Content marketing best practices
15th, Jul 2016
According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America study of 3700 companies, 88% of organizations are using content marketing. And 76% expect to increase the amount of content they are producing over the prior year. With so much emphasis on content marketing, what can firms do to help make their initiatives as successful as possible?
1. Document your content marketing strategy. The CMI study emphasized that “B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results from their content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content distribution compared to those without a written strategy.” A documented strategy keeps you focused on what you want to achieve and helps you design a plan for how to get there.
2. Create buyer personas. One of the keys to successful content marketing is understanding your target audience or buyer. Develop a profile (buyer persona) of that ideal buyer, client, or referral source, including their key demographics and behaviors. The more you know about your buyer’s needs, the better you can tailor the substance of your message as well as how you promote it to them.
3. Choose a well-defined niche. We’re all suffering from information overload and there is so much content available that it’s overwhelming to look at it all. One of the ways to stand out is to promote a narrow expertise.
You may find yourself with fewer leads, but better quality ones because you better match what the prospect is looking for and there are fewer obvious competitors.
4. Develop an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps you create and manage your content workflow. Use it to plan out content topics or themes in advance, establish deadlines and assign responsibilities for each step in the process. Think about the format for your content, your message and audience, where and how will it be marketed and distributed and what resources are needed.
5. Reuse content. Coming up with new content on a regular basis is challenging so look for ways to repurpose your existing content. For example, create longer and shorter versions of everything you do as well as think of different formats such as writing, audio, video, and presentations. Content curation is another method of reusing content, but you are selecting and sharing useful information created by others. Ideally add some of your own thoughts and commentary when sharing other people’s content.
6. Track results using appropriate metrics. The end game for any marketing is to bring in revenue, but there are other goals to keep in mind, such as; lead generation, lead nurturing, brand awareness, customer retention, and engagement.
Determining the appropriate metrics depends on your specific goals. However, some of the more common ones include: website/blog traffic and engagement metrics (unique and repeat visitors, page views, time spent on site, etc.); social media interest (followers, connections, sharing, etc.); quality and quantity of leads generated; and other ones.
Once you have established your metrics, start testing your tactics and revise and hone your strategies accordingly.
7. Start small and scale up. You don’t have to do everything at once. Instead start with a pilot project that you can scale up over time. You can focus on 1 or 2 priorities or tactics. Or look at how your existing content marketing can be improved keeping in mind some of the best practices mentioned in this article. Consider what you are already doing as well as how adding resources could improve your results.
Once you start to see successes, you can build on them.
Content marketing is a great investment when done right. Hopefully these best practices will help make your initiatives more successful.
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