In the past, content marketing has been a hard sell to busy executives. It's hard to sell a theory, and harder still to explain benefits measured in “engaged audience.” Not so long ago, many CEOs were more invested in sales numbers than in the long-game of building trust and authority online—and that’s proven to be a mistake for many.
Content Marketing Institute's 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report revealed some interesting information. Of the 88% of businesses using content marketing, only 30% feel they’re using it effectively. Given that, it's not surprising that only 32% said they had a documented content strategy. Should that be discouraging? Not at all. CMI's Joe Pulizzi pointed out that, “companies that report being clear on what success or effectiveness looks like also show a higher effectiveness rate (55 percent).”
So, while most businesses have opted in to content marketing in 2016, most of them don't really have a plan, and therefore, aren't satisfied with returns. However, those with a content marketing strategy had a very clear picture of their successes.
The Takeaway: CEOs and other C-suites who went “all in” ARE seeing the long-term results we expect from content marketing. To understand the value of content marketing and take it seriously (read: dedicate sufficient resources to make it work), your content marketing plan should be documented and focused, and it should outline exactly what success looks like.
Content Alone Is Not Enough
Successful marketers understand one thing better than their competitors: It's not just the content. Great content is useless without distribution and promotion. When we say “all in,” we mean a budget that includes stellar content, plus social media investment to give it legs.
If you think making noise in 2015 was tough, brace yourself. It's going to be even harder to get attention in 2016. But: It's also going to be more rewarding if you do it right.
You start with great content. No matter what your industry, this will include product and industry knowledge, an intimate knowledge of what your customers are looking for, reviews and testimonials, and engagement on all levels.
Neil Patel recently revealed he's invested $30K in high-quality, in-depth guides, which he gives away for free. He then promoted them via free channels. To date, Patel's ROI is 10x what he's invested. Wow.
He is the definition of “all in.” He's also a CEO at the very top of the game, one of the most trusted names in the business. He did not get there by accident. He invested, remained consistent, published the most informative content in the digital marketing industry, and understood the long game.
Can You Get There?
Certainly. Believe it or not, few industries have strong leading voices. Even today, businesses are flooding the web with low-quality content and terrible social media fails. They’re not earning enough real traffic. In other words: they’re wasting their marketing money.
To make content marketing work for your business, go “all in.” Here’s how…
- Budget for extraordinary content, social media, and promotion.
- Understand what your audience wants and where they hang out online.
- Invest in SEO.
- Build relationships with influencers to help spread the word.
- Create your own unique content, using data and customer surveys. (Ask the right questions—you want other people to reference your data.)
- Include case studies in your content.
- Test and measure your results.
And above all, start with a plan. Every year, marketing studies say the same thing: Companies that start with a content marketing strategy see much higher returns. Once you start seeing more traffic, double-down. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Then, keep expanding your reach and answering audience questions. You’ll see your content marketing pay off.
Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.
You’ll learn how to:
- Increase Your Referral Rate
- Increase Your Social Media Reach
- Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
- Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
- Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource