Back by popular demand: Check out the newest version of our Content Marketing Playbook!
As the practice of content marketing continues to evolve and expand, so has the list of possible initiatives that a marketer can undertake as part of this discipline. This increased complexity can lead to confusion: How can you determine which initiatives are really worth your (precious and limited) time and budget?
To start, look for a way to prioritize. Of all the initiatives you may be considering for the upcoming year, we think four should be on top of your list – no matter what your particular business priorities may be:
- Understanding your audience
- Developing a content marketing strategy
- Creating a subscription model
- Understanding what’s most effective
For more insights around how to get started on these high-priority initiatives (including what CMI is doing to tackle them), read our recent article, 4 Content Marketing Initiatives You Need in 2015.
Getting back to the larger, more comprehensive (and somewhat overwhelming) list of possible initiatives your company can undertake, we have something that’ll be music to your ears. We’ve developed two guides that will help you build the perfect playlist of content marketing tactics for the year ahead. Compiled from survey responses to this year’s Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Research reports, these guides outline which initiatives your peers are working on now, and what they plan to focus their attention on in the next 12 months.
Since a few geographies and business types are covered in our annual research, we’ve broken down the results as follows:
- By priority
- By business type (B2B, B2C, and Nonprofit), and
- By geography (North America, Australia, United Kingdom)
In this first installment we cover the fundamentals of Internal Processes and Content Marketing Strategy Tactics. From picking the right channels and platforms to segmenting content to the right audiences, you’ll see which tactics are helping content marketers succeed and gather practical tips so you can ramp up your efforts, as well.
Here are just a few of the initiatives covered in this guide:
Internal communication/collaboration is a top focus
Of all the tactics we explored, this was one of the most universally favored. Regardless of location or business type, most marketers are focused on building more organized and collaborative content marketing teams, or are looking to be doing so in the next 12 months (another 20-30%).
Considering how quickly content marketing has emerged as a viable discipline, it makes sense that many companies may have jumped in before fully developing an infrastructure and team collaboration process that could support the practice as it evolves in the organization.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to start developing this infrastructure, even if you already have begun creating content. The best place to start is to think of all the different parts of your organization (including outside contributors) who have a stake in the content marketing your organization creates. Then, create a model for how you want your content to flow through the creation, approval, and distribution processes.
Some questions to consider when developing this model include:
- Will you have an ad hoc model where internal contributors get involved only as needed or will you establish roles more firmly within your organization?
- Who can serve as your central content marketing strategist, responsible for coordinating all the different moving parts across the organization?
- What channels are you delivering content on, and to whom can you assign responsibility for managing those channels within the organization?
Clearly outlining these roles and processes will help you develop the right infrastructure that encourages the right levels of collaboration and communication needed for successful content marketing programs.
Understanding audience continues to remain a priority
With consumer content consumption patterns shifting rapidly to keep up with the latest digital technologies and trends, most marketers recognize the need to gain a greater understanding of what motivates them to take action. So it’s no surprise that over half of marketers surveyed (ranging between 55% and 65%) across B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations agree that learning more about the content their audience needs and wants is a top priority right now. In addition, around 20% of those not focused on this tactic now plan to work on it within the next 12 months.
If you are looking to increase your understanding of your own audience’s needs, one particular technique you can explore is sentiment analysis – where you monitor your online chatter to uncover what content your audience is engaging with and how it is reacting to it. You may also want to consider updating your buyer personas and revisiting your channel plan to make sure you are delivering your content to the right people, across the right platforms.
Mobile strategy development is on the horizon
The need to optimize content for mobile is unarguable, yet marketers still seem to be struggling with finding the best ways to do so. Only about one-third (or fewer) of marketers surveyed are focusing on this tactic right now, with a larger contingent focusing on this in the next 12 months. Interestingly, those in the B2C segment in North America seem to be prioritizing this tactic more than other groups.
Creating a mobile-first content marketing strategy can be a daunting task, but there are certain small adjustments you can make to your existing content that can make a big difference to users who prefer mobile content consumption. For example, since touch-enabled functionality can be challenging on small screens, it may be helpful to reduce the amount of information you require in order to contact you through an online form. In addition, consider user experience when you decide on your content formats. For instance, it can be difficult to read detailed content on mobile devices, so you may want to consider using video and images to communicate in place of lengthy text blocks.
Other tracks covered in our playlist
Read Part 1 of Building the Perfect Content Marketing Playlist to see which other tactics are being prioritized by your peers (and why), and get additional insights and tips to help you keep pace with industry-leading marketers. These include:
- Reasons why gaining executive buy-in is so important, regardless of industry or location
- Tips for developing an email strategy
- The latest ways marketers are tackling content marketing measurement
- Why having a documented content marketing strategy is more essential to success than ever before
Our hope is that these findings and tips inspire you to find the right mix of content marketing tactics that will help your company find its groove for 2015, and beyond.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute