Unleash the Power of Content

Want to unleash the power of content marketing? Then you need a content marketing strategy.

As B2B marketers we all know the importance of generating good content – engaging, insightful, impactful, timely and relevant to our target audience.  With GDPR on the horizon and 92% of B2B buyers wanting content with more input from industry thought leaders (Demand Gen Report, 2016) having the right content is more critical than ever.

However, quality of content not quantity is the key.  Content for content’s sake is damaging - you run the risk of disengaging your audience who can then opt-out of receiving all communications.  You must create the right content for your audience and deliver it to them through the most effective channel, rather than inundate them with vast amounts of content.

Content has to be part of a planned, strategic approach and the only way to achieve this, is by devising a content marketing strategy.

The importance of a content marketing strategy
Only 32% of B2B marketers say that they have a documented content marketing strategy (Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 2015).  As with any marketing, if you don’t have a strategy in place it won’t work.  Content marketing is no exception. Although there is a temptation to push out more and more content as quickly as possible, you must have a sound strategy to ensure your efforts don’t go to waste; what content you do produce is considered and will resonate and engage with your audience; and ultimately you get your content seen. It is acknowledged that content marketing may not be faster or cheaper at moving customers down the funnel than other marketing techniques, but it will produce a better customer - one who is more loyal and more willing to share their story with others.  This is the power of content marketing when done properly. With 55% of B2B marketers unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like (CMI, 2015) there is a recommended five step framework to follow when creating your content marketing strategy:

1. Purpose and goals: why are you creating content and what value will it provide?
2. Audience: who are you creating the content for and how will they benefit?
3. Story: what specific, unique and valuable ideas will you build your content assets around?
4. Process: how will you structure and manage your operations to activate your plans?
5. Measurement: how will you gauge performance and continually optimise your efforts?

It has been found that the greatest potential for content marketing success comes from viewing content as a strategic business activity that just happens to be performed by marketers as opposed to a marketing tactic.  It is not intended, and nor should it, replace other forms of marketing, but it will make all other marketing activities work better.  As CMI Chief Content Adviser Robert Rose explains, “this is because content marketing adds value to a business by building a critical strategic asset – a subscribed audience.”

Ensuring your content is seen
With a sound content marketing strategy in place, the most appropriate channel has to be selected to ensure your valuable content is seen by your audience.  Yet in today’s fast moving digital world, as the plethora of channels increases, content lifespan decreases - a mere 18 minutes on Twitter, 5 hours on Facebook and just 24 hours on LinkedIn (Mamsys).

Blogs have the longest content lifespan of 2 years on average, which reinforces the need for thought leadership, inspiring articles that engage with your audience.  In fact, B2B companies that blogged more than 11 times a month had almost triple the traffic of those blogging 0-1 times a month (HubSpot, 2015).

Is a content marketing strategy just about content?
People are looking for your specialist knowledge and they want original content, but it must also be creative and have maximum impact.  An effective content marketing strategy must consider more than just the content itself.

Using the right format for your content is a key consideration.  43% of people want to see more video content from marketers (HubSpot, 2016) and coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80% (Xerox).

Adopting a multi-channel strategy allows you to signpost people to your content, increasing exposure and longevity.  All marketing is intended to allow you to interact with your customers and start that conversation, so ensure your content marketing strategy includes mechanisms for listening, responding and ultimately engaging with your target audience.

The power of content marketing is huge as it gives us marketers the power to build an audience of engaged individuals with specific behaviours. By creating a content marketing strategy that compels your audience to adopt these behaviours, you are able to achieve your marketing goals easier and open up new business opportunities and revenue streams.  Content, when viewed strategically, allows us to add a valuable dimension to all our marketing initiatives.

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