Outbound marketing methods are becoming less and less effective over time and inbound marketing methods are being used more and more frequently. That means companies are trading in their billboards and television ads for emails and social media (the kind of marketing you can pinpoint your return-on-investment).
But how can email and social media be effective forms of marketing? The answer is content marketing.
Content marketing isn’t always easy and it’s an ongoing process. In order to constantly produce valuable and relevant information, you need to have a planning and creation process in place. It’s easy to fall victim to poorly executed content marketing, especially without the proper plan.
Don't fall victim to these common content marketing mistakes:
1: Failing to assign marketing and sales goals for your content.
If you don’t take the initial steps to identify and target specific marketing and sales goals then you’ll spend time creating assets that don’t engage or convert.
Three of the most popular content marketing goals include:
93% of the most effective B2B content marketers cite lead generation as a goal. For us, lead generation is our primary goal of content marketing. We want to be producing engaging blog posts, social media messages, emails, e-books and more that trigger visitors’ appetites for our knowledge. In doing this, we establish a relationship that is nurtured by additional targeted content to take visitors through the buying journey.
Ultimately by extending your expertise, it’ll make people stop, read, think and behave differently.
2: Creating content first and delivering later.
Once your goals are in place, the next step is thinking about how you want to deliver your content. What tactics do you want to use? At New Breed, we deliver content in a variety of ways from social media messages to blog posts to infographics to cheat sheets. We try to find inventive ways to translate our knowledge and expertise into digitally tangible offers our buyer personas can utilize.
The biggest mistake you could make is creating remarkable content first and THEN figuring out how your audiences are going to consume it. If you don’t know how you’re going to deliver all your hard work, then how do you even know what to create?
When you’re planning your content marketing strategy, you must remember to include different tactics to deliver your content. How you deliver your content is vital in producing the results you want.
B2B marketers, on average, use 13 tactics to reach their audiences. Social media is the most popular tactic with 87% of marketers utilizing the platforms. Articles, newsletters, blogs, case studies and video all follow with 73% - 81% of marketers leveraging them. But content marketing isn’t a tactic; it’s the battle plan.
Tip: Remember to get to know your buyer personas - it makes the delivery of your content that much easier and effective.
3: Not giving yourself enough time.
If you’re anything like me, when I get an idea for a new content offer, I run with it. I start sprinting, metaphorically, of course, through brainstorming, persona alignment and research. As I approach the creation component, I suddenly realize something.
I’m a horrible runner. I never get nearly as far running as I do walking.
The same goes for content marketing; I never get very far with my content creation if I try to rush through it. Unfortunately, too many people rush through content creation because they’re experiencing lack of time.
69% of B2B marketers cite that lack of time is a primary challenge. If you’re part of the majority of marketers who can’t find enough time to produce quality content, then you need to include a timeline in your planning process.
The easiest way to map out the time it’ll take for you to produce an engaging, converting content offer is to use a content calendar.
By using one you can:
Plan content around key events in your industry or important dates
See where you have gaps in your content plan
Make sure you have content ready in plenty of time to publish
Set deadlines for each step in the creation process
4: Having multiple people in charge.
86% of B2B content marketers have someone who oversees content strategy. Is there someone in your organization that is overseeing everything that is being created?
Let’s reference the term, ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen’. If you have too many people in charge or making decisions when it comes to your content marketing process, then your final product won’t be as refined and focused as it could be.
As I said before, it’s a battle plan not a tactic, and you’d never go to battle with multiple people in charge. To your right you’d hear ‘Fire!’ and to the left you’d hear ‘Retreat!’ and then you’d end up fighting your own men.
If you have numerous people taking charge of your content marketing strategy, creation and implementation, you’ll find yourself butting heads with your comrades rather than coming together. Next time your content team sits down to plan for the following quarter, nominate one person to take charge. It’ll make the whole process go a lot smoother, trust me.
5: Forgetting to segment your content.
Just because you have a great idea, doesn’t mean it’ll make great content. 95% of marketers segment their content in at least one way. SaaS marketing expert Jacob Baldwin suggests segmenting by markets served to determine the buyer's paint points. From this point, determining the content needed is much easier and more specific to the buyer.
The most popular segmentations are:
Industry trends (65%)
Profiles of individual decision makers (59%)
Company characteristics (55%)
Stage in the buying cycle (43%)
We like to create content that speaks to the individual’s stage in the buying cycle. We believe there’s no better way to drive the results you’re looking for then directly addressing what they need.
Despite how you prefer to segment your content, you need to do it regardless. A great way to incorporate this into your planning process is to add a segmentation element into your editorial calendar. That way your content not only speaks to your buyers but also has a clear intention behind it.
6: Not determining how you will measure success.
Lastly, while you’re planning your content strategy for the quarter, half or entire year, you must take into account how you’ll measure the success of your marketing efforts.
If you’re a user of HubSpot, then you’re in luck! There is an abundance of metrics that the software captures that can then be used for analysis of your content later on. You need to be able to calculate the return-on-investment of your marketing or you’ll continue to put time and money into ineffective strategies.
What do the most successful B2B marketers measure?
Sales lead quality
Social media sharing
I would also suggest reporting on:
Now, go forth and conquer the content marketing world with one strategic, timely, focused, well-executed piece of content at a time. Good luck!
[Sources: The State of B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends via MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute]
Tag(s): Demand Generation
Olivia Perek-Clark leads New Breed’s Learning and Development team. She is a seasoned Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing Strategist turned team trainer who has a passion for developing systems and content that help other New Breeders do their best work for our clients.
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