When you consider that Content Marketing Institute research states that 86 percent and 77 percent of B2B and B2C marketers, respectively, use content marketing, but only 38 percent and 37 percent view themselves as effective, it seems we have a ways to go with this marketing approach.
But this shouldn’t come as news to us consumers. Think of how much terrible content you come across on a daily basis. Consider the number of blogs filled with marketing fluff, website copy riddled with typos and grammatical errors, and white papers flooded with outdated market research.
CMI founder Joe Pulizzi said it best when he and I spoke last October. He contended, “No matter if they are effective or ineffective at content marketing, both sides are spending a lot more on content marketing in the next year. So get ready for some really horrible content from those ineffective ones!”
Whether you are knee-deep in content marketing today, or ready to dive into the industry this coming year, do yourself a favor and don’t contribute to this sea of monstrous content. Instead, take the high road and put forth industry-leading (relevant and insightful) content.
So how do you get there? How do you begin to create the kind of content, and accompanying content strategy, that other brands covet? By employing these three strategies.
Experiment and Experiment Some More
Some of the best marketing campaigns come from on-the-fly attempts. Consider the viral success of Oreo’s 2013 Super Bowl power outage tweet. In real time, Oreo decided to capitalize on a frustrating consumer moment and tweet: “You can still dunk in the dark.” In just a few hours, the tweet was retweeted over 15,000 times, according to CNET. In addition to having a well-documented content strategy, brands ought to consider the power of strategic experimentation. So make this the month you launch a new podcast series. Commit to detail-rich Q&As in April with relevant subject matter experts. Finding comfort in an uncomfortable place will enable you to add original and exciting perspective to your content marketing. After all, you don’t read about ordinary brands in the headlines; so make this the month that you are extraordinary.
Complete Competitive Analysis
There were some massive content marketing wins in 2014 from Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign to Disney’s blogging overhaul to the Serial podcast series. (Do yourself a favor and Google (News - Alert) these campaigns right now if you don’t know what I am talking about.) In addition to following what mega-brands are doing in the content marketing sphere, you have to take a look at what your competitors closer to home (i.e., on your same playing field) are doing. This month, spend some time aggregating information on your competitors’ latest marketing efforts. Canvass their blogging platforms to see what they talk about; follow them on social media to see if the content they share resonates with your target audience; and jot down the marketing opportunities you discover for your brand. Keeping tabs on your competitors can be a barometer for assessing how your content is weathering the content front.
Re-evaluate Your Team
Good teams (think of your favorite NFL and NBA teams) re-examine their rosters routinely. It’s why benchwarmers come off the bench and high-profile trades happen midseason. So this month, take a look at your internal team lineup. Do your existing marketers, writers, and social media specialists have the right skill sets and aptitude to grow your content marketing efforts considerably this year? Or do you need to start to look toward a co-sourcing/outsourcing model? Teaming with a third-party vendor is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, 64 percent of B2B marketers outsource writing, 22 percent outsource editing, and 54 percent outsource design, according to the aforementioned CMI report. Moreover, 62 percent of companies outsource content marketing. There are a number of signs you may need external help. For instance, are your website metrics subpar? Have your social media platforms failed to garner traction? Do your blogs appear to fall on deaf ears? Gut checks can take place all year round, so center this month on introspection and self-assessment.
Your 2015 content road map may be filled with numerous tasks – a list that can feel all but insurmountable. So why not knock three things off it this month? By methodically tackling content marketing initiatives, your end goals will feel less impossible and more executable.
Edited by Maurice Nagle