What to Know Before Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

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This post is based on our white paper “Outside-The-Box Content Marketing for PR.”

A week into 2014, Mark Schaefer published a blog post that questioned whether content marketing – which he termed “the hottest marketing trend around” – was a sustainable strategy for businesses.

He coined “content shock” and argued that though more and more businesses give away more and more content, people have only finite time to consume it.

Is this the end of content marketing? Hardly. It means brands will have to invest in content creation.

To better reach your audience and further your goals these days, you should experiment with a wide range media, platforms, topics and other storytelling devices.

The most successful B2B and B2C communicators of today have adopted these new ideas with open arms, quickly adopting new tactics. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs shows:

2015 B2B Content Marketing Trends

  1. Seventy percent of B2B marketers create more content now than they did one year ago.
  2. Content marketing’s top four tactics include social media, e-newsletters, articles on owned websites and blogs.
  3. B2B marketers find “creating engaging content” their most persistent challenge. “Producing content consistently” and “measuring content effectiveness” rank as the second and third most daunting challenges, respectively.

2015 B2C Content Marketing Trends

  1. Nearly seven in 10 B2C marketers create more content now than a year ago.
  2. Blog usage dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent in the past year. Use of branded content tools increased, from 37 percent to 47 percent.
  3.  “Better converting visitors on website” (65 percent); “creating more engaging content” (62 percent); and “becoming better storytellers” (61 percent) rank as brands’ top three content goals.

These stats show that content marketing has staying power, but to remain successful, communicators need to evolve to meet their audience’s changing demands and expectations.

How to Kickoff Your Content Marketing

Content Marketing - Know Your Audience

Cision’s Director of Marketing Brandon Andersen says the key to content marketing is knowing your audience.

“Know it holistically,” he says. “Use data and even phone calls to build a comprehensive picture of your audience.”

Whether old brand or new, find answers to the following questions:

  • What challenges does my target audience encounter?
  • How does my audience prefer to consume content? What kind? When?
  • What does my target audience do outside my industry?
  • Who refers the most traffic to my site?

Whatever your audience wants, give it to them. Some may prefer short, easy-to-consume written pieces. Others may want visual content, such as video and infographics. Use data, your content goals and brand objectives to determine your approach.

You can also use data to show where you should post your content. Go beyond owned properties like your website and blog, and share stories across social networks and even influencer blogs.

Pitch your written and multimedia content to reporters. According to Cision’s State of the Media 2015 Report, nearly two-thirds of journalists and bloggers regularly use video- and image-based content. Giving it them up front, may help you land a placement.

Finally, measure how your content performs outside of goals tied to the traditional sales funnel.

For example, you can use data points like these to measure success:

  • First-touch attribution
    What content initiated someone to become a lead?
  • Leads and conversions
    How many leads did a certain piece of content generate? How many of them converted?
  • Page views
    How many pages does the average visitor see when they come to your site?
  • Behavior
    What content do they skip? What do they read? What do they share?
  • Return visits
    What percentage of your visitors return? How long does it take them to return?
  • Other attribution points
    How do people get to your site? Organic search? Paid ads? Social posts?

These data points can set you on the path to operating a sustainable content marketing program. However, ensure that the data points you use mirror your business objectives.

 Want to stand out with content? Get our free “Outside-The-Box Content Marketing for PR” white paper now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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