Content marketing grew by leaps and bounds in 2014, with over 93% of B2B marketers using content marketing, and it’s poised to grow again as a powerful marketing tactic in 2015. Many companies are buckling down and taking content seriously, appointing people to newly minted positions of creating, optimizing and distributing content to targeted buyers. The success of content marketing lies in how it complements buyers’ behavior; buyers use content to inform their purchase decisions, with 88% of today’s US consumers researching products online before purchasing them.
Content marketing also caters to the heady notion that with digital venues and new content tactics, anyone can compete with the big brands in the marketplace. Your content could serve to detract some attention from your competitors, and attract new audiences you hadn’t been able to reach.
The flip side, however, is that as more businesses discover the content marketing advantage, the more crowded the space becomes. To continue to stand out with content marketing, smart brands continuously analyze their effectiveness, and set concrete goals for each year. As 2015 rapidly approaches, take advantage of the built-in period of reflection and evaluation to set your own goals for the next year. If you’ve already started using content marketing as part or all of your marketing campaigns, consider adopting some of the following goals:
Content Marketing Goals for 2015:
1. To base all future decisions on the results of the past
Too often marketers and content curators are swayed by running after the next big thing, hoping the next tool, platform or campaign idea will be the one that makes them go viral. Instead, pull as many metrics and tracking reports as you possibly can from 2014, and analyze their successes. Notice things like your website tracking, audience behavior with past content, and the performance of your marketing campaigns. This will help paint your current landscape, and show what you’d want to change for 2015.
2. To proactively assign topics, time and resources for a full year
It’s easy to get swept up in lofty content goals in January, but as the doldrums of summer hit, you’ll need a way to stay on track with creating and distributing quality content. Create a year long content calendar to help keep a unified strategy throughout the year, and to keep a consistent posting schedule. Include everything from the type of piece you want to create, where you intend on distributing it, and when you will evaluate the piece’s metrics.
3. To plan for social media and repurposing content
Different kinds of content interact well with different distribution channels, but that doesn’t mean you need to kill yourself trying to create content for each platform. This year, be intentional about creating periodic large pieces of content, such as a guide or ebook, that can be chunked into smaller pieces and repurposed into other forms of content. For instance, a chapter in an ebook might reappear as an article on the blog, which gets tweeted later. Or the chapter headings in the guide are turned into graphics which make an infographic, which is posted to Facebook.
4. To make everything mobile
Two of the top media distribution channels include email and social media, so it’s important to understand how your audience is using these channels. Up to 70% of email will be opened on a mobile device. The social media monolith Facebook reports that roughly 1/3 of users only log in to Facebook with their phones. There is a very high probability that if you’re distributing content digitally, it will be viewed on a mobile device. This year, prioritize either a mobile web design, or invest in responsive design for your content to keep end-users engaged and bounce rates low.
5. To add a significant goal to my content marketing campaign
As with all marketing campaigns, content marketing should be directly tied to corporate goals. Choose which goals will be met by your content marketing, and set standard for your campaign. Assuming this was done with last year’s content marketing strategy, add another goal to this year’s campaign. If you were in it for the brand awareness last year, add lead generation. If you were angling for increased SEO, add increased audience engagement. If you’ve been using content as a reason to be on social media, add leveraging social feedback for fresh content. Push the boundaries this year, and measure it.
6. To re-establish KPI’s for the new year
Like Resolution #5, this goal focuses on keeping the marketing in your content marketing campaigns. After establishing your goals, determine the logical and effective units of measurement to highlight where content marketing has helped your organization, and where weaknesses need to be bolstered. Depending on your goals, this could look like analyzing the content cost per lead, the lengthening or shortening of the sales cycle, the content used most prior to purchase, or perhaps referral piece to final sale.
7. To add variety to our content medium
It’s not about how much content you create, but the quality of content that makes content marketing successful. A piece of that quality is in the medium you choose. 72% of B2B marketers are producing videos, while 51% are creating infographics. This is a great start, but adding variety helps you rise above the noise of everyone else’s videos and infographics. Consider other means such as recording an audio clip of interviews with experts, creating a beautiful microsite with stories about a single topic, or bundle popular articles into a special edition digital magazine.
This year, take your content marketing to the next level by intentionally setting goals for success before starting your next project. Goals that consider the campaign from an organizational level, marketing level, and audience level will help round out your content efforts and help your business compete in the shrinking marketplace. If these goals or creating the content to fill them is daunting, don’t leave the space. Consider outsourcing your content needs so you don’t miss the content marketing advantage. Firms such as Nxtbook Media partner with businesses to help them meet their current needs, and tackle the next year with new strategies.
December 16th, 2014 by Joy Beachy