This is why you need a content marketing strategy

91% of top performing marketers go all in with content marketing according to research by the Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is hard. There is more internet clutter to cut through than ever before. Consumers are more mistrustful of direct from brand marketing than ever before. They have more choice and more power than ever before. So how your brand navigates those waters is more important than ever before. You can just opt to write a few blog posts each week. And post social media updates every few days. You can send out a PR every so often when something newsworthy raises its head. But instead of hoping for the best, wouldn’t it be so much easier to plan for the best with a robust, agile and useful content marketing strategy?

Any successful marketing or advertising project is the result of a solid strategy. Whether you’re producing one blog a week for your website or planning an entire content marketing campaign across several owned and earned media channels, you need a content strategy to make your efforts worthwhile.

Content forms the crux of SEO and it’s the foundation on which social media is built. It’s what drives traffic to your site, turns browsers into buyers and customers into loyal brand advocates. It’s how your business will connect with influencers, how it will improve organic search positions, build links and establish authority.

Without a content strategy, your efforts, no matter how big, small, regular or sporadic will be disjointed and meaningless. Surprisingly, research by the Content Marketing Institute found that only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Just 28% have a content marketing mission statement. The impact of this lack of clarity and lack of planning speaks for itself.

  1. 1

    No content plan

    55% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers don’t know what a successful content plan or project looks like

  2. 2

    Ineffective execution

    Only 6% of B2B marketers say their content marketing is very effective and helps them meet their business objectives

  3. 3

    Lack of planning

    44% of marketers meet once a month or less to discuss their content marketing plans

  4. 4

    No formal processes

    • 38% don’t have any formal content marketing processes and find measurement challenging

If you fall into any of these percentiles, if you don’t know what’s coming next with your content, what the impact of your content is, how to bring social, blogs and PR together or how it helps your business achieve its overall goals, you’re most definitely feeling the negative effects of not having a content strategy in place.

Content matters more than ever

According to the keynote speech at Content Marketing World and research carried out by the Content Marketing Institute, “One of the biggest differences we see between marketers who are top performers and those who aren’t is level of commitment: 91% of top performers are extremely or very committed to content marketing, compared to 63% of the overall sample and 35% of the bottom performers (those who characterised their overall content marketing approach as minimally or not at all successful).”

In fact, 70% of marketers plan to create more content this year than in previous years.

But with increased competition for user eyeballs and more content flooding the internet, how will your content stand out? A content marketing strategy will help you cut through the noise by offering a clear blueprint for content creation. By specifying objectives and identifying what successful content might look like as well as measuring exactly how a piece of content succeeds (or fails), the ability to create content that works as a business asset is simplified.

A content strategy will make content creation easier

If you’ve ever sat and looked at the cursor blinking on an empty Word doc and wondered what you can possibly write about for a blog post today, or how you can come up with enough social media posts to fill your channels for the next week, you’ve already felt the downside of not having a content strategy in place.

A documented content marketing strategy will specify why you’re creating content as a brand and what the objectives of that exercise are. When you know why you’re writing an article, the how and what suddenly become much easier. If i’m a fashion brand and i want to build my email marketing list for example, editorial style exclusives such as styled by, an interview with, or steal her look… posts may well encourage web visitors to subscribe. Likewise, if my aim with a piece of content is to increase sales, i might consider an ‘as seen on…’ style blog post or work with a popular blogger to get some of my garments featured. A content marketing strategy acts like a signpost, clarifying the direction the content should take in order to reach the desired destination.

Your audience has an attention span shorter than a goldfish

A Microsoft study found that today’s online audience has an attention span of just eight seconds. Your average goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds. So, you have a few blinks of the eye to register with your audience before they go off looking for something newer, shinier and more interesting.

A documented content strategy is the first step to creating higher quality, more meaningful and more valuable content. This means you have a much better chance of capturing the attention of a fickle audience and keeping them engaged.

How does a content marketing strategy make a difference?

  1. 1

    Focus

    A documented strategy sets out your goals and what you want to achieve as a result of your content marketing efforts.

  2. 2

    Objectives

    Whether you want to generate leads with downloadable content or usher comsumers further through your sales funnel to purchase, a document content marketing strategy will specify what your content should do for your brand.

  3. 3

    Formats

    Within your strategy document, there should also be a definition of the content formats you want to focus on, making the process of sitting down and writing much easier.

  4. 4

    Measurement

    A good content marketing strategy will let out processes and metrics for measuring success, ensuring ROI is accurately calculated and direction adjusted according to performance.

If you’re spending money on content or investing time in creating content, a content strategy is the most effective way to generate a return from that investment.

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