October 27, 2015

Don't Lag Behind! Follow These Four Best Practices of Every Master Content Marketer

Whoa, marketers! Are you mistakenly pulling away from content marketing or allowing this important component of your marketing strategy to stall? This is what the “2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, North America” from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is reporting for the B2B community, and we’re dismayed for your sakes by the numbers the agency released early this October. We’ll get to those numbers in a minute, but, first, we want to strongly reaffirm that content is the primary driver in attracting and retaining customers, and that you neglect it to your own detriment.

In fact, CMI revealed that B2B marketers, as in past years, plan to continue to focus heavily on crafting engaging content; 72 percent of respondents citing it as the top priority for their internal content creators over the next year. So, the knowledge is there but, unfortunately, 55 percent of the 1,521 respondents reported that they are unclear or unsure about what marketing success or effectiveness looks like. And if you don’t know the target, you’re not likely to hit the bull’s eye.

So, which numbers are down or stagnant? Let’s take a look:

  • Down from 38 percent last year, only 30 percent of this year’s respondents say their organizations are effective at content marketing.
  • Fewer B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with last year (32 percent vs. 35 percent).
  • Same as last year, 28 percent of B2B marketers’ total marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing.

If more marketers do their jobs optimally this coming year, these numbers should rebound. So, what does it mean to optimize within the content marketing sphere? CMI shared key themes in this regard gleaned from its survey, as follows:

  1. A best-in-class B2B marketer is clear on what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like. Those respondents rating their organizations highest in this regard included those with documented plans, clarity around success, good communication and experience.
  2. Effective content marketers document their content marketing strategy. Research consistently shows that marketers who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing. CMI reports that 53 percent of the most effective marketers (defined as those respondents who rated their organizations as a 4 or 5—on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “Very Effective” and 1 being “Not at All Effective”) have a documented content marketing strategy, whereas 40 percent of the least effective marketers have no strategy at all.
  3. Highly rated marketing organizations have a documented editorial mission statement. First of all, 56 percent of those organizations with a documented content marketing strategy also have a documented editorial mission statement. In addition, 48 percent of the most effective marketers have a documented editorial mission statement.
  4. Top marketers meet daily or weekly with their teams to discuss the progress of their content marketing programs. Sixty-one percent of the most-effective marketers meet this often; overall, 44 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed meet at this frequency.     

Fully 88 percent of B2B respondents use content marketing, which is partly described as “creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content—ultimately driving profitable customer action.” This content is delivered in the form of email messages, company case studies, blogs, white papers and more. E-newsletters are the most popular content that B2B marketers ask their audiences to subscribe to (72 percent).

Now that you know how the most effective marketers stand out, hitch your wagon to their stars and start reeling in more leads. Brands not staffed to create their own quality content should consider relying on the services of third-party strategy vendors, such as Content Boost, so important is content as a marketing asset. 

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