By Michael Gerard published March 6, 2014

Keep Your Content Marketing from Getting Lost in the Stampede

stampeding animalsMarketers are increasing their investment in content marketing this year and producing a higher volume of content for their audiences. In fact, 2014 research from MarketingProfs and CMI found that 73 percent of B2B content marketers were producing more content than they did a year ago.

But be careful. There are potential hazards in following the herd and jumping too quickly into an accelerated content marketing cadence. Boosting marketing spend and creating more content will not be productive without a well-planned content marketing strategy and road map targeted at the right customer segments and buyer personas. 

Where should you start then? First, ensure that you designate someone to be directly accountable for your content marketing strategy. Curata’s recent survey of marketers found that only 43 percent of companies have a content marketing strategy executive in place, which is critical for creating and executing an effective plan. In addition, few companies have an integrated content management process in place across the entire organization.

Surprisingly, when asked to rank their greatest content marketing challenges, most companies placed measuring the impact of content and promoting content at the very bottom of their lists. Measuring the impact of content allows marketers to create more of what works — and less of what doesn’t; not to mention it enables them to better demonstrate content’s impact on the organization’s success. Promoting content helps marketers get the most out of what they’ve already created, versus moving on to the next new piece of content.

Bottom line: Market your marketing. Clearly, measuring impact and promoting content should be a top priority, yet many marketers are coming up short in both of these areas. There is too much of a focus on content quantity and SEO when there ought to be more attention on quality content and providing valuable context for readers.

Instead of simply following the herd and creating more content without a plan in place, implement these strategies:

  • Build a solid team: Requiring a tiny marketing team to continually churn out ever-increasing volumes of content is an unrealistic expectation, and bad for morale. Before you ramp up your content creation, make sure you hire a team of excellent writers and strategists led by a content marketing executive. If hiring a team of full-time employees isn’t an option, look to freelancers and/or content marketing agencies to help fill in the gaps.
  • Improve your content process: Once you have a team in place, give team members the processes and technology to enable their success. Cobbling together an ad hoc system of Post-It notes, Word documents, and spreadsheets doesn’t cut it anymore. Your team needs a robust content management system (either one provided by a technology vendor or a customized tool that was developed in-house) and other tools to ensure optimum productivity. In addition to investing in technology, look for ways to streamline your content creation process, such as crowdsourcing ideas and content from across your own organization, or repurposing existing content.
  • Make time for promotion and measurement: Your strategic plan for promotion and measurement of your content needs to be baked into your process. They should never be an afterthought. Otherwise, you could be creating average content that gets lost in the “noise,” or great content that simply won’t reach interested readers. These practices will also help your marketing team save time and money.

Developing and executing a comprehensive content marketing strategy will increase the potential to create great content that gets read and supports your brand’s overall goals.

Read more about content marketing best practices by downloading Content Marketing Tactics Planner 2014, Curata’s third annual benchmark content marketing study.

Author: Michael Gerard

Michael is the CMO of Curata. He is responsible for Curata's marketing strategy and all related activities. Michael has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations. (e.g., IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore). Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University.

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  • http://www.spinsucks.com/ Clay Morgan

    I think, aside from not having clear goals, a huge problem is not having a person who is directly accountable for the content marketing plan. That’s why I loved your statement to put someone – preferably an experienced content marketing executive – in charge. You see it in any marketing discipline. If the manager leaves and you are just “kind of doing it” while you are conducting a job search, the marketing suffers. No different with content. Need that go to person.

    • http://workado.com/ Justin McGill @ Workado

      Agreed. I think the accountability needs to be there and should be built into the process.

    • Michael Gerard

      Well said Clay and Justin. Unfortunately, there are many people “responsible” for content marketing; however, too few organizations have someone “accountable” for this increasingly important area. (refer to RACI matrix http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_assignment_matrix )

  • http://hashimwarren.com/ Hashim Warren

    Michael, it seems that many clients are sold on the promise that “if you create it, they will come” with content marketing.

    Any advice on how to get a business owner to take promotion seriously, without making it seem like you want them to market their marketing?

    • Michael Gerard

      Thanks for the comment Hashim. If they’re taking content marketing seriously, then they certainly need to take promotion seriously. One tact may be to ensure they understand how “noisy” it is out there from a content perspective; and that regardless of how wonderful your content is, it’s no good if the audience can’t find it. Leverage some anecdotal evidence about the online content noise in your specific segment. It won’t hurt to reference the quote from Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, to get the point across: “Every 2 days we create as much information as we did up to 2003″. http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/04/schmidt-data/

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Just because you’ve made something great doesn’t mean people will find out about it on their own. Developing a plan to promote your content is not just a best practice – it’s necessary to be an effective content marketer.

  • mony1