There are a lot of benefits to implementing a content marketing strategy. Focusing on quality, buyer-centric content drives the right traffic to your website, moves buyers down the funnel, generates new opportunities, and speeds up the sales cycle.
But when actually establishing your content marketing strategy, there are certain demons all marketers face. And today, noble content marketers, is the day you vanquish the pestering, festering monsters hindering your success.
Below are five of the most common monsters–and how to defeat them once and for all.
It often stalks those first entering the content marketing forest, preying on marketers lost in a barrage of articles, eBooks, webinars, and blog posts examining the “right way” to build a content marketing strategy. There are too many tactics, too many types of content, too many “must do” details to keep in mind. And so many companies are already doing it well…how can you ever get where they are?
Weapon of Choice: Research the paths to success, then choose the right one for your organization.
When battling the beast of intimidation, you need a plan. Do research on how others have successfully navigated the forest, and take note of the best practices that make sense for your team. And remember, there is more than one path to content marketing success. So before getting bogged down by the “right way” and the “wrong way,” revisit your organization’s larger marketing initiatives and company goals. Why is it important for your organization to develop a content strategy? What goals will it help you achieve? Once you understand how content marketing will complement and/or drive these initiatives, it will be easier to find the right path for your organization.
The Content Cyclops lives within your organization. Its one eye cannot see beyond the awesomeness of your products and services. It’s a simple beast, and cannot comprehend the wants and needs of your customers. It may produce a lot of content, but none of it attracts your target buyers because, frankly, they don’t care how amazing your newest feature is.
Weapon of choice: Educate and entertain your buyers by creating content they actually care about.
Ditch that narrow perspective of content and start focusing on topics relevant to your customers and prospects. Instead of creating content around a hot new feature or the benefits of your product or service, think about your buyers’ interests and the pain points they face on a daily basis. Then, think about your company’s areas of expertise. Focus your content on the intersection of your buyers’ interests and your strengths. Not only will you be seen as a thought leader (you are, after all, experts in your industry), but your buyers will appreciate content that helps them be more efficient, effective, and successful. They’ll trust your content, and in the process, get to know your company and products on their terms.
It churns out blog posts, eBooks, and whitepapers regularly, tricking organizations into thinking they’re producing the volume of content they need. But it’s all a trap, a ruse. The content is nothing more than half-hearted imitations of what everyone in your space is already creating, ideas stolen and regurgitated in unoriginal formats. People who find their way to an eBook or blog post leave as quickly as they arrive, disappointed and unengaged. The content doesn’t say anything new, and visitors recognize it for what it is: filler.
Weapon of choice: Look outside of the marketing department for content ideas…and take some risks!
Time spent creating redundant content is wasted time. If it doesn’t entertain, build trust with, or engage your target audience, it’s not fulfilling the goals of content marketing. If you’re stuck on how to proceed, look outside the marketing department. Ask the good folks in sales, support, and service for content ideas. After all, they’re in touch with your customers and target buyers on a daily basis. Interview internal subject matter experts, key influencers in the industry and thought leaders. Finally, get creative. Make your content digestible for your audience, but package it in a way that will make it stand out.
Sometimes, there are only a few of these floating around your editorial calendar. Other times, their numbers are staggering. These are the posts never written because something more pressing came up, the ideas planned during a meeting then forgotten, the content that fell through the cracks when someone lost track of its progress. These ghosts are past their deadlines–lively ideas now doomed reminders of what could have been. They haunt editorial calendars everywhere.
Weapon of Choice: Focus on big pieces of content that can be broken into many small pieces.
To keep these editorial ghosts at bay, focus your energy on big pieces of content. Every six weeks or so (plan according to your organizations goals), your team should produce one large piece such as an eBook, which can be broken into many derivative pieces including blog posts, videos, and social media promotions. Once you have that large piece of content, the smaller pieces are much easier to manage.
For example, say you publish an eBook. The topic of that eBook also becomes a webinar. You discuss different parts of that webinar with a call to action to download the recording in multiple blog posts or articles. Each separate section of the eBook also becomes a blog post or article. You also videotaped the experts you interviewed for that eBook. Each one of those videos turns into a blog post. Each of these articles, blog posts and webinars can be shared on social media multiple times. They also fuel marketing automation and nurture programs.
It waits and watches while marketers painstakingly build a content marketing strategy and sweat over content creation. Then, when the time comes to publish, it pounces. It renders perfectly written posts meaningless and terrorizes quarterly reports. It demolishes the only bridges connecting content initiatives to lead generation, and eats away all hope of proving ROI.
Weapon of Choice: Define and track the key metrics for your content marketing strategy.
Without proper measurement tools and analytics in place, you’ll never know which pieces of content and contributors are actually generating traffic, leads, and opportunities. If you don’t know what content is working, you won’t be able to improve. And this is when the Monster of Missing Metrics destroys your content marketing strategy. If you can’t show it’s working with accurate data, your program won’t get the resources it needs to thrive.
Define the most important metrics such as conversion rates, leads generated, pageviews, and links earned by topic, persona, and contributor. Take the time to track weekly, monthly, and quarterly progress via Google Analytics, your marketing automation reports, and analytics from content marketing software. Without proper tracking, you’ll never know how you’re doing and how to improve.
As you prepare to vanquish these monsters, it’s important to remember that building a self-sustaining content marketing strategy takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Identify the problems you face and come up with a plan of attack. If you’re not sure how, research how others have overcome their challenges and the methods they’ve used to succeed. On March 20, there’s a webinar on building a sustainable strategy during which content marketing pros are discussing their best practices and strategies (and if you don’t feel like doing math, 1pm UK time is 9am ET).
Did we miss any of the content marketing monsters you face? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll help you vanquish them, too.