Content marketing is going to be a major challenge for marketers in 2015. As social networks continue to monetize, the organic reach a company will be able to achieve will shrink and eventually vanish. As a result, the content that companies share on social will need to be higher quality in order to justify the paid amplification as well as encourage earned amplification.
Furthermore, customers are wiser than ever on growth tactics like click-bait and demand high quality marketing content – or they’ll go to your competitors for it. After all, by the time a customer reaches out to a company, he or she is more than 57% of the way through the buying cycle. The new mandate is the consultative sale, and the level of thought leadership required in the market today to differentiate a company from its competitors can only come from an investment in content marketing.
Here’s my 5 tips for up-leveling your content strategy in 2015:
1) Content distribution on social for B2B
The landscape of distribution points for b2b marketers today is incredibly complex. Here are some of the most popular networks and channels for b2b marketers. The content for these third party platforms needs to be optimized for length, tone, and image size.
Want to dig deeper? Take a look at a recent infographic on the demographics of Facebook versus Twitter and Instagram.
What’s more, every marketer knows they need to be on social, but not everyone is utilizing the social networks of every person in their company. By enabling your sales and marketing teams to share your content on their social profiles, you’ll multiply your reach and help your salespeople and marketing team build their thought leadership in the process. Read more about social selling here.
2) Know your goals
A recent study found that content marketing teams with documented strategies are much more likely to be very or extremely effective in their efforts (36% versus 11% when undocumented).
The first step to documenting your strategy is to clearly define the goals of your content. Lead generation is typically the primary goal for many content marketers, but there are a lot of things to consider:
- Thought leadership and market education
- Lead nurturing
- Website traffic / seo
- Customer loyalty and retention
- Brand awareness
Make sure you know where your North Star is – so you can begin to measure whether you’re on track or need to reevaluate.
3) Get agile. Stay relevant
One of content marketing’s biggest challenges is keeping up with the demand for high-quality, relevant content. Marketers are constantly being asked to deliver campaigns faster, achieve higher goals, and reduce costs. In addition to the variety of technology available to us – there’s another innovation we can utilize from the tech world: agile marketing.
Of course every great content team has a 6 to 12 month plan on what they are going to build. However, the content you planned 6 months ago might not be relevant today, and you also need to leave room to take advantage of opportunity, whether it’s an event or change in the market, so that you can respond better to customer needs.
The best marketing teams work closely together, as well as with the key stakeholders in their campaigns (typically sales and customers). By checking in frequently and developing smaller plans for shorter time increments, execution and measurement becomes easier, as well as reprioritizing.
A recent study by CMG Partners found that teams that adopted agile principles saw huge benefits:
- 93% said agile helped them improve speed to market
- 93% said agile helped them switch gears more quickly and effectively
- 87% said agile made their teams more productive
- 80% said agile led to an enhanced prioritization of the things that matter
- 80% said agile helped them deliver a better, more relevant end-product
4) Use the right technology
Part of staying hyper-connected to your team is putting technology in place to help you stay organized. When content plans, budgets, and approvals within a single, shared and editable environment, your team will have continuous visibility into what projects are in play.
One of the customer expectations today is a consistent experience from a company – and that includes sales having context on the campaigns their accounts receive. Solutions that provide sales with insight into the marketing calendar are key. They also have the added benefit of sales being able to offer more context into campaigns and targeting.
Click here to discover how the right technology can enable your team.
5) Repurpose your content like Thanksgiving leftovers
Sirius Decisions found that corporations don’t use a whopping 60%-70% of their content. Combine that with the stat that only 32% of marketers say they are effectively executing enough content, and it’s clear that there’s a big disconnect in the way marketers are creating content. Given the investment that content takes (marketers spend nearly 1/3 of their budgets on content marketing) – this is a huge missed opportunity. A first step in making sure your content is highly leveraged is making sure your team is aware of it with a content management system.
Another way to make sure your content is well used is doing something Jason Miller blogged about called the Thanksgiving Analogy. Think repurposing thanksgiving dinner leftovers into sandwiches and soup post-holiday. Whenever your team creates a piece of content, think about the ways you can repurpose it: ebook chapters into blog posts and slide shares. Infographics into smaller, more consumable images for social. The possibilities are endless, and given an integrated strategy, every piece can contribute to generating more buzz across channels to help you achieve your goals for content.
Marketers, now more than ever, must be there with the customer every step of the way, with timely and valuable content to engage them and deliver more high-quality leads to sales. The bottom line is, in our hyperconnected, omni-channel world, every experience a prospect or customer has with a company matters.
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