So, there are two critical factors when it comes to content marketing success – at least according to the fifth annual content marketing study by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute. And what is this secret recipe, you ask? It’s pretty simple, really. One: document a content marketing strategy, and two: follow it very, very closely.
The study revealed that just over a third of content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, with 48% saying they do have one, but it’s not documented. Some 14% say they don’t have one, full stop.
It seems that a documented strategy certainly builds confidence; those who say they have one are eight times more likely to rate themselves as being “effective” content marketers, compared to those who have no strategy at all.
The main focus for B2B marketers at the moment, according to the figures, is to create engaging content. This has been a hurdle for many over the past few years and, according to Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, “this is a challenge that isn’t going away”. She claims that, with such a huge amount of content being produced nowadays, businesses need to create engaging and relevant content in order to stand out, “instead of just pushing their sales messages”.
Another interesting finding is that B2B marketers are still struggling with measurement. Only 21% see themselves as “successful” at tracking ROI. However, it seems that having a documented strategy can help with this: 35% of those with a strategy deemed themselves as “successful”.
Here at Proctor + Stevenson, we know how important having a documented strategy is, and how adhering to it is equally as important. We’ve recently starting writing a new campaign for 2015, and knowing where to start can be tricky. Try using techniques such as SOSTAC to help you evaluate what you’d like from your content and how you’ll achieve success. It really helps you visualise, step-by-step, what you want out of your strategy and how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. Answer the following questions:
- Situation - where are we now?
- Objectives - where do we want to be?
- Strategy - how do we get there?
- Tactics - how exactly do we get there?
- Action - what is our plan?
- Control - did we get there?
It’s also quite useful to add in a vague timeline of who is doing what and when, just so you can plan and assign tasks, creating a schedule. Another way to minimise surprises is to use SWOT and find out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your plan. What will go wrong? Where will you flourish? Will a competitor threaten your plans by having more experience and budget? Once you’ve tackled all these questions, you should have a clearer idea of creating a content marketing plan to really work for you.