The findings of the 2014 State of B2B Content Marketing study are out and now we know how highly effective content marketers get so far ahead of everybody else. It’s pretty simple. They have a formal content marketing strategy.
With strategy in hand, they’re producing much more high quality content, becoming more effective and feeling more confident about their programs than ever before.
In fact, while only 44% of B2B content marketers overall have a documented content strategy, 66% of the most effective companies do.
Why companies with a content marketing strategy are so much more effective.
I’m not a big plan person. I don’t support massive marketing plans that no one reads. Often I find that “planning” is a thin excuse for not taking action.
However, over the years I’ve found there is great value in the process of developing a quick plan. The most important thing is the thinking and communication that goes into creating the plan itself. In the case of content marketing, it’s well worth the effort.
Here are the reasons I believe content marketers with a strategy are so much more effective.
- Focus. A properly done content marketing strategy forces you to focus on your target markets one at a time. This focus is essential to delivering any kind of measurable contribution to sales. When you pick one market and give it all you’ve got before moving onto the next market you’re able to declare success much faster than those other B2B marketers who are running around trying to create a little something for everyone.
- Details. When you create a content marketing strategy, you stop to identify all the participants in the buying process. You take into account each person’s role in the process, what they are looking for, how they’re going to effect the ultimate decision and what messaging you need to put in front of them to have things go your way. You know exactly what content you need.
- Lack of distraction. Content marketers feel a lot of pressure to produce a lot of content. Sales, product management, corporate – product sheets, white papers, blog articles – everybody needs something from you. Strategy and a plan give you a clear indication of the content requests and ideas you should respond to. At the same time it lets you ignore all those others. At least temporarily.
- ROI. Every budget owner I know of is looking for ROI these days, and a content marketing strategy that includes measuring, review and on-going optimization of efforts will help you deliver the ROI – every time. Marketers with a content marketing strategy lead the class in delivering and proving ROI.
- Support. As I mentioned above, with a content strategy, focused on one market at a time, you’ll to show faster results. Quick wins provide proof of performance that gets your bosses and co-workers on your side. Properly played, that will easily lead to additional resources being put at your disposal.
All this suggests the time has come to stop dabbling in content marketing and start playing to win. Without a content marketing strategy, most tech content marketers find themselvescreating content under pressure and without enough thought to make the effort worthwhile. Don’t be that marketer.
Original content vs curated content
Another reason for developing a content strategy is to help you decide whether or not content curation fits into your program.
Content curation – where you find and share other people’s high quality content on a specific topic – is a tempting and potentially useful content tactic. But will it help you generate leads, develop channels and/or stake a thought leadership position?
On Wednesday October 23, 2013, I’ll be talking with content curation expert, Andrew Detweiler on that very topic. Listen in to find out if content curation belongs in your content marketing strategy. Click here to save your spot.
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