How to Create a Content Marketing Plan that Converts
Today’s content marketing environment, like the technology behind it, is moving at a dizzying pace. Research firm SiriusDecisions estimates that today the buyer’s journey is 70% complete by the time a salesperson is contacted. This highlights not only the critical importance in this internet-driven world of a brand’s multi-faceted online presence, but also, the value of implementing a comprehensive and effective content marketing plan.
Multiple channels ‒ multiple opportunities to stray
As marketing media and distribution channels continue to multiply, a company’s content marketing activity now extends well beyond the traditional marketing department into every other branch of a business which interacts directly or technologically with the customer. This overlap means one thing: vast amounts of content, created by multiple departments, across multiple channels and platforms. Without consistent messaging and cohesion across web content, tweets, forums, blogs, email communications, print literature, advertising, multimedia presentations and so on, the chinks in the armour of the modern marketer can begin to show, and content may rise whilst conversion rates fall. Tellingly, SiriusDecisions recently reported that 60-70% of content produced by B2B marketers goes unused.
A loss of direction
The Content Marketing Institute’s research paper 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends adds weight to the argument that, all too often, we are creating vast amounts of content without always seeing tangible ROI. The majority of UK marketers surveyed claimed to have adopted content marketing (95% of B2B marketers and 97% of B2C), and 64% of these planned to increase their content marketing budgets this year. However, only 39% ranked themselves as ‘effective’ or ‘very effective’ at content marketing and, more telling still, almost half of those surveyed (49%) cited the inability to produce content that engaged as the biggest challenge they faced (ironically, second only to ‘producing enough content’ – 57%), while ‘lack of integration across marketing’ came in at 35%.
Getting back on track
Oracle Eloqua’s 2013 Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign neatly summarises the problem: ‘Understanding the importance of content, and executing a streamlined strategy are two very different things. While modern marketers know content is key . . . there are still huge gaps in the content process that create inefficiencies and stunt organisational productivity.’
A watertight content management plan can not only help to ensure a cohesive approach and consistent branding, but can also put a stop to the time-wasting and budget-sapping activity of creating content for content’s sake. Eloqua’s white paper highlights five fundamentals to creating a content marketing plan which not only curbs incessant content creation, but that ultimately converts the effort of content creation into ROI.
Create an editorial board: To ensure a unified process across your brand, the board should include stakeholders from all departments who manage content, including social and web, marketing operations/demand generation, sales and customer success.
Plan your marketing campaigns: Planning occurs on an annual (overarching themes and campaigns), quarterly (timing, topics and content assets), and monthly (subsidiary assets and distribution) basis. Content, like your product, must start with your buyers’ interests and needs.
Map out content pillars: A content pillar is a significant and comprehensive content asset that supports marketing initiative; eg. eBook, report, guide, long video etc. By creating one content pillar it then becomes easy to break that finished asset into blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, social media updates etc.
Distribution: Instead of each department spending time creating unique content, they can focus on utilising existing content to effectively funnel buyers towards a purchase.
Structure: Appoint a Managing Editor to coordinate the smooth-running of your strategy across departments in accordance with your campaign calendar.
Research suggests that 60-79% of content produced by B2B marketers goes unused.
49% of UK marketers have stated that the inability to produce content that engages is the biggest challenge they face.
Creating a streamlined, cross-departmental content management plan is key to ensuring that the effort of content creation is converted into ROI.
How well does your content marketing strategy convert? Are you drowning in content without actually having a clear idea of where it’s all heading? For more ideas, download our free eGuide: Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign.