86% of businesses now use content marketing, according to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute.

It doesn’t always pay off however. Why’s that? Is content marketing somehow not that effective or are we using it wrong? How can we make the most of it and therefore ensure a significant impact and ROI?

kaboompics.com_Strategy

Take the time to consider your content marketing as part of a strategy

Before you actually write your content, or even think of doing content marketing, there is some serious thinking to do beforehand. This reflexive, strategic part is widely underestimated by many businesses, and yet constitutes the key to the complete success of content marketing.

Being strategic implies the understanding and definition of your target’s needs, the production and circulation planning of your quality content, the objectives that you are actually trying to reach, and so on and so forth. In short, knowing exactly why you are producing content, to whom, what for, and how. This is the part where you have to make strategic decisions that can have huge although invisible/unquantifiable impacts on your ROI. It’s about finding the perfect canal, format, tone etc. to enhance your content so that it finds the perfect place within the twists and turns of the web. And, perhaps more importantly, about analysing the reaches and results of such strategy, so that next time, it will be perfect.

Why do businesses often forget that step? Because they lack time and budget, and it happens to be a full time job. That’s why 62%[1] of them outsource their content marketing., while we might be tempted to ask ourselves : who best than the company itself can produce its own content (be it for marketing goals, branding or simple information)?

 

The importance of a (well-)documented content marketing strategy

“We are really starting to find out what makes an effective content marketer — it’s all about documenting the strategy and following the strategy closely,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of “Epic Content Marketing”[2].

Basically, include your content marketing into a whole strategy means that by documenting each process, you will be able to repeat those which worked, and change those which didn’t (this is where the afterward analysis part comes into play).

Obviously, you need to keep a close watch on your strategies, and be flexible enough to change them if required by a change in the market, customers needs or competitors’ influence. Don’t isolate yourself from the actual trends just because your action plan is in place. This is also a big part of the job: being able to determine the fundamental as well as the changeable elements of your program[3].

 

That’s the trick : plan but be flexible, chose quality as well as variety, analyse the results for constant optimisation, and monitor for further improvement or adaptation. Ready for the challenge?
[1] https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/06/content-marketing-stats.html

[2] http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/study-86-b-b-marketers-content-marketing/295230/

[3] Here’s a great tool for you : http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DocumentedStrategy_Final1.pdf

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