Stand on the shoulders of giants - learn from these content marketing mistakes and avoid making them in your own content campaigns.
The final pieces of New Year's confetti have been swept up from under the couch, and January is in full swing. It's time to get back to the top of your marketing game, and this month is the perfect opportunity to make impactful strategic updates to your content game plan.
To help, we've collected the top lessons content marketers learned over the last 12 months. By learning from other's mistakes, you can improve your content marketing campaigns in the New Year and avoid making these mistakes yourself.
So what were the most prominent lessons learned by content marketers in 2015?
1. Define Effective Content Marketing
In 2016, a whopping 55 percent of B2B marketers had no definition of what effective content marketing campaigns looked like in their organizations. You might think your content is hitting critical KPIs, but if these KPIs fail to align with your overall business goals you aren't going to get buy-in from executives. You may also have a fundamental disagreement on what successful content marketing campaigns should be accomplishing.
Avoid this problem in 2016 by defining exactly what effective content looks like for you. You may rate your effectiveness based on growing social followings, increasing website traffic, generating a specific number of leads, meeting KPIs and other objectives aligned with your business goals. Once you define these objectives, you also need the right technology in place to track success metrics.
2. Document Strategy
Content strategy documentation is a consistent issue when it comes to maximizing content marketing campaigns, as only 32 percent of B2B marketers document what they're doing. A documented content marketing strategy makes it easier to reach your goals by providing a consistent blueprint for everyone involved in the campaign.
Instead of repeatedly answering the same questions about your target audience, content distribution channels or engagement cycle, you have it all down in one place. This documentation doesn't need to cover every single facet of your content marketing strategy, but you should cover the basic framework to begin with. Over time, you can fill in the details and expand the documentation as resources and time allow.
3. Earn More Budget by Focusing on More Metrics
The average content marketing campaign received 28 percent of the marketing budget, but top-performing content marketers allocated close to half of their marketing budgets to their content marketing efforts. A lack of documentation and clear performance metrics can hurt you when you try to receive buy-in from the C-suite for ongoing content marketing campaigns, even if content marketing is more cost effective for your business.
Attract more interest and gain executive buy-in by focusing on content goals that go beyond website traffic. While this is a common metric to gauge the effectiveness of content marketing, it's not the type of number that helps open wallets. In addition to website traffic, focus on the bottom-line benefits for the company, such as sales lead quality or converted sales.
4. Create Engaging Content Over Prolific Content
Some companies look at content and focus on how many pieces they can publish on every channel at their disposal, but even companies with huge budgets can stretch themselves too thin with this approach. Instead, focus on creating engaging content that matters. Even if you only publish 15 blogs per month, you'll see around 1,200 new leads from these efforts alone. By refocusing your resources on crafting the most engaging content pieces possible, you maximize the value for prospective leads, improve your position as an industry thought leader and increase the odds that your content will be shared heavily.
5. Find Skilled Help
The content marketing industry has experienced strong growth, but it's hard for companies to find qualified talent to handle their content marketing campaigns. When you struggle due to a capacity gap in your internal teams, it's hard to reach your goals without putting stress on your existing resources.
One way to compliment your in-house resources is to explore outsourced services that can handle specific aspects of your content marketing campaign. For example, you can handle your content strategy and distribution in-house but use a freelance writing service like Scripted to help you scale your content production efforts.
6. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Are you manually uploading blog posts, sitting on Facebook until it's time to post a new video or sending email newsletters out one by one? You probably handle many content marketing processes that can be streamlined to make better use of your time. Choosing the right content marketing applications for your needs can be difficult, especially if you aren't entirely sure what's on the market.
Instead of getting lost in a sea of content marketing software vendors, identify three key areas where you spend the most time. Look for solutions that streamline or automate many parts of these duties, such as sending out a drip email campaign automatically or scheduling your social media posts in advance. When you automate even just one or two of these, you free up more time for content production, documenting your content strategy or developing new campaigns.
2016 is your year to shine in content marketing. Take these lessons from the past and use them to create a top-performing future for your content marketing campaigns.
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