5 Secrets To Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy
78% of CMO’s see custom content as the future of marketing. Content has charmed its way into the lives of marketers everywhere and there’s no denying its importance. Though content has increasingly become integral to marketing, communicating its effectiveness continues to be a grey area that lacks clarity.
How can you create content that is entertaining, effective and capable of breaking through the clutter?
Write it down
Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Putting an additional spin on it, we’d say:
“What gets planned, gets measured and what gets measured, gets managed.”
A challenge faced by many marketers today is a belief in the importance of content but an inability to plan content effectively. As per CMI’s latest report, only 35% of B2B marketers and 27% of B2C marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
What’s the difference in documenting your strategy versus just having a rough sketch, you ask? It’s pretty much the same as when you start a weight loss plan with an ‘idea to lose weight’ versus charting down progress by pounds lost and weeks spent. The changes, even when they’re small, denote an incremental progress that motivate you to push on in the direction you once started.
When you fail to document your plan, incremental progress is much harder to measure and it’s easier to lose track of your gains (or losses). And make it that much easier, to give up.
The first step to being able to measure effectiveness of content is simply this- ensure that you have a documented content strategy.
Understand the linear customer decision journey
Customer purchase decisions have been associated with the funnel since decades. However, the internet has made the funnel redundant. Purchase decisions are a lot more linear and the factors that influence a consumer are strewn across different points in the customer decision journey. Just as purchase decisions are linear, the dissemination of information is linear too. Which means stages of purchase oscillate from ‘being an option’ to ‘loss of interest’ to ‘back in the running to be considered’ at various points depending on the information available to the consumer. Content- in its many forms, plays an important role across these points.
Research shows that even today, upto 90% of marketing budgets are spent on advertising retail promotions. This despite the fact that 84% of consumers consider word-of-mouth to be the most important fact while considering a purchase. This means if you’re not present in the right forums and are not being represented by a third-party either by way of testimonials or product reviews, then you’re more likely to lose out in the race while being considered for purchase by your audience.
Map different types of content to different metrics
The debate between choosing long research driven pieces to shorter bite-sized content pieces has been a long one. While it’s tough to categorically prove the superiority of one over the other, the best approach is to include a combination of long and short pieces of content in your content plan.
Different types of content work at different points in the customer decision journey. At the initial stages when you’re interested in capturing the interest of the audience, it’s better to invest in multiple pieces of content that are high on entertainment and information value. Accordingly, these content pieces need to be promoted on the right channels to ensure that they reach the audience effectively. Blog posts, videos, infographics etc. that are relevant to your industry and genre can capture the attention of your audience and help build awareness. Effectiveness of these content pieces depend on the extent of engagement they garner. By interacting with your content through shares, likes and comments, consumers help ascertain which content pieces are effective.
On the other hand, longer pieces of content such as whitepapers, case studies and e-books are targeted towards customers who are at a more mature stage of the decision process. Effectiveness of these pieces of content don’t follow the same guidelines as short-form content.
Even if they are promoted on social media, to judge their effectiveness by the number of shares or comments they received paints an incorrect picture. The success of these pieces depends on the number of times they are downloaded, time spent on the page etc. and similar metrics which help decide how they helped in the lead generation process.
One size ‘doesn’t’ fit all
It is imperative that the content you create answers a specific need that your audience has or solves a problem. That lies at the foundation of the content creation process as the purpose of content is to add value to the reader. However, often in the search to find newer, different ways to attract the audience, we fail to unearth the full potential of the content that already exists.
This doesn’t mean that the same content needs to be plastered across platforms. Instead, if content is customized to suit the platform or channel it is to be promoted on, the same content can cater to different needs or different audience sections. An ebook or whitepaper can be broken down to create multiple articles that can be posted as posts on your blog or better still, you can translate a theoretical concept visually to create a stunning infographic.
Promote your best pieces
Write it, post it, but DON’T forget about it.
We’re constantly on the lookout to spot insights that can help create pieces of content that are fresh and exciting.The fact that we have content calendars filled with new ideas to execute and subsequently promote, doesn’t help either. But while relevance and being current is very important to content creation, the people who consume content are at different stages of information gathering. If your content pieces have worked well in the past, they should continually be promoted even if they deal with topics that aren’t as current. Yes, you need to write about ‘how data is disrupting content marketing’ but if you’ve written a stellar piece on ‘what content marketing is’, it’s just as relevant. Never, never stop promoting it.
The image above is a clear illustration of this point. A quick search on the topic of ‘content marketing’ throws up almost 9000 pieces of content that are currently relevant. The topmost among them is the ‘Crap’ slideshow by Velocity Partners’ Doug Kessler. The post is over 2 years old. Need we say more?
To summarize, here are the five things that can help you in creating more worthwhile content:
- Always document your content strategy, no matter how small or big your content efforts are. It pays to jot it down and measure yourself against it at regular intervals
- Understand the different stages in the customer purchase decision journey and create custom content that targets each stage so you stay relevant in the mind of the customer
- Measure different types of content against different metrics to judge effectiveness
- Customize content to suit the channel that it is to be promoted on
- Ensure that your content efforts don’t stop at creation, go ahead and promote the hell out of it!
EpicEnterprise by Epictions monitors your owned and earned content to empower you with content intelligence that adequately represents you and your audience so you’re equipped with the kind of information that helps create more targeted content. Request a demo here or talk to us to find out how we can help your brand.