I don’t know about you but I am not a cold weather person. I’d much rather wear jean shorts and a tee year-round. Yet I can’t deny that this is indeed the most wonderful time of the year for a few reasons: the merry holiday celebrations, great shopping deals and, of course, the annual reveal of the Content Marketing Institute’s “Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America” report.
Once again, this year’s report is an invaluable tool for marketers looking to sharpen their content marketing strategies in 2016. The information contained within the report can steer you in the right direction, especially considering that only 30 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed said their organizations are effective at content marketing—a decrease from 38 percent last year. Clearly, today’s marketing professionals are short a couple key ingredients necessary to achieve a competitive level of content marketing effectiveness.
To this end, the main theme of CMI’s report this year is that successful content marketers do four things differently than their less-effective counterparts.
1.They understand what successful content marketing looks like. Only 44 percent of marketers say their organization “is clear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like,” while 55 percent are unsure. If you don’t know what to aim for, it’s unlikely you’ll hit the mark.
2.They document their content marketing strategy. This was a huge point in last year’s benchmarks report and clearly still remains integral for an effective content marketing strategy. According to the report, fewer marketers have a documented strategy this year compared with last, despite the fact that research shows those organizations that document their strategies experience the greatest success rates and results.
3.They document their editorial mission statement. This mission statement, designed to better reach the target audience, should serve as a road map or guide for the marketing department. It should support its efforts, represent team goals, and lead toward success. Right now, less than half of organizations have a documented mission statement.
4.They communicate frequently with their teams. Only 44 percent of B2B marketers meet daily or weekly to discuss the progress and overall effectiveness of their content marketing programs.
Of these four core pillars, the first is the most crucial in my opinion. It strikes me as odd that one-third of marketers say their organizations are truly effective at content marketing when the majority say they are unclear on what a successful content marketing strategy ultimately looks like.
The report also indicates approximately one-third of marketers’ content marketing maturity levels are in “early stages,” while one-third are in the “adolescent” stage. Clearly, it’s OK if you’re also unsure as to what content marketing is or what an effective strategy would look like. So long as you make a concerted effort to educate yourself, you’ll continue to remain one step ahead in the game.
If, in 2016, your goal is to achieve content marketing success, you must first understand what content marketing effectiveness looks like. Here are a few ways to get up to speed.
- Attend industry events. There a number of industry events that take place every month that are designed to educate and inspire those in the marketing world. For example, Content Boost hosts a quarterly Content Marketing Crash Course event for the greater tri-state and New England areas.
- Research, research, research. Whether it’s comprehensive, in-depth reports such as those CMI produces, a quick Q&A with a content marketing industry leader or a piece of information you found simply by conducting a Google (News - Alert) search, research is and always will be key to learning.
- Engage. Supplement your research efforts by truly engaging in the ever-evolving world of content marketing. Participate in one of CMI’s “Tuesday Twitter (News - Alert) Chats,” for example, or tune into a live viewing of a content marketing presentation via YouTube or a service like Periscope to learn from other professionals in the field.
Here’s to a healthy and happy new year full of content marketing success!
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere