What CMOs get wrong with content marketing

Aaron Agius

Aaron is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognised brands including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence.

Content marketing: It’s everywhere you look, and it’s a proven component of an effective marketing strategy. And yet more than half of all marketing professionals struggle with a lack of internal content creation resources.

Even the most well-rounded of marketing departments can be weak when it comes to content creation. You’ve got your social media manager, your email marketing expert, and of course you, the CMO. But trying to force the role of content creator onto someone else’s already full plate is asking for a disaster.

That’s where outsourcing content marketing comes into play. Working with a third-party provider, which could be a freelance writer or content marketing firm, can provide the resources for quality content that your enterprise needs.

Unfortunately, as you likely already know, outsourcing isn’t as simple as signing a contract and sending funds. Nor is content strategy something that you set once and forget. Here’s what to avoid when working on your content marketing strategy.

1. Bargain basement shopping

You wouldn’t shop for a Ferrari on an old clunker lot where all the cars are under $5000, so why would you try to find the cheapest content for your brand and expect it to be quality?

Certainly, budget should be a concern, but refusing to pay over, say, $25 per article, means you’re going to attract less professional writers, and you may spend a significant amount of time editing their work.

Successful B2B marketers spend 39 per cent of their marketing budgets on content alone. That should indicate its importance in your overall marketing spend. You may have to move some budgets around to make room, but factor it in.

Yes, you’ll need to continually publish content, making it a potentially significant expense. But if you look at the ROI for your content marketing, you’ll see that the expense is worth the effort.

Know what your content — and brand reputation — is worth. These blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers will represent your brand on the Internet. If they’re riddled with errors, or simply provide little value, what does that say about your brand?

2. Ordering content one time

You think if you get a couple of blog posts up on your company website, you’ll be golden? Think again. Content marketing is the long game; in fact, it’s the companies that published 15 posts a month that saw an average of 1200 new leads, according to Hubspot.

Content marketing isn’t a ‘one and done’ situation. It requires the constant diligence of tweaking content to be relevant to your audience, in addition to finding the cadence of publishing that attracts new readers and keeps them engaged.

3. Not knowing your audience

This seems like Marketing 101, but without understanding the kinds of content your audience wants (and can’t find elsewhere), it’s virtually impossible to develop a content marketing strategy that will actually achieve your goals.

You have the data. You see which social media updates people are clicking and sharing.

You know which Web pages visitors are spending time on.

Do a little digging and find out what topics your audience wants to read about. And don’t publish the same drivel as what’s already out there. Find your brand’s voice and amplify it through great content.

4. Lacking goals

Content marketing requires its own strategy outside of (and also within) your general marketing strategy. What do you want to achieve by diving into it? How does a read translate into a customer?

Once you establish goals for your content marketing efforts, you can align your content accordingly.

Maybe you include a call to action at the end of each post with a link to sign up for a free whitepaper. Or perhaps you boost the sharing of a particular post on Facebook that you want to increase views of.

Knowing what you want to achieve can help illuminate the right path to reaching those goals.

5. Not knowing what to measure

This mistake goes hand-in-hand with lacking goals. Once you publish content, what do you do with it? How do you know if it’s working?

Measurement is the biggest challenge many marketers face. If you’ve got goals in place, that helps hugely. But beyond goals, what metrics matter? Yes, we’re surrounded by analytics and big data, but it’s all useless if you do nothing with it.

Likely, you’ll care about pageviews and how long people spend on a given article’s page. This can help you gauge whether a particular topic is hitting the mark with your audience.

But then: What do visitors do once they leave that page? Do they shop around on your website? Click additional content? Measuring actions is as important as numbers, as long as you do something with what you find out.

Tags: content marketing

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