There is a misconception that good content is easy to create. And an even bigger misconception that good content does not need to start with a solid strategy. Many marketers believe that randomly guessing and assuming what will make good content week to week is the right way to get results.
Here are the facts
The 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends- North America survey by Content Marketing Institute represents the average B2B marketer today, and according to it, only 37% of organizations say they have documented their content marketing strategy. Forty one percent have a content marketing strategy but admit it is not documented.
It is also important to note that only 29% believe their content marketing strategy is very effective while the majority of respondents (54%) believe their strategy is only moderately effective.
What all if this tells us is that B2B marketers still have hesitation and uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy. This doubt in effectiveness can be directly correlated to their lack of documentation, rendering their content marketing strategy only moderately successful. For those who believe they have a very effective strategy, it is usually chalked up to having a solid process and strategy that does not assume a “fly by the seat of your pant” attitude.
When you document your Content Marketing Strategy, you eliminate the guesswork
The 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends analysis highlighted seven elements that should be included in your content marketing strategy to be considered effective. From these seven elements, we want to apply Marketing CoPilot best practices to the most important ones to help you document your strategy now
1. Operate Content Marketing as an ongoing business process
As we discussed in week 1 and 2 of our blog series, content marketing is not a fad, it is an important process in your organization. You have to start looking at content marketing as a separate process from your everyday marketing activities. We cannot say it enough; content marketing takes commitment and it takes resources. The first thing to cover as you start documenting your content marketing strategy is to clearly identify who in your business is responsible for this. You will be much more successful in your content marketing program after organizing your team and your team resources.
2. Start with a Keyword Strategy as the guiding beacon to your strategy
Without even realizing it, you may already have a semi valuable keyword strategy. Keywords are everywhere in your content, it’s the topic of your blog post, or the most searched phrase in relation to your company. If you have been creating content based solely around your products and services, you do not have a keyword strategy. Keywords are the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, so be sure to download our guide and familiarise yourself with a competent keyword strategy to guide the rest of your content marketing.
3. Have a deep understanding of Buyer Personas
If you do not know who your audience is why are you even writing content? You must have a deep understanding of who your audience is and who your best customers are. The fact is buyer behavior has changed. Your customers are no longer calling your office to get information about your company or products, instead they are self-educating. Buyer personas help you determine the behavior and journey your customer goes through before they buy from you. By documenting buyer personas and mapping their journey you can more strategically place better content in front of them to help them along and to suggest they buy from you as oppose to a competitor. It is important to document who your best customers are and continue updating that information periodically to continue a successful content marketing program.
4. Create a differentiated story to set you apart in a sea of choice
Why should a prospect buy from you? This question needs to be answered first and foremost before you run off and start creating content. Your organization must create a clear and articulated value proposition. A value proposition is not a mission statement or a tagline. A value proposition stems from your best customer. The mission of your content should serve that customer and deliver value to them. If you do not have a value proposition, your content will not be valuable to your customer and therefore your content marketing strategy will likely fail. If you are struggling to create a compelling value proposition, download our workbook or even drop us a line, we want you to be successful. You cannot move to the next step without having a rock-solid value proposition. This is such a crucial step in achieving a successful content marketing strategy.
5. Align other sales and marketing initiatives to your Content Marketing Strategy
No single email or blog post or social media alert is going to drive a prospect from completely not knowing you to buying your product or service. It’s like proposing on your first date: chances of conversion are extremely low. It will take a lot of content pushed out through many channels over a six to 12 month period before you will truly get to know people and have then start to trust you and what you are sharing. Therefore it’s important to have a good understanding of what the sales team considers a qualified lead and have metrics in place to track and measure this. May you have attended a trade show or event and created a customized landing page for visitors, being able to share this data and against the sales team lead analysis helps align sales and marketing for better and more realistic results.
Having a documented strategy is paramount to Content Marketing success. Consider downloading and getting started with our Essential Guide to Content Marketing Success. And if you are anxious to get started on the creation and distribution of content, next week we’ll discuss our most coveted content creation secrets because we know it is often the biggest obstacle.
The statistics of this article can be found in the 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends- North America report conducted by Content Marketing Institute and based on 1,102 respondents who recognize themselves as B2B marketers in North America.