The majority of content marketers do not have a documented strategy, according to the latest trends report by CMI; and less people creating content perceive themselves as doing so strategically, according to the same study. Marketers, it’s time to change the statistics. For 2015, make a resolution to start the process, get your ducks in line and maybe by 2016 you’ll feel like you are truly strategic and successful in your efforts.

The Internet of Things is Changing too Fast

Fact: Things are changing in every area of the internet very quickly. Don’t despair, even the Fortune 500 companies can’t keep up, and they probably have more staff than most. In a recent article, Ed Newman reported, “95 percent of the Fortune 500 doesn’t have a mobile optimized job application process for candidates.”
Many marketers are feeling really behind and are having a difficult time keeping up with changes and making the most out of what is available for us as brands.
Add to that, a plethora of tools and mountains of advice about what tools to use, how, and when. Internally, companies are struggling as the roles of CIO and CMO are becoming blurred with the advent of cloud computing software. As the focus moves from purchased software to cloud computing, the purchasing power and budgets are also shifting. CIOs are struggling as end users within the company are by-passing tried and true security and procurement processes developed by the old IT departments. In some companies, the CIOs and CMOs have started to break down silos and work together to get the best tools and develop an elegant workflow. If this is the case in your organization, count yourself lucky.

Identify Growth Drivers

According to Ray Grieselhuber, founder and CEO GinzaMetrics, the most important first step to getting a strategic content marketing program is to look at the company-wide goals. In particular, identify the growth drivers. The primary growth drivers should be both scalable and repeatable.
For Ecommerce companies, repeat visitors are the bread and butter of their operations. Marketers should look at what offerings or features got customers through the shopping cart cycle in the past and optimize on those things that will bring them back.
In the B2B marketplace, customer retention is the number one driver. Set goals to improve customer retention percentages over the last year. While 100% retention is always everyone’s ultimate goal, set realistic goals for decreasing churn. In addition, B2B businesses need to build customer loyalty and create evangelists in the marketplace. Set goals for percentage of customer referrals and build a customer referral campaign to insure your customers have an incentive to talk about your product offerings.

Embrace Your Uniqueness

How is your brand different from the competition?
“Your content should highlight your uniqueness, reflect the customer journey, and tell the story of the lifestyle changes that will come about because someone uses your product. Those are the elements that will build the content strategy for you,” stated Ray.
Most brands do not have the luxury of assuming everyone knows who they are and what they can provide. Marketers are tasked with creating something memorable. In the process, tell a real story, something that helps your customers along on their journey toward purchasing your product.
Acknowledging your growth drivers and setting goals based on those drivers will set you on the path to developing the type of content that will help you to reach those goals. Now, go forth and write those goals down. Get an email together, or type up a simple document that states your goals and your unique position in the marketplace. Share your vision with others in your department and within the company. When you have all agreed on your direction, then it is time to start creating that unique, meaningful, and rich content that will get your brand found online and move the ROI needle towards profitability.

How Did That Work For You?

You won’t know what works unless you measure it. Plain and simple. Having the right tools that are simple to use, not so simple. There are a lot of tools out there, and many times the procurement of those tools is out of the hands of the end-user. As I mentioned before, that is changing, but not without creating some consternation on the part of those who previously held all the buying power.
Before you decide what tools to buy, consider what you want the tools to do for you. Remember, the tools should be working for you, not making you a slave to a kludgy workflow. Ray recommends looking for tools that are straightforward and provide the data you need to do your job. Look for tools that provide a common sense user interface. You should be able to see all the important data in a snapshot and then have the ability to drill down, if you have the time and inclination. Some things measurement tools should do for you include:

  • Capture data – get the data you need to inform your future decisions
  • Provide recommendations – get an informed to-do list to optimize current content and develop better content
  • Prioritize – you can’t do it all at once, so have a tool that can prioritize tasks
  • Tune in to other things – a useful tool will look for things you have missed and find new keywords or new competitors

Just having data is never enough. If we are to truly become strategic marketers, we need actionable data and tools that don’t require us to have degrees in statistics or the ability to code. Let’s get real. That’s just not in the wheelhouse for most marketers.
“Get started where you are and focus on the right things,” recommends Ray, “Begin with an internal analysis and a strategy document to use as a road map.” This simple beginning will get your efforts focused and give you a better sense of the impact your efforts are making on the corporate bottom line.