Stacey Danheiser
Stacey Danheiser 29 July 2016

4 Steps To Up Your Content Marketing Game

Are you producing mediocre content? Here are 4 steps to cut through the clutter.

“Don't become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.” - Zig Ziglar

If you’re in content marketing, these words of Zig Ziglar are something you might consider tattooing on your forehead. Why? Because generality breeds mediocrity and mediocre content doesn’t cut through the clutter. It adds to it.

And that’s exactly the problem with the majority of content marketers these days. The Internet is awash with content that’s without a purpose or is simply regurgitated stuff. No wonder, only 30% of organizations consider themselves effective at content marketing.

Yet, more than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget. Even 57% of those who are least effective at content marketing plan to increase their budget, shows CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Report 2016.

Sounds like they’re trying to fill a leaky bucket. But throwing money at the problem won’t fix it. So if you’re among the 70% who do not rate their content marketing efforts as effective, here are some best practices that’ll help you up your game.

1. Clearly Define What Success Looks Like

Without knowing what exactly you’re aiming to achieve, it’s a no brainer that you won’t recognize success if you happen to achieve it. And this seems to be a major problem with B2B marketers as CMI’s survey points out — 55% of B2B marketers said they aren’t sure what effective or successful content marketing looks like for their organization.

The idea of success will vary from company to company, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You have to define success through the lens of your own business model. Then, set your goals around that definition.

Which metrics to choose while setting your goals? If we go by the CMI survey, sales lead quality, sales, and higher conversion rates are the top three metrics successful B2B content marketers use. And that makes sense because these metrics can be effectively tied to the bottom line of your business, it’s easier for you to determine which tactics work and which don’t. 

2. Put Your Content Strategy in Writing

The difference between success and failure of a content strategy depends on whether or not it’s documented. According to the survey, businesses that have a clearly spelled-out strategy get consistently better results from their content marketing tactics, social platforms, and paid distribution than ones that don’t.

To have a well-documented content plan, you should include the following elements:

  • In-depth customer research to form the base of the plan
  • Targeted buyer personas
  • Specific, measurable goals for every piece of content that’ll go out of the door
  • Strategies and tactics for content promotion and distribution
  • A plan for repurposing content
  • A clearly articulated tone of voice for effective storytelling
  • A plan to evaluate, measure, adjust, and refine the strategy as you move ahead

Here’s an excellent guide from Content Marketing Institute that can help you put your content strategy in writing through a series of questions you can ask yourself.

3. Identify How to Truly Offer Value Through Content

In order to truly offer value – you need to find the “sweet spot” of where customer needs overlap with your unique offering.

First, you need to peek into your own repositories to identify those areas or skill sets where your organization has a command over. These will be things that make your organization better than any average organization in your industry. The kind of solution that only you can provide and that can distinguish you from others in your business.

Next, you should conduct proper customer research to make your content strategy focused around your customers’ needs. Talk to your salespeople, your customer service folks, and product managers to understand what prompts your customers to respond and the critical pain points they have.  You could conduct online customer surveys or 1:1 interviews, ask questions on Q&A platforms like Quora to find out customer motivations and needs, their buying criteria, and so on. Breaking your customer research into a 4-level plan like this can yield better and more effective results.  

Ensure that every piece of content produced has a meaningful purpose by focusing only on the “sweet spot”.

4. Rinse, Repeat, and Be Patient

Content marketing is not for those looking for instant success nor is it a one-time plan. Instead, it is—and should be—a plan we can replicate over and over again.

Once you’ve gone through one content marketing cycle, analyze what went well and what didn’t. Reuse and repurpose popular content to give it a fresh look, while eliminating the need to start from scratch.

So is finding your ideal content strategy easy? No one said that ever. But you can be sure of this—it’s an exercise that will transform your content efforts from being a “wandering generality” to a “meaningful specific.”

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Financial advisors and other professionals can decipher a lot of information from Google Analytics with three simple categories.

Marina Howell
Marina Howell 17 October 2016
Read more
Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Here's how you can get a complete view of your customer journey so that your email campaigns continue to win new customers.

Sophia Skinbjerg
Sophia Skinbjerg 18 October 2016
Read more
How to Optimize Your Confirmation Email Design and Make It Bring You More Sales

How to Optimize Your Confirmation Email Design and Make It Bring You More Sales

Email marketing is not just about newsletters! Transactional and confirmation emails shouldn’t be neglected when it comes to design and content. An exceptional confirmation email can help you nail another purchase in minutes.

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 17 October 2016
Read more
Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

The reality for retailers today is that to be successful, omnichannel strategies are no longer an option but a necessity to stay competitive. Consumers want to engage with brands on social media, in a physical store, on an ecommerce site, through a mobile app, via email or through a phone call.

Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 18 October 2016
Read more