February 17, 2015

Five Habits of Highly-Successful Content Marketers

If research has shown us anything it’s that content marketing has officially taken off as perhaps the most effective and profitable marketing tactics of today. Just consider the fact that 95 percent of CMOs said content marketing was important to their business last year, according to a study conducted by Mass Relevance and The CMO Club. Furthermore, 86 percent of B2B marketers say they are using content marketing, according to 2015 research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

While content marketing has become more important to businesses, it’s shadowed by the fact that there’s a massive content marketing talent deficit. More marketers say they are challenged finding trained content marketing professionals this year (32 percent) than last year (10 percent), according to the aforementioned CMI report.

Many marketers struggle with embodying the traits, habits and behaviors of highly-successful content marketers, who can be identified by a distinct set of characteristics and best practices. If you’re unsure of your own content marketing stature, remember that individuals who are at the forefront of content marketing:

  1. Know who their target audience is: How well do you know your target audience? Sure, you may know their age, location, and revenue, but do you know their likes, dislikes, preferences and motivations? To get to know your target audience better, or to determine if you’re targeting the right audience in the first place, dig deeper into your marketing database to reveal key trends and characteristics, which can help you build spot-on buyer personas that will help guide your content.
  2. Define (and document) clear objectives: Without question, the most successful marketers document their content marketing strategies. We suggest creating a comprehensive written document, which has no chance of being misinterpreted. As CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi recently told our Director of Content Marketing Carrie Majewski in an interview, “I always say, ‘Just get out a cocktail napkin and start writing!’ Jot down the audience you are trying to target and the subject you have the authority to speak on.”
  3. Measure/track ROI successfully: According to CMI, 21 percent of B2B marketers feel they are successful at tracking ROI (a mere 5 percent believe they are “very successful”…eek). So, what enables them to successfully do so? One-third of those who are successful have a documented strategy in place, which further emphasizes the importance of documenting your content marketing journey.
  4. Optimize content fully: It’s not enough to simply create fresh, daily content. What matters more are how you are sharing and distributing that content. Consider what content vehicles you are currently using (the average content marketer uses 13) and which ones you can more strategically leverage; for example, maybe try content syndication.
  5. Align goals with content: This was the number one area of content marketing that B2B marketers say they want to learn more about, according to CMI. That’s probably because it’s one of, if not the hardest, tasks to complete. Nonetheless, it’s something that the most successful marketers can do. The key to aligning content with your chief organizational goals is to ensure you have standards and procedures in place. This will help hold your team accountable and enable you to see if you are indeed hitting or missing the mark.

If you’re unsure of how you’re performing or need help identifying what kind of content marketer you want (and need) to be, consider creating a 21-day challenge; they say a habit is either formed or dropped in 21 days, so why not hold you and your team to cultivating these vital content marketing habits during that timeframe? Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are continually pushing yourself and those around you to be the very best content marketers they can be. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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