Content marketing is all about strategy, yet most B2B marketers are doing it haphazardly and without a strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report, fewer B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with last year (32% vs. 35%). CMI defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In content marketing, strategy is about going back to the basics while at the same time looking ahead to the ultimate objective. The best content strategies are innovative, different, and evolving with a shifting audience.
Last year, 35% of B2B marketers had a documented content strategy, 48% had a verbal-only strategy, and 14% had no strategy. A documented content marketing strategy impacts effectiveness:
- 53% of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
- 40% of the least effective marketers have no strategy at all.
B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results from their content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content distribution (i.e., they rate them as more effective when compared with their peers who don’t have a documented strategy).
There are three key elements to determining your content strategy. Understand your identity, who you are as a company and what you offer. By thoroughly understanding who you are as a company you can situate your content in the best way. Know who you are reaching and clearly understand the end user. What are their interests, their habits, and their behaviors that touch upon using your product or service? Know what it is you are trying to accomplish. In most cases you want to see your audience’s behavior change. Remember, content is not merely for consumption; it is for action. Your content should have an intent – the goal of moving the user to action. This is where many content marketing efforts fall flat, they fail to engage with the user’s behavior. Not every piece of content you produce will be a call to action, but every piece produced should be connected to a call to action.
While content creation sounds like a pretty straightforward task – come up with the idea, create the content, review and approve, publish – content production is a process, a set of stages all geared toward creating content that performs. Great content isn’t stumbled upon; it’s carefully designed for a specific goal. There are lots of moving parts and the process is not typically one size fits all. Content production planning helps you to establish a fluid workflow around the creation and management of your project content.
Bad things happen when content is treated as an afterthought. Projects run late and budgets are compromised. Poor quality content gets rushed through. Overall user experience suffers which means business objectives fail. Establish goals for each piece of content. If you set goals before the research and writing start, the rest of the process will be much faster. Clearly articulated goals help you know what questions to ask and what to write. They also give your approvers and subject experts a framework for evaluating the content.
The rise of mobile is the biggest catalyst of change in marketing today, and 86% of US marketers say mobile channels are extremely or very important to their marketing strategy. Yet, despite the fact that industry averages for mobile traffic and revenue keep climbing, many companies have been slow to adopt comprehensive mobile strategies-and thus slow to create the sites and applications their mobile customers need. landing.adobe.com
- 79% of Internet traffic will be video content by 2018. Viewers are 86% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video, and posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. marketingprofs.com
52% of companies never test their landing pages and 45% of landing pages don’t clearly reiterate the call-to-action from their emails. simplycast.com
China, home to the world’s second-largest rural population, is expected to add close to 300 million urbanites by 2030, when Shanghai and Beijing will likely account for two of the world’s top 5 mega-cities. nytimes.com
SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate, according to Eric Siu for Search Engine Journal.smartbugmedia.com