The new year is here, and content is still king.
What does this mean for your agency? For starters, it means that the content calendar remains an indispensable tool in your marketing arsenal.
This is not a new trend.
Today, nearly 84 percent of consumers expect brands to deliver content that tells stories, entertains them and provides solutions to their questions. This means it’s essential for companies to recognize the value in creating successful content and, moreover, promoting the content on the best channels for reaching target audiences.
Still, while marketers are aware of content marketing’s advantages, Altimeter reports that 70 percent of marketers lack a consistent content strategy. Companies fail to use a content calendar to map out deliverables for each quarter, which consequentially leads to unshared – and unread – content.
So what is keeping agencies from succeeding in content mapping? In other words, why is it so difficult to create a content calendar that aligns with a strategic vision that generates leads?
In this article, I’ll explore the key reasons why companies are unsuccessful in content mapping, along with the ways to develop a revised strategy that leads to improved digital lead generation in the new year.
Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working
In a study by Content Marketing Institute, only nine percent of B2B marketers claimed their organization was “very effective” at creating and sharing their content. As such, a large majority of content – including blogs, social media posts, videos, white papers and info graphics – has an extremely low impact and reach.
In fact, almost 75 percent of blogs that are written receive fewer than 10 social shares and ZERO links from other domains. This is a huge issue, as it means that many companies are wasting valuable time on content creation that ends up being futile.
There are several key reasons why content marketing strategies fail, beginning with –
You don’t have a fluid content calendar
If you’re aware of the latest trends in digital marketing, you probably have a strategy in place for sharing content, such as sending out a monthly newsletter or tweeting on a weekly basis. Still, this isn’t enough. Your ideas won’t generate any new leads if they don’t align with a mapped-out content calendar.
At the start of every quarter, companies should create a calendar that hones in on several thought-leading or trending topics. Before you fill the calendar, it is important to define your quarterly goals, target audience, process for publishing and metrics for measuring success.
As you begin to add ideas to the calendar, the content should encompass both hard and strategic news items. What does this mean? This means that you are sending out one-time-only topics based on specific calendar events during the year, along with topics based on your objective goals.
Having a working content calendar that includes both types of items will ensure that everything you publish and share aligns with what you want to achieve over the short and long-term.
Keep in mind that the most successful calendars are not set in stone. Rather, a fluid calendar that reflects changing trends in the industry and the demands or needs of your target audiences will be much more effective in strengthening your brand.
You aren’t investing in content distribution
Nearly every marketing channel nowadays comes with the option to promote your content with paid advertising. Yet, most companies do not realize the advantages of investing in content distribution and the ways it can enhance lead generation.
In 2017, the most successful B2B marketers spent over 40 percent of their total budget for marketing on content marketing. What this looks like is spending money on strategically promoted ads across social media channels, boosting posts to targeted groups and investing in digital advertising on search engines.
Since there is such a massive amount of content out there, you need to help customers find your content. Relying on organic traffic is simply not good enough. By utilizing paid marketing tactics, you can get your content in front of the right audiences who actually want to engage with your brand. This, in turn, will bring in new prospects that showcase attributes of your ideal customers.
You don’t pay attention to metrics
Even if you have a prearranged content calendar and invest in distribution, these efforts won’t be as successful as they could be if you aren’t analyzing content metrics.
The most glorious part of digital marketing is that every action is measurable. Yet, it’s rare for marketers to set benchmarks for content, meaning you will never be able to judge how well – or how poorly – your content is performing.
As you refine your content strategy for 2019, you must also develop a systematic plan for analyzing metrics. For example, with every blog that is published, you should measure the total views, time spent on the page, return visits, clicks and social media activity. Over time, these metrics will reveal trends in your content’s performance, which will allow you to make better decisions about future distribution and topics.
Tips to Follow as You Work Out the Kinks
While your company may not be making these mistakes, you probably aren’t reading this blog if you aren’t having issues.
As you work out the kinks that are specific to your company’s content, here are five content mapping tips that have proven successful for my team in recent months:
1. Establish your target audiences by developing buyer personas.
2. Make sure every content item is data-driven and purposeful.
3. Increase your reach on social media by using “stories.”
4. Pay more attention to topic clusters to boost your SEO.
5. Don’t forget about video! (It’s still the most-viewed type of content.)
6. Ensure there's a balance between hard and strategic content items.
As content continues to drive conversions, it is crucial for companies to realize both the mistakes they’re making and the change that should be made. With 60 percent of companies producing one new content item every day, the competition is fierce. But this doesn’t mean your organization can’t be a front-runner.
When it comes to content, our team at The Impact Group knows how to diagnose your failing strategy and find the remedy that will work. We are ready to help you avoid the most common content mapping mistakes and develop a winning strategy for 2019 and beyond.