Is your content marketing proving effective for your business in 2016? According to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual survey, 88% of UK marketers said that they would produce more content in the next 12 months, and 66% said they would be spending more of their budget on content marketing.
It is good to hear that people are using content to extend reach and engage their audiences. Content marketing works for brands and businesses of all sizes, as we move from a push to a pull model. Where previously publishers entertained and advertisers pushed in to sell, now brands have to think more like publishers. If they create content which is useful, funny, or just has to be shared, then they will engage the audience and develop trust.
But with more and more content out there, are you sure that your content is cutting through? The answer is no. In the same survey, the effectiveness of content marketing has dropped from 42% to 34%.
Now that the end of the financial year has passed, it seems like the right time to audit your content marketing and get it back on track for the rest of 2016. I’m going to be running a webinar on 27 April to help you create better B2B content, but in the meantime here are a few questions to ask yourself and your team:
Why are you producing video content?
Get back to basics and ask yourself how your content marketing, whether a blog, infographic, ebook or video, is helping you to make progress on your business goals. How is this piece of content adding value?
You can’t make things happen in a business without a plan, so get working on your content strategy. The CMI has found repeatedly that having a documented content strategy that is shared with the team improves effectiveness. Integrate your content marketing plan with your SEO and social media strategy – you need content to engage your social audiences, and quality content is one of the best ways to push yourself up the search engine rankings.
If you’ve already created a strategy, this could be a good time to analyse it and see if you can make any updates depending on changes to the business or market.
What kind of content?
With more and more marketers turning to the benefits for content marketing, your brand output needs to be high quality to cut through. And not only that, it needs to reach people at the right time in the sales cycle and where they are consuming it in the omniscreening environment (e.g on their mobile at the bus stop to on their desktop at work).
We advise doing a content mapping exercise so that you are matching each piece of content to your audience segments and designing content to appeal to them at all stages of the sales funnel from raising awareness to decision-making to encouraging repeat business.
When we say “quality” content, it has to meet the objectives of your content marketing strategy and the needs of your audience. This can be everything from a high level brand film to a 15s Vine video showing the personality of your business. Be honest with yourself and ask whether every piece of content is really reinforcing your brand values.
A key benefit of content marketing is that you’re developing a community who trusts your brand. So remember to ask them via social media or e-marketing channels what kind of content they would like to see, and encourage user generated content where possible.
Analyse all your content weekly and monthly in order to monitor what’s working, and tweak or eliminate any content that’s not showing results. However, ROI in itself can be difficult to identify. UK marketing professionals who claimed that they were effective at content, said that their biggest challenge was measuring ROI. Set your targets in your content strategy document which will work to motivate your team, and impress the boardroom, and then you can track progress.
Where are you seeding the content?
You’ve got your shiny video created, which looks amazing on your website homepage. Job done. No, your content marketing has only just begun; you now need to seed your video, infographic or written content. Share via owned channels (social media, your blog, website, YouTube channel), earned media (via PR, blogger outreach, influencers) and paid for media (YouTube ads, paid for placements, google adwords, social media advertising) as well as ensuring that your content is optimised for SEO to drive organic traffic.
Want to create winning content?
I hope that you can make it to my webinar on Wednesday 27 April to help you create more effective B2B brand content. I don’t want to just give you the theory behind good content, but offer practical tips from my ten years plus experience. After the seminar, you can try out what you’ve learned on your own brand, including how to audit your current content and create a measurable ROI.