Content marketing success increases with experience — and now we have data to prove it.
Our new research report, Content Marketing in Australia: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, produced in partnership with the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising and sponsored by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, shows how organizations in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing differ from those in the early stages.
How mature are Australian companies with their content marketing?
First things first: Let’s look at how marketers assess their organizations’ content marketing maturity. The chart below explains how the survey defines content marketing maturity levels, and shows the percentage of marketers that identify with each segment.
One key difference between these groups is that 56% of sophisticated/mature marketers consider their organization’s approach to content marketing to be extremely or very successful, compared to 25% of the overall sample and 3% of young/first-steps marketers. What are these mature organizations doing differently?
What early-stage content marketers can learn from their sophisticated peers
The chart below summarizes other important differences we found, but read on to get some ideas on how to get started with some of these things — or to improve what you are doing.
They are very committed
To succeed with content marketing, you need to be committed — and truly believe in — the benefits of content marketing. Of course, this is much easier when your efforts are more mature, as you are seeing results in the form of cost savings, sales, and better customers. But it’s equally important that marketers who are getting started have a committed mindset. In fact, I recently advised marketers to go all in or do nothing.
Using only organic methods, it takes organizations 12 to 24 months to see great results. We see the formula work time and time again. Simple to understand? Absolutely. But it can be difficult to follow.Using only organic methods, it takes organizations 12 to 24 months to see great results says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet
They have a documented content marketing strategy
Sophisticated/mature marketers also understand the value of a documented content marketing strategy. Your strategy can certainly evolve as your efforts mature, but you need to get your plan in writing (our research consistently shows that a verbal strategy isn’t nearly as effective). While there is no one right way to create a strategy, here are 36 questions you can answer to help you get started.
Below you can see the typical elements Australian marketers are including in their content marketing strategies.
Their organization is focused on building audiences
Many marketers who are getting started with content marketing consider their organization’s content to be their asset, but it isn’t. The audience that you build as a result of having compelling content is your asset, which is why using content to build your subscriber base is so critical.The audience that you build as a result of having compelling #content is your asset says @joepulizzi Click To Tweet
It has been proven over time, with the greatest content marketing examples as well as the best-known media models, that building a platform leveraging (for the most part) one content type on primarily one channel is a winning formula versus the publish-everywhere model. Once a subscriber base is established via the one-content-type/one-platform model, then innovative companies diversify into other areas. While this is not the only way to succeed, we’ve seen this model consistently over the years develop the best examples on the planet.
Personally, I think email is the best platform on which to build your subscriber base. Aaron Orendorff also has some great ideas on how to build your email list.
They always/frequently differentiate content from their competitors
Sophisticated/mature marketers also know that they can’t build an audience — and get results — if they are creating content that someone can get anywhere. This also goes hand in hand with their understanding that they need to value creativity and craft in content creation and production. You simply can’t have differentiated content if you are producing the same stuff as your competition.
If you are getting started, I highly recommend you identify your content tilt. This is the content you are delivering that is different than what anyone else is offering. Very likely, it’s a specific niche, but if you truly focus, you’ll become the leading voice in your area.Identify your #content tilt to become the leading voice in your area says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet
But many companies in the young/first-steps stage have the right mindset
While young/first-steps content marketers can learn many things from their more mature peers, one of the most striking — and encouraging — observations about those in the early phase is that 71% agree that their organization is focused more on building long-term relationships than on getting quick results from content marketing.
That tells me that many Australian organizations that are just starting out with content marketing have the right idea — content marketing is an opportunity to create ongoing value. I don’t think we could have said that a year ago when the Australian marketers we surveyed reported a heavy focus on leads and sales.
I cannot overemphasize how important it is to prioritize building a subscriber base as you grow in your content marketing maturity. If you can do that, adjust your strategy as needed, fully commit to the approach, deliver quality content on a consistent basis through carefully considered channels, give your efforts time to produce results — and, keep your focus on creating value (versus sales) — you’ll be well on your way toward producing long-term business results.Prioritize building a subscriber base as you grow in your #contentmarketing maturity says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet
We are so excited about all of the data coming out of this research as well as our upcoming reports. If you are as well, please sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute