The B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends for North America report is available, and as we would expect from experts in the content marketing industry, it provides great insights on the state of B2B marketing. Whether you are a major corporation, or a small mom and pop, understanding the trends and how to effectively implement them in your organization will help take your marketing, and in particular you content, to the next level.
There is one takeaway that is near and dear to my heart, primarily because much like the survey results, I find that most do not document a content strategy. Whether you are large or small, serve businesses or customers, getting a solid content marketing strategy will boost results.
Let’s first take a look at why documentation matters!
It Guide’s Your Content Marketing Efforts
Of the 5,000 marketers surveyed, only 35% stated they have a documented content marketing strategy. Yet 42% stated that the content market strategy very closely guides marketing efforts. The majority, at 51%, stated it somewhat guides efforts. Think about that for a moment. How can something guide your efforts if it is not documented with goals aligned to the organization and ideal outcome?
Most Brand Goals are Tied to Content Marketing
Whether it’s brand awareness, lead generation, engagement or sales and lead nurturing, content marketing plays a significant role in a large number of the marketing goals for an organization. It will be difficult to determine if your content is working without having it written down.
There Is More Content Being Created
70% of the survey participants stated they are created more content. The ability to get above the noise and reach your target audience is not going to become any easier in the future, so understanding how the content you create impacts goals will be significantly important.
So what is a business to do? For those who are not flush with content and desire to make an impact, the prospect of generating even more content can be daunting. Luckily, there is a way to keep it all in check and make solid progress.
So, Go Document Your Content Strategy Already!
The good news is that your content strategy does not need to be a novel. It can be as simple as a 3-page document, or a small spreadsheet. The important thing is to get the information down and then track to the goals. Here are some steps to get you started:
- Target Audience – document your target audience, even in a graphical form, so you can quickly and easily see who the primary is and who the influencers are. For example, if you sell women’s comfort shoes, then your primary might be women over the age of 50, with a secondary audience of young women in retail or restaurant jobs. Influencers could be their family, friends and fashion bloggers. You need to understand this dynamic in order to write the most effective content.
- Goals and Metrics – what is the purpose of the content? Is there a call to action needed? Have you considered the journey the reader will take to meet that goal? All of these questions need to be answered so that you are not only providing great content, but an experience that is easy for the reader to follow-through. Don’t just put something on social media for the sake of it – put it there with intent. Understand that your goals should align with the business purpose, whether that is brand awareness or lead generation.
- Decide on Channels – where are you going to distribute your content? Make sure you are putting together the best content for the channel and distributing at the right time. This will take some testing, so be ready to make adjustments to timing and type of content.
- Track Your Progress – make sure you are reviewing analytics regularly, and then taking appropriate action. Remember that appropriate action can be a small thing, like changing a headline or running a Facebook ad.
- Create a Report – understanding how the content is performing month over month gives you a better picture. This can be a simple Excel spreadsheet, but remember to look at trends over time to get the full picture.
The truth is that you cannot get the most out of any marketing effort if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you are doing, how to best execute it, and how it is received.
Content is only as good as the people who engage with it, and consequently your brand. So, take a little time and document your content marketing strategy. It will pay off!