According to a new Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report published at the end of last year – Content Marketing in Australia 2017:Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – 82% of Australian marketers are currently engaged in content marketing, but only 25% consider themselves extremely or very successful at it.
Great if you’re one of them. If you’re not, however, and you’re in the majority who are experiencing only moderate or minimal content marketing success, you might be wondering, what am I missing? What could I be doing better?
To help you figure this out, we’ve gone through the report to identify what the average Australian marketer is doing, and what those succeeding at it are doing, to help you bridge the gap and boost your content marketing efforts, starting today.
Commit to the cause
Like anything in life, to succeed at content marketing, you need to truly believe in it. You need to be convinced of the power of content to deliver long-term, and not just see it as another tactic to raising awareness and growing leads.
So if at first those blogs, emails and social media updates aren’t making much of an impact, don’t give up. The CMI says it usually takes 12-24 months for organic methods to pay off, so have faith, be consistent, and your content marketing will start producing the results you want.
Create a documented strategy
A documented content marketing strategy continues to be one of the most critical factors to content marketing success – all the most sophisticated content marketers have one. Despite this, only 44% of Australian marketers currently do.
Not only does a documented strategy act as a working guide and benchmark for success, as it includes your mission and objectives, but it also ensures you put in the groundwork to make it a success – from researching audiences to executing implementation and setting out your budget. If you haven’t created one yet, do it now.
Build your subscriber list
There’s nothing more valuable to a content marketer than a subscriber list full of interested prospects and customers. So if you’re not already focusing your efforts on building up your audience base using content, you’re missing a trick.
What can you do to grow those contacts? Firstly, add some strong sign up CTAs to your website and offer some useful, content in return e.g. eBooks, how-to-guides. Secondly, ask customers to subscribe at the point of purchase. Thirdly, include share buttons in your email content.
Understand your audience better
Knowing your customers better is key to creating not just great content, but the right content. This means content that both fully engages the reader and speaks directly to their needs. After all, aren’t we all drawn to content that’s interesting and relevant to us?
To achieve this you need to engage in some proper audience research: think about what problem your product/service solves and who has that problem; look at your demographics; speak to front line staff and your customers directly. From here you can then create detailed audience personas to help you visualise exactly who you’re talking to.
Create better quality content
According to the CMI report, 71% of marketers who had seen increased success in their content marketing efforts in the past year cite higher quality content as the biggest contributing factor (alongside improved efficiency). So take note.
It’s no good churning out content if it’s not any good. Poorly written blogs, articles and emails which are worded more like promotional pieces just won’t cut it. Instead you need to be looking at creating unique, editorial quality content that demonstrates your expertise and builds trust. If you can afford it, employ writers, editors, designers, and get it right.
Do what works, not what’s easiest
It’s easy to get led down the wrong content path by doing what takes the least amount of your time and effort. But this is not the best way to go if you’re looking for results.
In the research, 82% of Australian marketers said that social media was their favourite type of content, however only 43% cited it as critical to success. So while it might be easy to hop onto Facebook or LinkedIn to add a quick status update, is it actually having a positive impact? What does work? Email, visual content such as infographics and video, and long-form blogs.
Use more content tools
It’s amazing how many people struggle along with their marketing efforts without taking advantage of all the great content marketing tools available: 55% of marketers according to the study. It’s crazy considering when you use them you can significantly increase content efficiency and, in turn, content success.
From analytics tools to social media and editorial calendars, dedicated email platforms and content management systems, there are countless options on the market, many of which are free or at least affordable even for businesses on limited budgets. If you’re not using any, or many, start today.
Consider the buyer journey
The most successful content marketers today take the buyer journey into account when creating and distributing content. However, according to the report, only 47% of Australian marketers currently do. This is a big area for improvement, as it’s this type of targeted, personalised content that turns leads into customers.
What do you need to do? First, map out your customer buying journey, identifying all possible touchpoints. Second, think about the unique needs at each stage, for example a person doing preliminary online research is looking for something different to someone who has already signed up. Finally, create and distribute content accordingly.
By adopting some or all of these strategies right now, you can give your content marketing a real lift. But don’t forget, becoming a more successful content marketer takes time and investment, so make sure you commit and, most importantly, keep at it.