Everyone seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to content marketing. And for good reason – it can achieve great results.
But while marketers are scrambling to get their brands in the content game, many are realising that content isn’t a set and forget strategy. In fact it can be a difficult road as 71% of marketers think the content they’re producing is ineffective.
The trend towards content marketing has moved so fast that often content creation sits outside of marketers’ control. Duplication of content marketing resources within organisations and non-alignment of activity not only means inefficiency but confusion for customers and lost business opportunities.
So marketers need to ask themselves which content marketing efforts are working and how can those efforts be effectively optimised?
What’s the solution?
Firstly, do a content audit.
A content audit should look at existing content production and content marketing activity and assess programs, structures, resources, technology, databases and budgets to identify gaps and opportunities in delivering against business objectives.
An audit also needs to identify areas that are performing well that can be leveraged and built on to drive even greater results. This process will help to reveal gaps, duplication and inefficiencies as well as high performance areas that can be optimised.
Six key areas need to be considered including:
Does your content marketing align with the business’ mission, values, vision and goals? Also consider the landscape in which you are operating. Who are your competitors? How are you different from them?
Content marketing foundation
Analyse existing content production and activity. Is there alignment between departments, content channels and distribution? Have you taken into consideration the customer journey and how this is affected by content? Does your brand have a strong, clearly identifiable brand story that is told consistently across multiple channels?
Is your business leveraging its resources and touch points effectively? Consider both internal and external resources involved in existing content marketing efforts as well as the technology platforms and solutions being utilised.
How much are your content marketing efforts costing you? What’s the value to the business of return on content marketing? How effectively are budgets being deployed?
How is your content marketing being received by your target audience? What’s the impact of your engagement with customers and how is it being measured and optimised? Look at areas like activity, channels as well as measure engagement levels and customer spends.
How well do you use data to drive your content marketing? Consider assets like your CRM, database and social database and how data from these can be used to segment and provide insights for your content.
Secondly, create a content marketing strategy.
Producing persuasive content requires a new understanding of, and approach towards, communicating your company’s message.
Developing an effective strategy is critical otherwise efforts run the risk of being uncoordinated, unplanned, ad hoc and untargeted. Target audiences need to be clearly defined and understood so content pillars and themes can be built around these audience needs.
In contrast to other forms of advertising, effective content is ‘always on’ rather than being one-off campaigns.
A detailed strategy ensures you have a plan for your content marketing to ensure consistency over time. When you are clear on what you want to achieve, you’ll have a clear picture of the skills and creative resources required to drive quality executions.
Fergus Stoddart is a director at Edge.
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