All of us would probably agree that content marketing is important to the success of a company.
Content creates trust and trust is the filter through which all businesses must pass to be successful.
Content marketing is also important because marketing just doesn’t work the same anymore. Top-of-mind awareness is much more expensive and difficult to achieve than it once was. And, inbound marketing doesn’t create demand for your products; it simply fulfills it.
While agencies continue to create mounds of content for their customers as a component of integrated marketing plans – such as blogs, bylines, infographics, white papers, issue briefs -- Jay Baer of “Convince & Convert” notes that content marketing works if it is useful, inspirational and motivational – IF you have a documented content marketing strategy.
Most of our clients in the health and healthcare IT industry would probably say they do have a documented strategy, but the statistics say otherwise. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 83 percent of B2B marketers have a content strategy but only 35 percent have it documented.
But even with a documented strategy, the Content Marketing Institute’s Neil Patel asks the question, “If content marketing is such an important marketing method, has proven success and is used by nearly 90 percent of businesses, why do so many feel like their strategy is useless and ineffective?”
Patel goes on to state that in such cases, perhaps it wasn’t the strategies that failed but rather, the strategy wasn’t clear enough to guide the business to achieve its goals. Perhaps the idea of strategy should be viewed from the perspective of goals – SMART goals. And, perhaps “strategy” should really mean “goals.”
If you were to align the SMART goal framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) to the strategy issue and apply each SMART goal to a content marketing problem, it could revolutionize the way you approach marketing. So let’s take a look:
Content marketing alone is not one tactic but rather, multiple tactics such as infographics, videos, webinars, case studies, white papers and podcasts, to name a few.
Different types of content will have differing results, so you’ll need to choose which types of content to produce and promote. Most organizations will choose multiple types of content marketing tactics because different types of content affect the customer in different ways. Depending on where the customer is in the purchase cycle, certain forms of content can help move them further down the funnel.
So, diversify content types but be careful not to diversify to the point of dilution. Remember that often, a single and focused tactic can work better than a dozen tactics that are poorly executed. At the very least, pick one or two content tactics and focus on those.
One of the most frustrating issues among marketers is measuring the ROI of content marketing. There is no one way to measure ROI, so choose a method that works and stay with it.
Don’t get so caught up in the daily task of producing content that you lose sight of your outcome. The attainable goal isn’t just acquiring more clients but rather, it’s also in specific areas such as brand awareness and reinforcement; lead conversion and nurturing; customer conversion; customer loyalty and retention; and customer up-sell. Always keep in mind that a real strategy built on SMART goals has an attainable outcome.
Effective content marketing should always be tied to an organization’s overall business goals. In the content marketing funnel, “the skinny end should be the company’s business goal,” says Patel.
Lastly, as you crystalize your content marketing goals, make sure each goal has a point at which you know for sure whether or not you’ve reached it.
If your organization has felt uncertain about its content marketing strategy, you are in good company. By better understanding content’s digital applications, and developing and achieving SMART goals, know that you are headed in the right direction for success.