Stop! It’s time for a strategy check: Why your content marketing program may be wasteful
Data suggests marketers are in a state of wasteful content creation where creating more content for content’s sake means winning. I am talking to clients more frequently about how we can set the bar higher and strengthen content plans. A recent report of 2016 content marketing finds that:
- 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy.
- A majority (60%) of B2B marketers report that their top challenge in 2016 will be producing engaging content.
- 76% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016.
How can it be that content marketing holds such high importance for marketers, and yet there is no documented plan in place to develop, distribute and measure it effectively? At Eastwick’s Digital Brand Lab, we see this as a major opportunity for brands. That is why this quarter we packaged and launched our Content Marketing Health Check, to help brands reevaluate their strategies.
We engage clients with a content audit that maps their content assets to a brand’s customer journey and audience personas. By doing this we are able to deliver a blue print framework, or roadmap steeped in insights to help clients maximize engagement and content impact.
Eastwick’s Content Health Check is customized to each brand’s marketing goals, but here are a few common health checks we look out for.
Draw a distinction between social and content
While social and content might seem like one in the same, the goals are actually very different. With content, it’s about consumption to drive leads, sales and advocacy. With social media it’s about participation with your brand.
There is such a thing as too much content, and it can hurt you
It’s a common misconception that the more content you produce; the greater traffic you’ll drive to your site. 100 blogs about a specific topic will not guarantee results. Your audience isn’t going to click based on how many blogs you have about a particular subject; they’re going to judge you on the value of your content. Engagement is earned by value not just driven by clicks. I call it Content Bait, not Click Bait.
Diversify your assets
This rule doesn’t only apply to your financial sensibilities! A good content marketing program will aim to package information in the way people are most likely to consume it. The same content can be leveraged across format types. This means taking advantage of formats such as: infographics, video, interview series, slide decks, how-to guides, Q&As, and webinars in addition to your faithful standby, the blog post.
Focus on your headline and length
There are many tips out there on how to write good headlines. One I’ve found most helpful is creating several iterations before choosing a final one. Writers often get to this last, but it’s the first thing people see. Strong headlines play a critical role in selling the value of your content.
As for length, the focus is not always so much about word count as it is depth and uniqueness. These two factors will allow you to answer more search queries and consequently earn more traffic. If you’re having trouble deciding on a particularly important headline or the appropriate length, we recommend a little A/B testing or look at your analytics.
Google’s standards matter
Not everyone knows Google has a standards for evaluating content quality and we rarely see clients checking their assets against these guidelines. It’s always a good idea to revisit these and ask yourself:
- Is this content trustworthy?
- Is it credible?
- Does it meet the highest quality standards?
Strategy must include design
Having strong visuals increases page views and time spent on the site, lowers bounce rates, and helps you establish credibility. Always brand your content consistently, and pay attention to the visual details– even if it requires a little bit of money.
Use paid, earned and owned strategies to promote content
A create it and people will come approach does not work. When thinking about promotion, remember your audience is baited with content hundreds of times a week — and we know marketers are only creating more! To get their attention, you should be leveraging content discovery tools like Promoted Tweets, Outbrain, and content hosting sites like Medium.
So as you can see there is a method to the madness! If you’re interested in knowing more about how to create a stronger content marketing plan or what unique insights we can offer your business, please reach out to me via email at Sahana@eastwick.com or tweet @hellosahana