Content marketing has the potential to be insanely powerful when utilised effectively. Yet research suggests only 37% of B2B marketers currently have a documented content marketing strategy. A further 38% have an undocumented content strategy while a whopping 25% have no current content strategy at all.
So, what does this mean for you? It means if you take the time to invest in a documented content marketing strategy, you’ll already be ahead of at least 63% of other marketers.
If you think you’re alone in not understanding how content strategy works, think again. 64% of marketers admitted that their greatest educational need was learning how to build a content strategy.
With that said, let’s explore how you can start building, implementing and measuring your own content marketing plan to give your business a head start over your competitors.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a component within your greater marketing strategy consisting of digital content you’ve created which demonstrates your expertise within an industry.
Effective content marketing seeks to establish your brand as a thought leader by providing valuable and accessible content in a timely manner. The result of this is demand generation.
While content marketing in itself is nothing new, many businesses are still not aware of the importance and effectiveness of a well-constructed content marketing plan in elevating your brand’s profile and lead generation efforts.
Creating and implementing an effective content marketing plan is imperative to your business’s survival. Without one, businesses may be restricted to outbound marketing methods only, which are expensive, time consuming and unsustainable. By creating a content marketing plan, businesses can automate their inbound marketing strategy while setting themselves apart from their competitors and establishing themselves as thought leaders within their industry.
The value of content marketing
The value of content marketing has been well documented by numerous sources. One such aspect includes the ‘set and forget’ potential. While it is imperative to always monitor the performance of your content strategy and optimise your content for maximum efficiency, a piece of content only ever has to be created once. It can then be used, reused and repurposed for as long as it remains relevant.
Financially speaking, content marketing – when done right – can yield impressive ROI. Research by CoSchedule suggests businesses who publish 16 or more blog posts per month enjoyed 350% more traffic than businesses who published between 0-4 posts in a month. Other impressive stats suggest content marketing: produces 300% more leads per dollar spent; costs 62% less than traditional marketing; and has the power to convert 600% more than traditional marketing methods.
Who Needs a Content Marketing Plan?
Any business which seeks to automate their lead generation processes needs an inbound marketing component to their growth marketing strategy such as content marketing.
With a little research and time, your content creation efforts can have exponential revenue potential. But it needs to be done right.
Not only does each piece of content need to be purposeful, but it needs to be professional. After all, it’s a reflection of you. Prospects will be quick to judge your entire business and expertise off the first piece of content they see.
Once you have established the purpose for your content marketing strategy and the metrics by which you’ll measure it’s success (more on this later), it’s time to make a plan. The deeper you dive with your research, the more effective your content will be and therefore the better it will convert prospects into customers when implemented into your marketing funnel.
Above all, make sure your content has a purpose. Content which is created without a purpose will be instantly disregarded by prospects and risks damaging your brand. An expert content strategist can help you avoid the pitfalls of self-sabotaging content.
Once you’ve planned out your content strategy, next comes the content creation phase. If you’re an expert in copywriting and graphic design, then this next step shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re not, then consider seeking help from a professional content creation agency to ensure your content is the best that it can be. Whichever option you choose, make sure your content is a professional representation of your brand.
Creating your content marketing plan
Brainstorming content ideas for your brand might not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. By asking a few simple questions you can quickly gain an understanding of what content types and forms may work best for your brand and help you connect with your audience.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself are:
Who is this content for?
What problem do they currently have?
How is your content solving that problem?
What makes your content unique?
Is the content format matched to the publication platform?
With this in mind, the next step is to ensure your planned content will be engaging. This step can be done with good old fashioned elbow grease, or with the assistance of some nifty tools.
When it comes to the tricky and potentially laborious task of researching content ideas, you don’t have to brave it alone. HubSpot have compiled a list of some handy tools to help you on your brainstorming journey and help ensure the content you conceive will have a place amid the ocean of other digital content vying for their share of your audiences’ attention.
Blog About is a content idea generator from IMPACT, revealing common headline formats with blank spaces for you to enter your topic.
HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator generates up to a year’s worth of content ideas once you enter a few keywords about your topic.
BuzzSumo helps you discover popular content ideas using market research tools and social media data to determine and predict the popularity of certain data forms and topics.
Blog Post Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule helps you optimise headline keywords and length for your content.
With tools like these, content idea generation becomes a breeze. Still stuck for ideas? Check out your competition’s content marketing efforts for inspiration!
Tracking Your Content Marketing Success
Without the ability to track and monitor the performance of your content marketing efforts, you’ll forever be guessing what works and what doesn’t. The success of any content marketing strategy is directly correlated to the quantity and quality of data tracking its performance. It’s important to be clear from the start what metrics and KPIs you’ll use to track the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. One of the single biggest benefits of tracking metrics, is being able to know exactly what your content marketing ROI is.
Essential KPIs to track include traffic, engagement and conversion. Metrics to monitor traffic KPIs may include quantity, source and ROI (paid or organic). Engagement KPIs may include time spent on page, session duration, bounce rate and returning users. Conversion KPIs to track may include email opt-ins, lead magnet downloads or average cart value (ACV).
There are numerous ways to track the effectiveness of content, but some of the more popular techniques include using tools such as Google Analytics or collecting data through UTM parameters (URL codes tacked onto the end of articles you open on Facebook, for example). Having dedicated landing pages will also help monitor traffic source and conversions.
What’s the point of it all?
By far the single most important thing to remember amid all your content marketing efforts, is the purpose: sales. Your content marketing plan must be relevant to your core product or service offering, enlightening your ideal prospects by showing how you can help them. It’s imperative that every piece of content you publish is purposeful, valuable and relevant.
The content you publish is likely to be the first touchpoint your prospect has with your brand. By offering your prospects opportunities to engage with your brand on multiple touchpoints, you’re showcasing your expertise, cultivating buyer intent, and hopefully tracking their progress within your marketing funnel as you lead them through the buyer’s journey, from stranger to advocate.
Throughout your journey of developing a content marketing plan, it’s important to remember that the key to higher prospect conversions, is conversations. In nurturing your relationship with prospects, you’ll need to offer value, meet them where they are, and reveal yourself to be trustworthy and transparent. It’s not about sales, it’s about relationships. If you continue to be a source of valuable, trustworthy information, you’ll foster strong, supportive relationships with your customers far beyond their first purchase.
A solid content marketing plan is an essential component of your broader marketing strategy from 2021 and beyond. Businesses with well-engineered content marketing plans can work to insulate their businesses from turbulent or adverse market conditions by improving the effectiveness of their inbound marketing efforts.
We can help you develop your content marketing plan and implement it within your digital transformation efforts. We work with you to design, construct and implement purpose-fit content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, paired with digital enablement, deep-data and artificial intelligence.
Fileroom is a strategic digital agency, dedicated to promoting your business success. We can help your business by assisting you through the content marketing journey no matter which stage you’re currently at. We can help prepare your business for the future by attracting engaged prospects and delighting your clients while you focus on what you do best. Start a conversation today at fileroom.