The keys to great content marketing seem to change almost monthly. While some developments are spurred by Google algorithm updates, other change are made after measuring return on investment and studying the best practices of marketing leaders. While it's important to have a content marketing strategy for 2014, it needs to be versatile.
Is content management really that important?
While content management changes, it is certainly a key ingredient to any successful marketing strategy. According to Forbes, an ad overload in the last decade has decreased the effectiveness of traditional interruptive advertising. Buyers are now in control and seek out the products and information that they want. Especially for B2B marketers, content is great way to engage potential customers in the research phase of the buying cycle.
While Google updates are forcing marketers to produce a higher quality of content, they have not provided an excuse to give up on content marketing. For many businesses that were committed to producing informative and honest content all along, the updates can be seen as a good thing.
Determine what you wish to gain from content marketing in 2014
Content is a multipurpose marketing tool. It can be tailored to meet various different parts of the customer lifecycle, according to Search Engine Watch. Determine if content will be used to generate leads, retain customers or improve brand awareness.
B2B marketers certainly do not need to choose just one of the goals. A good content marketing strategy should engage clients at all stages of the lifecycle. However, you should know what stage you're trying to capture buyers in because it can change how and where you display the content. Social media – particularly LinkedIn for B2B marketers – is a good way to get out basic, daily content.
More informative and in depth materials, such as white papers and e-books, are good engagement tools for follow up emails or on a how-to section of the organization's website. Adding a download form to this more dynamic content is great way to increase its power as a lead generation tool.
Many marketers also want to bring video into the mix if they have not already. While this requires an investment in some equipment and possibly new employees, Forbes says video will remain a top player in content marketing in 2014. Infographics are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool as well. They can be used as stand-alone pieces, or to highlight main points form a larger article or white paper.
ROI must drive content management decisions
Marketers should be prepared to alter any marketing strategy if return on investment measurements show that some campaigns just aren't making the grade. Of course, positive ROI can also help support increased budget allocation for the marketing department or a particular campaign. Perhaps a company's CEO has been hesitant to approve spending on video content. If marketers can show that video content on the website is outpacing other offerings, they may get the OK to expand.
According to an article on Advertising Age, there are some core metrics that marketers should apply to all content ROI measurements. Ask these questions of your content for an ROI overview:
- What's driving engagement? How often people your website and where traffic goes when it gets there can tell you a lot. For this reason, it can be helpful to to try and break up content by category instead of medium. Website visitors are more likely seeking a certain subject matter than a particular kind of content. An article about video marketing belongs on the corresponding page. This will help determine what subjects are driving the most traffic to your site. This is where Website analytics tools come into play.
- Is content being shared? Content that is shared by 10 people is technically 10 times as effective as content that just lingers on your own social media page. Be sure to keep track of what goes viral and what is stale.
- Is it making money? Revenue from content is difficult to measure. You won't always know what article, if any, pushed a visitor into the sales funnel. One thing to measure for sure is the quality of leads your content attracts. Given the commitment that content such as video requires, you will want some way to prove it's drawing in the best sales leads and helping to convert them.
Content management in the next year should be as exciting of a ride as it was in 2013. It can be frustrating for marketers to constantly feel as if they must adapt marketing strategies, but staying just slightly ahead of the curve can position your company well. Measuring ROI and keeping an eye on website analytics are key in staying ahead and delivering the most relevant content.