Nearly all businesses today are doing some form of content marketing – 91% according to the most recent industry study. Despite that, many marketers are still not seeing the results they want from their efforts. They write blogs, but no one reads them. They send out emails, but no one opens them. No one will like their Facebook page or follow them on LinkedIn.
Maybe that sounds familiar. But with 79% of marketers saying they’re seeing success from content marketing, what are you missing? Why is your content marketing failing?
The answer: strategy. Specifically, a documented content marketing strategy.
Strategy Supports Success
Sometimes, content marketing can seem like a hungry beast – one that constantly needs to be fed. When you’re struggling to keep up a weekly blog, or regular social posts, it’s hard to stop and think about strategy. It’s no surprise that many small businesses (who often only have tiny or one-person marketing teams), end up doing random acts of content. They focus on feeding the beast, one blog-post morsel at a time, rather than figuring out a long-term strategy.
Studies have proven, year after year, that a documented content marketing strategy is critical to success. Only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy, yet 62% of the top performers have invested in one. What’s more, 72% of respondents said that strategy contributed to increased content marketing success over the last year.
Why Do You Need A Documented Content Marketing Strategy?
First, note the word documented. You need to write it down, otherwise it’s just nice ideas. The process of getting a strategy down on paper will help create alignment in your organization. Plus it’s harder to forget something in writing.
But why do you need a strategy to begin with? Here are a few reasons:
You Need to Be Remarkable
Whatever you want to say has already been said. Probably many times over.
Your job is to bring your unique story and perspective to the content. You need to answer the question: why should anyone care?
Rand Fishkin of Moz tackles the question by talking about 10x content: the idea that in a world overloaded by content, producing “good” content isn’t enough anymore. You need to create something that’s 10 times better than everyone else.
As Fishkin points out, however, you don’t just do this by accident. 10x content requires planning, research and time to succeed. It needs strategy. Otherwise you are just like one small fish in an enormous ocean.
You Need to Be Radically Relevant to Your Customers
We don’t just produce a ton of content. We also consume a ton of content. Remember those 82 million blog posts per month? Wordpress also reports that people view more than 21.3 billion pages per month. So it’s not that your customers aren’t consuming content. They just might not be consuming your content.
The problem is relevance.
Too many businesses mistakenly assume that if they just create content, their potential customers will immediately see it, love it, and hand over their money. Unfortunately for all of us, it doesn’t work like that. Unless you give your customers a compelling reason to pay attention to your content, they’ll ignore you in favor of a more timely answer, a more in-depth resource, or a funny cat video.
You need to earn the attention of your customers by being hyper-relevant. That’s where your content marketing strategy comes into play. You need to research your target audience so you’re deeply in tune with what they need and how you can answer their questions. By learning where they hang out and how they consume content, you can also plan the appropriate content tactics to reach them in the right place at the right time.
Your Content is Tied to Your Other Marketing Efforts
Having a solid content marketing strategy isn’t just about doing content right. It’s about doing all of your marketing right. Content is the substance of message – the stuff your business’s story is made of. You can’t do marketing without content.
Furthermore, content is becoming more and more intertwined with SEO. In fact, it’s now one of Google’s top ranking factors. Google looks for well-written, highly relevant, long-form content when ranking your website. Waxing eloquent about your products and services isn’t enough anymore (because no one wants to read it). You need content that engages and informs your audience. Not only will it rank better, but it will also attract valuable backlinks to your website.
Social media is also driven by content. You use social media to connect and engage with your customers, but content gives you the substance to share and start the conversation. Again, you can’t have a conversation when you only talk about yourself, so you need relevant, non-promotional content.
In both cases, success comes back to having a solid, documented content marketing strategy. Optimized content for SEO and consistent engagement on social media doesn’t happen by accident.
You Need to Know Whether It’s Working
Documenting a content strategy means that you are establishing clear goals for your content, as well as a way to measure them. Without a strategy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of random acts of content that you can’t relate to your business objectives.
Only 35% of businesses measure the ROI of their content marketing, but those that do have metrics in place typically have positive results to share. 77% reported increased audience engagement, and 72% said they get more leads.
A documented content strategy gives you a roadmap for success so you can identify what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Start Building Your Strategy
If you don’t have documented content marketing strategy, it’s never too late to start! We've got multiple resources to help you on your way. First, check out the recording of our recent seminar: How to Transform Your Business with Content Marketing, download our e-book below, or contact us learn more about our expert content marketing services.