Is it Time to Update Your Content Marketing Game?
We are starting to believe that content marketing as part of executing a growth strategy is reaching a point of saturation and diminishing returns.
Quantity over quality. Poor writing. Lack of strategic focus. Advertorial. One and done efforts with little to no promotion. Hiring cheap and getting cheap results.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Our criticism doesn’t mean that content marketing is dead or dying. These observations are more of a plea for marketers to kick it up a notch and bring their “A Game” to helping their firms get more visibility, leads, and new business.
Here are a few ways and insights for creating and sustaining an A Game and, in the process, creating a world class content marketing program.
Insights on Successful Content Marketing from the Content Marketing Institute:
You gotta love CMI and the work they’ve done to spotlight content marketing best practices!
One of their newest reports, B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends (North America) has a wealth of observations and insights for marketers... a kind of State of the Union of Content Marketing, if you will.
Here’s one set of data that we believe has significant insights for marketers – an overview of firm management and company perspectives on content marketing from the most successful marketers:
The common denominator here is that successful, world class marketing is built on the right level of buy in, the right level of commitment, the right level of investment, and the right level of processes.
Here’s an interesting assessment you can do on the back of a napkin:
Benchmark your firm against these 12 conditions. Creating a world class content marketing program needs to be built on a foundation of management support, and if you don’t have that, you simply won’t get the results you seek from your content marketing investment.
15 More Content Marketing Benchmarks from LeadG2
Based on our experience of reviewing, writing, editing, posting, and promoting thousands of pieces of content, we have a pretty good idea of what separates wheat from chaff.
Here’s our perspective on what makes for a good content marketing strategy and well executed content – regardless of type:
1. The content is relevant and timely.
2. The target personas for the content marketing program and each piece of content in the program are clearly identifiable.
3. The content marketing strategy is executed using a mix of different types of content.
4. You have content prepared for every stage of your buyer’s journey.
5. You have a written content strategy that defines the purpose and direction for each piece of content you publish.
6. You do spell and grammar checking before publishing.
7. Images you use are legal, relevant, and alt tagged.
8. Your writing and perspectives are original.
9. You are measuring the impact of your strategy in terms of views, likes, shares, and more for every piece of published content.
10. Your content is published with some type of conversion action embedded.
11. You look for opportunities to aggregate content into new content.
12. You are moving your content strategy away from old school SEO-based keywords towards building content pillars and content pillar strategies.
13. You promote your content via multiple channels.
14. A key part of your content strategy is to showcase your firm's thought leaders.
15. Your content can tell a story that resonates with your prospects and ultimately motivates action leading to a business development opportunity.
Content Marketing Strategies for the Cutting-Edge Marketer
Add the fact that search strategies (and executions) are changing once again to accommodate pillar strategies and topic clusters, the chance that prevalent strategies, processes, and deliverables of today’s content marketing efforts will lose their effectiveness is very high.
With the CMI study showing that only one out of every five marketers believe their content marketing program is “very successful,” it’s obvious that there’s room for improvement.
I’m a big fan of moving content marketing in the direction of building content pillar strategies. There are many sound reasons why your business should be moving in this direction, and I strongly recommend that you begin your due diligence with all due speed.
This move is a heavy lift and I’m quite certain that a lot of companies will become enamored with the concept, but tripped up by the execution.