In their recent Content Marketing in the UK 2015 report, the Content Marketing Institute examined the current state of B2B marketing content, and where it’s heading in 2015. For many, the results were encouraging with 85% of UK respondents saying they use content marketing.
However, the report also unearthed a rather worrying fact - 51% of organisations say they have a content strategy but it’s not documented.
This ultimately means that 1 in 2 B2B marketing teams is creating and circulating content on an infrequent or unplanned basis. Given that companies spend (on average) 26% of their marketing budget on content, it would be expected that their strategy would be more considered and concrete. So ‘what’s the big issue?’ we hear you ask. Well, only 28% of survey respondents said they were successful or very successful at measuring the ROI of their content marketing.
As the old saying goes… failing to plan is planning to fail.
Planning is an integral part of the content marketing strategy and a clear documented plan should be in place long before the team writes the first word of their next ebook or infographic. When asked, 51% of organisations said that producing engaging content was a challenge, and this is another hurdle which could be overcome with in-depth plans.
Firstly, any inbound marketing strategy starts with buyer personas. Know your prospects better than they know themselves. From this research you’ll be able to uncover their pain points, issues and concerns. And this will be the catalyst for your content plan.
With prospect pain points uncovered, you can now begin to decide on what type of subjects and themes would appeal to each of your decision-makers. With an understanding of the content they typically consume (such as ebooks or infographics), you can begin to formulate ideas for content and suitable formats. It’s also an appropriate time to consider the buyer journey and how many pieces will be needed to convert leads to customers.
Now that you have this information collected, it’s time to direct your attention to the calendar. Over the course of the next month, quarter or even year, what content will you be creating for your prospects? When will it be produced? What will be the theme of the content? How will it be distributed? All of this information needs to be added to the calendar in a clear and understandable way.
Once this content calendar has been created, it’s time to circulate it amongst the sales and marketing teams. With this comprehensive plan in place, marketers will know what content is being produced and for what purpose. The sales team will also be able to add these latest content updates to their sales conversations.
Having created and implemented this comprehensive content marketing strategy, it will also be easier to track the ROI of content marketing activity, as opposed to simply trusting that the technique is working. To find out more about measuring your B2B marketing ROI…