The Content Marketing Institute recently released its 2014 benchmarks, budgets and trends study, and it detailed some surprising findings about content marketing. Here are just a few stats from the survey:
55 percent of small business B2B marketers think their content marketing strategy has no impact
94 percent of respondents are practicing content marketing, BUT
52 percent of respondents don’t have a content marketing strategy in place
In their quest to keep up with the content marketing trend, it seems that roughly half of self-proclaimed content marketers are posting blogs and social updates whenever their hearts desire. That’s crazier than wearing Ugg boost with denim cutoffs.
Study Finds Significant Improvement in Content Confidence
The CMI study did find that overall confidence in content marketing efforts has gone up significantly from last year (34 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2014). This most likely is because more marketers are realizing how important it is to provide consumers with relevant, high quality content.
But you can’t do it randomly. If you want to see results from your content marketing efforts (and who doesn’t?), you’ve got to have a strategy in place.
Don’t freak out, it’s not as daunting as it seems. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating and maintaining a solid content marketing strategy.
5 Steps to a Stronger Strategy
1. The first part of the process is fully understanding your brand. This means knowing who your audience is, your company’s voice, what message(s) you want to share, etc. Seems simple, but even the smallest inconsistencies can have a negative impact. Involve your executive, sales and marketing teams in this process so everyone is on the same page.
2. Once you’ve got your branding down, it’s time to choose a dedicated employee or team to run the program. Try to choose strong writers, because producing poor content is akin to not producing content at all. You MUST give your consumers interesting, well-written content or they’re going to abandon your site without a second thought. If you create a team, make sure each person is clear on her responsibilities to avoid missing any bases.
3. Your content marketing team must be educated on the latest trends in content creation and social media. This includes best practices, content marketing software, and social media programs such as HootSuite and Manage Flitter. These will allow you to monitor your followers and schedule posts, so you don’t have to constantly be chained to your computer.
4. Once your team is confident in their content marketing skills, establish a schedule for your company blog and social media profiles. Having an editorial calendar is a must to ensure you’ll always have content for your blog. For social media, it’s a good idea to compile a list of websites that you can use to curate industry-related information. You should also make note of the best practices for posting on each social site, including what time your posts are likely to get the most attention.
5. Once you have a steady stream of content, you’ve got to track your results to measure your strategy’s success. Again, there are countless free tools that can help you do this. Some social media sites can even give you insights to how your followers respond to your content. It’s a good idea to make monthly reports so you can track your results throughout the year and determine your ROI.
Voila. With steps this simple, there’s no excuse not to have a content marketing strategy in place. If you haven’t already, start building your program today.