As soon as December 1st arrives, I get reflective. I look back on the year and think about all of the great client projects we were grateful to be part of.  Words Of Make It Happen On Sticky Color Papers Hanging By A Rope

This year in particular we collaborated with our clients to work on some tough assignments. With more and more channels popping up online, stiff competition for attention and a more complex level of effort to develop good content, there is no shortage of challenges. We believe that if we are tackling these challenges, you may be too so, we wanted to share our top three for 2015.

The one thing that was a constant in 2015 is that there is no “same old, same old.”

Any marketer today has their work cut out for them. Today’s modern marketer has to be:

  • one part strategist
  • one part data expert
  • one part technologist
  • three parts writer

This talent cocktail is not always easy to come by and I am very proud of the team at Marketing CoPilot who rise to the challenge every day to deliver this blend of marketing expertise to our clients. This year we tackled some tough stuff.

3 Content Marketing challenges we tackled in 2015

#1 – Convincing management teams of the importance of Content Marketing for their business

In 2015, we did more than 20 speaking engagements reaching a combined audience of more than 2500 business owners and marketing professionals. And the recurring theme we heard from people everywhere we went was, “How do I get my organization to buy in to content marketing“?

Business owners are suffering a bit from a recent hangover in the marketing world where there seemed to be magic silver bullets that would lead to instant results. Things like Adwords had us all believing we could buy a pool of new customers just by buying clicks. Similarly, as more and more small businesses ramped up their social media accounts, we believed that followers and likes would lead to sales. It was disappointing in 2014 when these things proved not to be true. As we all came to terms with yet another change in the Google algorithm, one favouring valuable content that would be judged by how human beings, not machines, interacted with online content, some of these silver bullets died quickly in the eyes of business owners. When industry pundits started talking about this thing called Content Marketing, it seemed like a long haul before you would see results. Business owners struggled with facts like:

  • Content takes time, resources and careful planning to work.
  • Just throwing up a blog or a social media account does not guarantee success.
  • Data and testing are paramount to Content Marketing and many companies lack this resource.

And while it seemed daunting for many organizations we spoke with this year, the ones who embraced the concepts of content marketing discovered that…

  1. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
  2. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog.
  3. The average return on an email marketing investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent.

#2 – Using content to test your business strategy

This continues to be an education issue for the team at Marketing CoPilot. While we are starting to see more CEOs and entrepreneurs embracing the idea of continuous testing, there are still people who are convinced that content is a “once and done” effort. Sadly, your website and supporting content, like your value proposition, is a constant testing and evolutionary process that should be attended to every six to 12 months and invested in appropriately.

In our ongoing efforts to help attract the right leads to their company, we evolved their website, content and conversion strategy several times in 2015 to ensure we were driving the right types of people to their website. During one testing cycle we discovered that we could increase lead volume but the companies we were attracting were smaller companies than the software was meant for. After readdressing the value proposition and buyer persona, we arrived on a much stronger emotional trigger and conversion strategy that would attract larger companies that were better suited to the Promys software suite.

Using content to test your sales and business strategy is not for the faint of heart. It requires a leap of faith and accepting that volume may go down but quality will go up.

#3 – Sustaining a Content Marketing Program

Our client at Darcor Casters and Wheels worked hard in the early part of 2015 to discover their value proposition and bring it to life via their web presence. “Wheel technology that exceeds ergonomic mobility standards” was a value proposition we could prove in the marketplace and differentiate the company from their competition. The Guide to Workplace Ergonomics was downloaded 79 times in the first month it was launched and helped to improve the quality of lead generation for Darcor by 242% using customer focused content. Because Darcor followed the Marketing CoPilot methodology and invested the time to work through value proposition, buyer mapping and keyword strategy workshops, the value proposition and resulting content came naturally. The challenge is sustaining it. As people get busy and sales take priority, it’s not always easy to find time to keep up with the content schedule and produce fresh and interesting content. So to sustain a content marketing program and have it keep delivering results, we are following this formula:

  • Working closely with a business analyst and engineer at Darcor to continually brainstorm ideas to develop fresh blog posts
  • Looking at industry reports and research to understand who else is reporting ergonomic issues in the workplace
  • Using tools like Google Trends to understand what is happening with the keywords we identified as being our best drivers of the right traffic to the website

The bottom line…

Content marketing takes time to develop the right plan and test it. For many of our clients, it’s a 12 month investment of time, money and resources. But it is well worth the effort. If you are thinking of tackling content marketing in 2016, don’t forget to download our Content Marketing Workbook.