The marketing industry has a content problem. The more marketers embrace content creation, the more they struggle with it: 86% say they use content marketing today, but only 38% say they’re effective. That’s four percentage points down from last year—not a trend we like to see.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are easy-to-implement practices that will help you create highly engaging content that propels buyers toward purchase. Below, we break down the top seven.
1. Focus on the “Why,” Not the “How”
When marketers focus all their energy on churning out content rather than establishing why they’re creating content in the first place, they alienate the very people they’re trying to reach. Every asset you publish—from tweets to Vine videos to whitepapers—should serve a key business initiative, customer need, or theme.
Identify the reasons your content matters before you worry about creating or publishing it.
2. Prioritize Value Rather than Volume
Companies who reap the big benefits of content marketing prioritize the value of their content over the volume of assets they pump out. They take the time to understand customer needs and questions at every stage of the buying cycle, and then create content to address them head-on.
Prioritize the value of your content over the volume of assets you produce.
3. Put the Customer First
Highly engaging content puts the customer front and center. That means you must understand your customers really well. Track their content consumption patterns, their browsing behavior, their biggest concerns and unique perspectives. Create buyer personas based on these factors, and ensure that each and every piece of content serves at least one of these personas.
Create buyer personas, and make sure every piece of content serves at least one.
4. Build a Content Strategy, Not a Channel Strategy
Scrambling to invent a new strategy for every marketing channel will put your content on a fast track to the trash bin. Instead, create one strategy that outlines what content you’re going to create, why you’re making it, and how you’ll get there. A content pillar approach is the best way to feed all of your channels, while remaining true to the overarching content theme. The channels you publish on will always change—some gain popularity while others lose it. Having a solid content strategy in place allows you to publish a steady stream of content without missing a beat.
Build a content strategy, not a channel strategy.
5. Align Your Team
Too many marketers organize their teams around channels. Break down silos and promote collaboration by organizing your team around content instead. Encourage collaboration by including your writers, editors, social media managers, SEO experts, and analytics gurus in every stage of the content lifecycle—from planning to promotion.
Align your team around content and encourage collaboration.
6. Get Visibility into Content Production
Understanding what content you’re publishing, when, and where it lives is essential for keeping your campaigns on track. Without visibility into your content process, you risk duplicating efforts, missing deadlines, and botching your launch schedule. Host all key deliverable dates, including submit, edit, and publish deadlines, on a collaborative editorial calendar.
Without visibility into your content process, you risk duplicating efforts and missing deadlines.
7. Develop Workflows
Step-by-step workflows are key to keeping marketing teams on track. If approval processes and next steps are hiding in inboxes, deadlines are likely to be missed. The best kind of workflows are the automated, real-time, and collaborative kind, hosted on a platform like content marketing software.
Step-by-step workflows are key to keeping marketing teams on track.
These secrets aren’t rocket science. But implementing them requires a shift in orientation from the product to the customer, from the channel to the content.