The numbers show that the amount invested in content marketing strategy is projected to rise to over 300 billion dollars by 2019. Once again proving that content marketing is here to stay.
To help make sure you are on the right track, we put together four traits that every successful content marketing strategy has. With these, you’ll better understand how to engage your target audience, how to measure success, and how to communicate this approach with your team.
1. You become a target market expert.
In a survey completed by the Content Marketing Institute, research stated that only 9% of B2B marketers believe their organization's use of content marketing is "very effective."
If you are one of those marketers looking to take your content marketing to the next level, it is important to make sure you have done the following for your own content marketing strategy:
- Outline a business case
- Establish target audience and objectives (what are you helping your target audience achieve)
- Develop a content strategy (voice, types of content, site, and channels)
- Define goals and set up proper tracking
Putting something like this together at first may not come easy. But, the time and money saved long term is well worth it. More importantly, having the ability to understand your target audience, their needs, and pain points is vital.
2.You now look at data differently.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, states it perfectly when talking about the importance of data: "Data really powers everything that we do." Yes, it is important to know demographics and develop personas. But, what about those bottom line hard numbers? Metrics like:
- How many people are searching for your product or service online?
- Of those people, how many are you actively engaging with?
- When engaging with them, how many convert to leads?
- Finally, of those leads, how many become customers?
If you are struggling to answer any of these questions for your business, this is a big problem. When your goal is to impact your target audience through relevant content, you must start with understanding what they are searching for. Fortunately, with awesome tools like Google AdWords, Brightedge, etc., you're able to analyze high volume keywords that align well with your business.
It's important to also note how these numbers affect goals and tracking within a website. Understanding search volume for keywords allows you to set realistic goals when it comes to engagement and traffic. Over time, if you stay persistent with tracking these numbers, you will set your business up to see consistent results month after month.
3. You start to realize that conversions are not the end all be all.
Let's be honest. In the perfect world, a business would be able to provide value, promote their product or service, and complete a sale all within one touch point. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons (hint: the internet), these types of sales are becoming harder and harder to come by. Nearly 60 percent of the customer journey being completed before wanting to speak with sales. This means the content you provide before your customer is even looking to buy is more important than ever. Staying top of mind takes mapping out your buyer's journey. This will allow you to then select channels to promote your content and start to track each channels' success.
After having a better understanding of which types of content you need, you must also track its impact. Not all content is created to produce sales or qualified leads. This is especially to keep in mind when establishing tracking metrics.
Take, for example, a company blog or industry-broad YouTube video. This should be measured on engagement and conversation, rather than sales or lead generation. Reason being, these are created to provide industry knowledge, not necessarily to generate sales or leads. On the other hand, client testimonials should be heavily measured on qualified leads or conversions. To give you a more in-depth understanding of how this can work for you, learn more about creating a predictable lead generation model.
4. You now understand the importance of sales and marketing alignment.
I never quite understood how sales and marketing, who align around the same goals, could struggle to work together. Whether it deciding what content to create or what a qualified lead is, there is one thing for certain. If you want to maximize growth through content marketing, it’s going to take a team effort from sales and marketing. Having this conversation can, at first, be a little uncomfortable. To show proof why sales and marketing alignment is important, look no further than a study called "Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Primer on Successful Collaboration" by the Aberdeen Group. It found that marketing and sales teams who are organized and aligned see an average of 32% year-over-year growth, compared to less aligned groups who see a 7% decrease. This further proves the impact aligning these two parties can have on your content marketing success.
So how do you go about fixing this for your business? For starters, Content Marketing World wrote an article underlining a few key guidelines companies should consider addressing a lack of sales and marketing alignment. They are:
- Set clear overarching goals
- Have transparency in regards to expectations one side has for the other
- Create content that aligns with those goals
- Make sure to follow-up on qualified leads in a timely matter (cough...sales)
After looking at these goals, it's easy to see how putting together a solid content marketing strategy and communicating in the process can improve alignment between sales and marketing.
The reward is in the process
It is important to reiterate that this process takes time and constant collaboration. But if you are a business that wants to be a thought leader, it's crucial that you make content marketing a priority. Happy writing!