Content marketing is a valuable part of any business strategy and it comes in many forms. Though the term is overused, its implementation is underutilized. A study by digital marketing company IMN found that 78 percent of companies surveyed placed content marketing as a high or medium-to-high priority but only 52 percent reported a formal content marketing strategy in place for every channel of distribution. What’s more – only 50 percent in industries like financial services, software, banking and insurance said their companies had no content marketing calendar.
This signals disconnection between content marketing ideals and content marketing reality. With so many mediums for promotion and brand building, in order for content marketing tactics to stick they need to be specific. Not only is specificity needed, but so is planning. A well-formulated marketing tactic needs perfect, or nearly perfect, timing and flawless execution. With no official calendar in place, how can businesses market optimally?
Despite blogs and websites flooded with advice for content marketing and consultancy groups that can handle it on behalf of the clients, companies are still awash in buzz word philosophy that is not grounded in actual practice. Here is a look at a few specific ways to improve content marketing and make the most of its benefits for your business:
- Customize goals. What works in one capacity may not translate to another medium. Each individual audience must be assessed and the best possible use of metrics must be in place. For example, the content of an email newsletter should address specific company changes, products and promotions while Facebook updates should address industry issues as a whole. Websites, on the other hand, should have a classic, timeless approach that works for any visitor, any time of the year. This does not mean that your site cannot have any interchangeable information, but that the core goal of the site should reflect a company snapshot and not individual initiatives. Sit down with marketing teams to develop an overarching theme for content marketing and break that goal into smaller, customized campaigns. If you own a small business and do the content marketing on your own, follow the same advice and seek outside help from experts if needed.
- Prioritize delivery methods. Many factors affect the impact of content marketing in each medium. Industry, client base and even geographic location influence how your promotional information is received by potential and current clients. In most cases, it is not wise to divide marketing time and resources equally. The best way to know which areas deserve the most attention is through measurement tools. You also want to know what it is you are trying to measure. Direct sales? Brand building? Client interaction? Social media following growth? Based on your content marketing goals, put metrics in place to decide if they are being met and which forums are the most advantageous.
- Develop a calendar. As mentioned in the IMN study, half of respondents reported no official content marketing schedules in place. Goals with no tangible plans are like ships with a destination but no map for navigation. Marketing teams must develop a calendar well in advance when it comes to content campaigns. Just like anything in a business, these calendars will need adjustment based on real-life circumstances but put the basic steps in place. Write an editorial calendar that includes email newsletter releases and topics, goals for social media follower growth by month and frequency of email campaigns. Include any content marketing in which your particular business takes part. Make this calendar available to those outside the marketing team to give all employees a better idea of what to expect in the coming months and what image your business is trying to convey.
Content marketing deserves a prominent place in your business operations. Do not leave any opportunities for improvement on the table. Make the most of your content marketing campaigns through planning, customization and prioritization.