven writing as a crucial factor in measuring web marketing performance, suggesting that brands recognize the advantage of narrative over keyword stuffing.

Just 15 percent of respondents listed SEO-driven writing as a crucial factor in measuring web marketing performance.

The shift away from basic SEO practices and movement toward sophisticated content marketing efforts is also supported by brands’ investments in new media formats. Video, for example, has been deemed one of the best vessels for delivering brand messages. It’s also an effective way to tell stories. Brafton previously reported that a brand’s ability to convey attention-grabbing information in a way that captivates readers is the secret to building huge audiences and generating leads.

As the landscape continues to develop, businesses will need to switch gears to guarantee that all of their content-creation efforts are generating information that’s relevant to prospects and easy to follow.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.