Talking about your content strategy...
Last year around this time I published a post extolling the benefits of a documented content strategy for B2B tech marketers. And to show that we put our money where our mouth is – we published the first part of our own. But research at the time published by the Content Marketing Institute highlighted that only 35% of organisations had a documented content strategy in place.
A year has passed and what’s changed? Well, nothing… and everything. There are even more channels to manage – you may be expanding on FaceBook, YouTube or Instagram for example. There is more focus on video and optimising content for mobile. You might be creating specific content for account-based marketing programmes. You’ve probably increased your spend on paid social activity.
Whatever you’re doing content-wise, chances are that both the intensity and activity levels has been cranked up and you’re feeling the heat. So something is bound to give.
In our experience, this year fewer tech vendors have a content strategy to underpin their activities. This is just a feeling, a vibe. But we talk to many tech marketers and we’re hearing a pretty consistent story. The pressure to roll your sleeves up and ‘get on with the job’ is coming through loud and clear.
It’s also borne out by the CMI research, which found that fewer B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with last year (32% vs. 35%). So why do you need a content strategy, especially in 2016?
Improved marketing effectiveness
According to the CMI research carried out in 2015, 60% of responders with a documented content strategy consider their organization to be effective in nearly all areas. In contrast, only 32 percent of those who have a verbal strategy say they are effective.
With ever more channels and programmes running, keeping activities aligned can be a huge challenge – especially when there are multiple teams and individuals involved. So if the digital team is doing one thing and the events team is doing something else – what happens? The customer gets confused and your business suffers.
Consistent decision making
Every day there’s a new promotional opportunity – and if it comes from a senior exec, the pressure to follow up is tremendous. But no matter how well a particular channel, event or programme has worked for them in the past, it may not (or may) be right for your business. Does it fit with the content strategy you’ve set? If not, don’t go there.
Maintaining a global brand
With disparate teams running programmes in different geographies, maintaining a consistent message can be a challenge – especially if the corporate material isn’t deemed suitable for a local market and the team decided to do their own thing. Having a documented content strategy gives the company a framework to think global and act local, i.e. to maintain the overall theme whilst allowing individual geographies to adapt and localise.
Better ROI for marketing investment
Cross-channel marketing should layer your messages consistently and continually. PR should complement digital, events should sync with campaigns, and social should reinforce everything. If all your channels work in harmony, which they will if you implement a consistent content strategy, the return on individual activities will be greater. If not, you could be throwing marketing budget down the drain.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when the pressure to ‘act and act now’ is so intense. We still see many sales-driven organisations where marketing is seen as a support function to sales. While this picture is changing, the pace its slower than it should be.
Our own content marketing strategy has served us well. We’ve grown steadily over the past 12 months and our accountant is usually pleased to see us. But like every strategy document it will quickly become outdated if it’s left on the shelf too long.