As we head into a new year, follow these best practices to increase the reach and effectiveness of your content marketing. Read Here.
1. Ownership & Documentation
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2C/B2B studies, just 39% of B2C businesses and 42% of B2B businesses have a documented content strategy in place – yet 67% of B2C businesses claim to have someone in charge of overseeing content marketing; 73% for B2B companies.
So… Who’s getting fired?
If your strategy isn’t documented, it isn’t a strategy – it’s a magic pumpkin made of wishes and driven by whims.
Is it any wonder that just 34% of B2C companies consider their efforts “Effective” (a mere 7% “Very effective”)? Unsurprisingly – the number of B2B firms who classify their efforts as effective mirrors exactly the number with a documented strategy: 42%.
But you know what numbers are even scarier? The budget allocations for content marketing: 24% for B2C and 30% for B2B.
If you’re entrusting double-digit marketing spend to a process that isn’t documented, you’re gambling wildly with money you can’t afford to lose. On an organizational level it’s impossible to achieve optimal success without a strategy that has been documented in a way that can be picked up and articulated to anyone, anywhere in the org chart.
If you want to see better results in 2014, start by documenting every single facet of your content strategy:
Have a stated set of objectives, goals and benchmarks
Create pull sheets on personas
Leverage spreadsheets to document outreach efforts
Distribute style guides to direct tone and voice
Manage editorial calendars to guide publishing and bring everything else together
Then, give someone not only control, but responsibility. Someone in your organization needs veto power and the obligation of being held to the successes and failures of your efforts; the outcomes need to matter deeply and personally. Your “overseer” should be your documenter, otherwise, what are they getting paid for?
This is content marketing in grown-up pants, where you publish to achieve business goals. Own it.
2. Outsourcing & Quality Control
In 2013, 49% of B2C and 44% of B2B businesses outsourced elements of their content creation, primarily hiring writing talent (63%) and designers (41% B2C, 54% B2B). The problem isn’t that content is being outsourced; it’s WHERE that outsourcing is going. This is a problem that illuminates dangerous attitudes toward content.
If you are outsourcing your content to:
Cheap overseas writers
The lowest bidder (*cough* oDesk *cough*)
Paid guest blog networks
Article spinners (heaven forbid)
Aggregate design/writing services (e.g. 99 Designs)
Stop treating content like a commodity.
Its high time businesses realized that every article you publish and every resource you share with your name on it IS YOUR BRAND.
If content truly is king and if you really, truly believe content marketing is the future of your business, invest in it. Put your brand in the hands of capable creators, not cheap, anonymous ones. If budget is a factor, know that you can do more with less (and better) content.
And please, make quality a KPI. Have processes in place to review and revise content before hitting publish, and follow them with every single piece (heck, this could be the job of that overseer you’re paying so much to!). Read More.