Fed up with being asked: ‘When am I going to get a sale out of this blog?’ It's time to get strategic with your content marketing.
It’s every marketer’s pet peeve – justifying their outputs to the sales team, management board or Beryl on reception. And it can be a really tough one to manage when the fruits of content marketing campaigns are often reaped six, 12 or 18 months after they’re sown.
But there is a way to fine-tune your outputs so you can answer with more than an exasperated eye-roll. Ask yourself this:
Are you doing content marketing or are you just marketing content?
What’s the difference, you say? Well, it’s quite a big one. Marketing content is writing to fill the allocated two blogs, five tweets and two Instagram posts your marketing plan says you have to deliver every week.
Content marketing is about playing the long game; aligning your content with your business strategy, target customers and brand objectives and shaping every piece of content across every channel to form part of a much bigger picture.
Although most businesses talk about content marketing, what they’re actually doing is creating content, and that’s makes it incredibly hard to track ROI.
It’s not hard to change your focus, though you will have to manage expectations in terms or return on investment. Content marketing is a slow-build, so you won’t see results overnight. What you will see is a content strategy that’s easier to manage, plan and implement and that takes the headache out of creating the deliverables set out in your marketing plan.
Ready to give it a go? Let's start with the basics.
Where do I start?
Stop what you’re doing. No, seriously – get off the hamster wheel for a few days and see what happens. If you don’t tweet three times a day does the world end? Are your prospects waiting for you in the car park begging you to upload your next blog? Pausing your content output in the short-term will show you how much people are really engaging and give you the headspace to plan what you do next.
Spend the time you would have been spending writing tweets or blogs looking at what other people are doing and what’s working for them – your competition, brands you feel an affinity with, the local community group making a huge impact on a non-existent marketing budget. That doesn’t mean you’ll copy their strategy or outputs – but you will get some insight on the content, channels and cadence that’s working for them.
How do I start?
Clear the decks, get away from your desk and be prepared to think differently. According to The Drum, dealing with too many priorities means marketers – especially in B2B – are spread too thinly to be creative, so you have to dedicate time to your content strategy without distractions.
Get your team together (and not just marketing – there’s so much creativity across your business) and focus on the topics that are most relevant to your brand and business goals. Bring a list of your targets, your business priorities and upcoming events, plus keywords if you have them, then create a handful of strategic topics that will generate timeless content that you can create in advance.
What do I need?
An open mind, some insight, some consistent templates and some time to plan, create and test as you go. And sometimes, an external perspective to get you out of a content creation rut, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Want to get stuck in? The Clever Comms Co. offers content marketing bootcamps to help you build your content strategy in a day. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. You can also download our free beginner's content marketing workbook here.