Here’s Why CEOs Are Choosing Content Marketing in 2016

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.

Who’s In?

content marketing in 2016Content 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.

 
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Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.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
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10 Social Media Resolutions for 2014

“New year, new game plan” — a phrase I’ve been repeating a lot lately. It’s not surprising that businesses’ marketing plans for the coming year revolve around increasing their social media, visual, and content marketing efforts.

Has your business been ignoring the buzz? If so . . .

Open up your eyes and ears, my friends, because 2014 is the year of CONTENT and SOCIAL. { Tweet this! }

This “Top 10 List” of social media resolutions will help put your company on the road to social success.

1. Spend more time building your social family. In the New Year, businesses will start to view social media as a necessity instead of a luxury. Companies will begin to hire full-time social media managers and content specialists . . . and for good reason.

Contrary to popular belief, social media is NOT free. It takes time, effort, and understanding to be done effectively, and that has a cost. If your business doesn’t have a social media and content expert, it’s time to add a new member to your company’s family tree in 2014! {Click here to get a glimpse of a fun company who’s successfully harnessed the power of social to connect with its customers.}

2. Trim the fatty content. Whether it’s on your blog or Facebook account, less truly is more. You have only seconds to win over a reader — don’t scare them off with mile-long paragraphs. Stick to short sentences, lists, and graphics. Turn your bulky, dense information into slim, SHAREABLE content.

3. Cut back on the #Hashtags . . . #Seriously. When you’re constantly adding #hashtags, things get #hard to #read and your #followers #scan right by your #amazing #content and will eventually #UNFOLLOW #YOU.

I like to think of overusing hashtags as having a giant chocolate appetizer buffet at your important dinner party. You think everyone loves it, but if there’s too much too soon, you’ll: (a) make your guests sick, (b) ruin their appetite, and (c) make these cherished individuals not want to think, look at, or even dream of chocolate for a week. Now your chocolate buffet is suddenly not such a great gift.

Don’t let hashtags ruin your followers’ appetite and love for your content! If you must use hashtags, limit yourself to 1–2 per post.

4. Straight-talk less, Emoji more. Now, I’m not advising you to add dancing pandas to your email blasts or Monday-morning tweets, but it is time to start showing a little {positive} emotion on your social channels. A big trend for 2014 is companies becoming more “human” within their social presence. Don’t be afraid to share a funny photo from the office or a Vine of the company holiday party. Your audience will appreciate seeing your shared humanity.

5. Travel to new platforms. I don’t believe that all social platforms are appropriate for every type of business, but don’t be afraid to explore new pastures in 2014. Do your research, and find a platform that will fit into your social strategy and add some value to your social presence. {Need help? Check out “Which Social Media Platform Is Right for YOUR Business?“}

10 Social Media Resolutions for 20146. It’s time to give back and share . . . your blog content. Let’s take a step back. If you haven’t even started a blog yet, that’s OK. But the time to start one is NOW. {Learn how to start a company blog here.} Blogging has become one of the biggest phenomenons in content marketing. When creating your content, make sure it’s relevant, intriguing, and shareable. In 2014, don’t forget to share your blog content through ALL of your social channels. The more eyes on your content, the better — don’t waste a single opportunity!

7. Plan, plan, plan — and then plan some more. Social media has become so much more than tweeting silly phrases like, “Oreos are my only friend.” In 2014, make your social presence count. No more tweeting or Facebook posting on a whim or sharing content that has zero relevance. Create a SOCIAL STRATEGY, and plan to optimize your presence and social interaction this New Year. {Get tips for creating email and content marketing strategies in our FREE eBooks.}

8. Get out more. I don’t mean ditch your desk and rush to Happy Hour. But it is important to get out of the day-to-day office routine from time to time. This coming year, get your company involved in things outside of the office: charities, networking opportunities, local and client events {and take pictures of it all}. Share your photos and experiences. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from simply “getting out more.” Your blog and social content will practically write itself! {Click here to learn how content marketing done right is like a hosting a successful cocktail party!}

9. Accept who you are, and ROCK IT! Are you a B2B who isn’t on social networks because you think your content will be too “boring”? It’s time to leave those negative — and incorrect — assumptions behind in 2014. Whatever your business type, you can be engaging on social platforms if you use them correctly. Try incorporating more video, storytelling, and creative spins on your content. {Or get some other inspirational ideas here.} Being a B2B can make living in a content and social world more difficult; but it is 100% doable!

10. Reconnect with long-lost friends . . . and followers. One of the biggest trends for 2014 is the idea of RETENTION. Companies have realized the importance of nurturing their clients in order to continue business and retain more clientele. Use social media to connect with the clients you already have — share their content and interact with them. Let 2014 be the year of building and strengthening relationships with your clients; they are the ones who made another year of business possible, right?

Don’t drop the ball this New Year. Use these 10 social media resolutions to hit the ground running in 2014.

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Happy New Year, everyone!
heather