Take the 3 question quiz and find out

  1. Do you think your marketing team is doing a good job? 76% of CEOs say their marketing team is not doing a good job.*
  2. How effective do you think your content is? 53% of marketers say their content is moderately effective.*
  3. Can you efficiently measure the ROI of content marketing? 47% of marketers can’t measure the ROI of content marketing*

Houston, we have a problem.

I might be over simplifying it, but I think if we developed better content as marketers that actually got results, there would be a lot more happy CEOs.

Content is misunderstood and undervalued by most executives. They don’t understand the impact of a well-designed and executed content marketing strategy on their brand, lead generation and overall way in which a customer views their business.

They do however wonder why their websites are not generating any leads. They wonder why after three years a client leaves to go to a competitor. They wonder why they lost a deal.

The answer in all cases is content, content, content.

If you’re not getting any calls from potential customers when someone lands on your website it’s likely because it’s not compelling, does not address customer problems, is likely confusing and hard to navigate. In other words, you have a bad strategy and bad content that is not helping a potential customer through the buying process.

If a client leaves you after three years to go to a competitor it’s likely because you have done little to support continuous communications of the impact of your solution on their business goals like using a consistent blog strategy or customer email campaign to keep them engaged.

If you lost a deal to a competitor that was of equal or lesser value to your product or service, chances are the competitor did a better job at the start of the buying process in using content to help a prospect qualify themselves and self-serve using the competitor’s online presence.

Here’s why companies can’t stick their head in the sand any longer and avoid a content marketing startegy– buyer behavior changed. Customers and potential customers (leads) expect more. People are no longer willing to put up with badly organized websites and content that is product-centric and says nothing useful.

The 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends compiled and issued by Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and Brightcove, suggests that 91% of marketers are using some form of a content marketing strategy but only 25% are at a mature level leaving 65% of marketers feeling like they are taking their first steps or in the adolescent phase.

At Marketing CoPilot, we describe the content evolution as V1 through to V5.

  • V1 – Your website is basically a brochure put on the web with basic contact information.
  • V2 – Your website is a brochure plus some SEO work done by the web team with basic product keywords in order for your website to rank for something (although there is nothing to indicate those words are worth ranking for or driving useful traffic).
  • V3 – You have a website and have acknowledged it plays some sort of role in the lead generation and lead nurturing process but you can’t yet explain how and when prospects and customers use your site. But you have set up some conversion points to start to understand it (more than a “contact us” page)
  • V4 – You have acknowledged the importance of the online buyer journey and have dedicated resources and time to map it to your website and have a way to consistently push out content and measure it. You just don’t know yet if the conversions on your site are driving sales.
  • V5 – You have a documented content plan mapped to lead generation goals and a team in place to drive traffic, test and measure the effectiveness of your content in terms of lead generation and lead nurturing and you have a way to measure it against the sales pipeline.

But to use your content marketing strategy to achieve real and measurable business goals, you have to start with this premise:

  1. You need to set goals. Even if your goal is brand awareness you need to be clear on this goal and look at ways you can actively measure this that relates back to a business objectives.
  2. You need to make a commitment to a documented content marketing strategy. It is at least a 12 month exercise. It pays off big but you can’t write three blog posts a year and think you’ll get results. That means changing how you look at the strategy.
  3. You have to dedicate time, money and resources to sales and marketing alignment. Meaning? If you don’t have systems in place to understand what happens to leads when they hit your website and if they were good leads, then just driving traffic and pushing out content is a waste of time for everyone involved.

After you set goals and confirmed how you want your content marketing plan to work in your business, you still need to do the heavy lifting of developing good content.

For content to work, it has to be:

  • Useful: Customer centric business problems and content designed from the perspective of the customer is packed with utility
  • Inspirational: Dry, boring technical content is something few people will read. More importantly they won’t share it. For content to work, the reader has to be inspired.
  • Honest and empathic: A reader will be drawn to your content whether information on a web page or blog post if you are honest and can sympathize with a particular customers challenges.

Useful X enjoyable X inspired = Innovative Content

So here are three simple ways to determine if your content is any good…

  1. Is it useful? Add a download or checklist to your next blog post and see if you can achieve a 1% conversion rate. This is a pretty good benchmark to set and will let you know how helpful the content was for your target audience.
  2. Is it enjoyable? Look at the time on page for your web content and your last three blog posts. If you are achieving over three minutes of time on page. You have something.
  3. Is it inspiring? You’ll know this right away based on click thru rates, if anyone commented or if anyone shared your content via social media. You can set simple benchmarks on this but if not one person has commented or shared a blog post, you have an issue. Hit the reset button on your content.

Make 2018 the year you develop an active content marketing program for your business. Set your goals. Create a content mission statement. Develop your content and start testing.

If you want to read more about the 2018 Benchmark Report, get it here.