By Jay Devine
Don’t panic, but right this very second, 87 percent of marketers at B2B, B2C and hybrid B2B-B2C companies say their organizations have designated content marketing teams. They spend 28 percent of their marketing budget on content marketing and 51 percent say they will increase that spending over the next year, according to content management software company, Curata.
At D+P, we have made the transition to content management for our clients — one of our goals for 2016.
Content marketing – the production of valuable, owned content for strategic distribution to specifically delineated audiences to achieve predetermined organizational goals – is surging at businesses worldwide, and for good reason: Upwards of two-thirds of consumers [70%] say they would rather learn about products and services through content than traditional advertising.
This is potentially good news for brands and organizations with smaller marketing and communications budgets, as producing content on your own or with your agency partner is typically more affordable than conventional print or broadcast ads, or native advertising.
But, while this may be a weight off of your pocketbook, a successful content marketing strategy presents many of its own challenges. For one, the research, writing, editing, and overall production which goes into content creation is time consuming and must speak with the right voice. Those organizations which have a smaller budget to start may have a similarly sized communications team without the bandwidth to produce content on a consistent basis.
And, the creation of the content itself is an obstacle. Studies have shown that credible content like whitepapers, case studies and research papers are the most impactful means of generating sales leads and increasing customer engagement. These are not easy to write – trust us – so it is no surprise that 41 percent of those marketers surveyed say the skill set most lacking from their content marketing team is content creation, and only 30 percent of B2B marketers felt their content marketing strategy is effective.
So, how can you keep up with the content marketing Joneses if you have a modest budget? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan:
- Establish clear goals: Content production takes a lot of energy, so it’s best to know why you’re doing it in the first place. The majority of marketers believe that sales lead generation and customer engagement are the top priorities in content marketing, but it could be to create more employee engagement, increase website traffic or boost your SEO rankings. Regardless of your objectives, ensure they are well defined and communicated with your entire team, so that all involved know what you are working toward.
- Define your audience: Stay-at-home dads probably aren’t consuming the same content as Sheryl Sandberg. Before you create content, you need to know for whom it is intended. This will help shape what you create.
- Produce compelling content: A rule of thumb is ‘if it educates, then it resonates,’ meaning research, case studies, white papers and blog posts are most effective when driving customer engagement and increasing shareability.
- Repurpose, reuse and recycle: Leverage your owned content across any and all platforms where your target audience is consuming their media. This way you get the most traction out of a single piece of content. For example, a white paper could be adapted into a series of blog posts, pitched as a business story to a local paper, published in a LinkedIn group, formed into a string of relevant Tweets, distributed as an e-blast, even channeled into an Instagram post if there are photogenic graphs or charts. The possibilities are nearly endless.
- Track and measure your success: You’ve done great work producing content but what does it mean? Tap into Google Analytics and successfully monitor the conversion rates of your pre-established goals, and track Key Performance Indicators like length of time on your website, bounce rate, new users and geographic location.
Of course, the simplest solution would be to find a partner for your content marketing strategy, including content creation and production, like us here at D+P. Seventy-two percent of businesses with content marketing teams say their immediate goal for 2017 is to produce more engaging content. Are you ready to join them? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.