Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
According to recent content marketing research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, approximately 90 percent of marketers use content marketing in some way, spend about 30 percent of their marketing budget on content, and six in 10 are anticipating increasing their content investments in 2013.
Sounds good, right? Well here’s the problem: only about three in 10 marketers believe that their content marketing is effective. It’s concerning that satisfaction with content marketing is at such low levels, while use of the practice is on the rise.
By looking at marketers’major challenges when it comes to content marketing, we see semblances of an answer. The biggest challenge cited by marketers of all sizes is creating more content, beating out both creating engaging content and budgetary issues. And this is what we are seeing with many brands€¦feeling overwhelmed with content creation€¦but without a clear strategy.
Here are six content marketing strategies to consider that I think will help to alleviate that issue:
1. Develop your content marketing mission statement
I’ve surveyed about 1,000 people over the past month, asking each if they have developed an editorial mission, or content marketing mission statement, for their content strategies. Easily less than 5 percent had something like this prepared.
This is a major problem. How can brands execute a content strategy if they don’t have a clear vision for why they are developing the content in the first place? Brands need to take a page from media companies, who never launch a content product (think a magazine) without developing an editorial mission first.
Every person that touches the content marketing program should know, by heart, what the mission of the content strategy is. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about solving the problems of your customers.
2. A new mindset: Become the leading informational provider for your niche
Brands aren’t taking their content seriously enough. Sure, we are creating content in dozens of channels for multiple marketing objectives. But is your organization’s mindset focused on being the leading provider of information for your customers? If not, why isn’t that your priority?
Look, your customers and prospects can get their information from anywhere to make buying decisions. Why shouldn’t that information come from you? Shouldn’t that at least be the goal? Time to get serious.
3. Utility is key
I absolutely love the Charmin Clean Bathroom app. If you are desperate to find a clean bathroom nearby, and this app provides the answers for you, what do you think the odds are that you would buy Charmin the next time you go to the store?
What if you used Kraft’s iFood app to help you make your next home-cooked meal?
You don’t have to be a big brand like these to create helpful content. Take a hard look at your content and see if what you are producing is actually useful for your customers. Is it making their lives better or jobs easier in some way?
4. Define and answer your customers’ questions
This is so easy to do, yet most brands don’t do it. Do you have a system in place to compile the questions your customers are asking and post your answers to those questions on the web? The content opportunities that spring up from customer service and sales alone can support your content marketing strategy.
5. Employee involvement in content marketing
Take a look at these two projects:
- Indium’s From One Engineer to Another blog
- OpenView Venture Partners OpenView Labs project
These are two examples of successful content initiatives that have helped to grow business, were developed from the ground up with a limited budget, and were driven almost entirely by employee content.
The key: get a good editor to help your employees look like rock stars. If you do, they will be more apt to share that content with their networks, which is exactly what you need.
Andrew Davis’ new book Brandscaping discusses how content partnerships can work. Essentially, a brandscape is a collection of brands that work together to produce great content. I’m starting to believe that this is critical to the evolution of content marketing, as more brands struggle to manage the content marketing process.
It’s true that many brands struggle with finding the funding for content marketing projects. Why not work with non-competitive partners to develop amazing and compelling content for a similar customer?
And, if you still need more ideas for your content marketing program, here are 42 to consider for the next year. Good luck!
Joe is founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which includes Chief Content Officer magazine and Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world, held September 9-12, 2013. Joe can be reached @juntajoe on Twitter.