Content marketing has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Some recent industry figures show that around 85-90 percent of businesses now produce their own content.
Whether they do it in-house or via a content marketing agency, the fact is more and more companies have embraced content marketing in recent years.
In a recent industry event hosted by programmatic digital marketing company Benchmarketing, speakers and panellists confirmed the exponential growth of content marketing in most B2B companies and businesses.
But while most companies produce tons and tons of content, many are not generating the results they need. While many businesses have devoted budget and resources to producing different types of content, they don’t necessarily translate or deliver the improvement in sales or leads that businesses need.
In this post we will look at steps you can take to boost the reach of your quality content. Whether you’re the only content producer in your company or you’re managing a team of content marketing producers, there are steps you can use to optimise your quality content.
88% of B2B companies use content marketing
Before we look into the specific steps, here are some statistics that show the growth of content marketing globally and in Australia.
Most industry figures show that content marketing was on a gradual climb until 2013. And in 2015 it registered a massive spike in growth as more businesses embrace it with gusto.
If you look closely, the numbers are staggering:
- 88 percent of B2B companies use content marketing
- 77 percent of marketers plan to increase content production in the next 12 months;
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
These are all based on surveys of major companies that are most active users of content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.
In Australia alone, the latest Content Marketing Institute survey of businesses shows that:
- 89 percent of respondents said they use content marketing
- 87 % said they will produce more content in the next 12 months
Lots of content but lacking in strategy
So, if content marketing is growing by leaps and bounds and companies are allocating bigger budgets and devoting more resources to it, why aren’t many companies getting the results they want from it?
Darren Woolley, founder and global CEO of Trinity P3, a strategic marketing consultancy in Sydney said while there’s no question that companies have embraced content marketing, the problem being faced by many businesses is the lack of strategy.
“Businesses are producing massive amounts of content, but the biggest thing that is lacking is the strategy behind the content,” Woolley said.
Some recent survey results from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) confirmed Woolley’s statement. CMI’s data showed that:
- 55% of Australian marketers said their organisations are clear on what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like. This means that 45 % of markets don’t have a clear about their content marketing strategy
- 69% of Australian marketers are challenged with producing engaging content
Need to focus on the customer
According to Woolley, a majority of businesses still operate using the old ‘factory style’ framework which is heavily focused on the product. This means that when companies produce content they focus on the product features instead of highlighting the benefits to users.
Companies and businesses also tend to talk about themselves more than addressing the need of their customers.
And this could be one of the biggest reasons why many content marketing efforts are failing.
“Companies and businesses need to pivot from being factory and product focused to being more customer focused. It’s always better to be customer focused than product focused,” Woolley said.
In his best-selling book The Ultimate Sales Machine, the late author and marketing guru Chet Holmes emphasised the need to focus and to educate the customer. Even before content marketing became known as content marketing, Holmes was a big advocate of being strategic on communicating with customers.
According to Holmes, there are at least three major benefits in being strategic with your client communication (content marketing). These are:
- Offering an education that helps people is going to get more buyer interest.
- If the information you offer is good and useful, it automatically repositions you in the mind of the buyer as much more of an expert compared to your competitors.
- If you plan and think strategically, you will find a way to weave that information in such a way that ultimately sells your services far better than you could sell them by simply flat-out pitching it.
Here are some of the steps that you can take to boost the reach of your quality content:
- Have a well-defined content strategy – a carefully defined and detailed plan that will achieve your long-term goal
- Categorise your content based on your clients’ journey. For example, you should have content for general education, another content for specific product benefits and another content type for how to use your product or service.
- Have specific and measurable targets for your content. If the content is aimed at educating your customer or creating awareness, your target could be increased download of a guide. If the content is aimed at generating more sales, your target could be an increase in subscription sign ups.
- Have a detailed content distribution strategy. The worst that you can do is to create awesome and top quality content but not distribute it widely. And this is one of the biggest pitfalls for many content marketers: the lack of a distribution strategy.
- Optimise the use of various social media channels for your different content. With most people using at least 1-2 social media channels, you are bound to reach them if you have a presence on most of those social channels.
- Re-purpose and tailor your content for various channels to reach a wider group of audience
- Use images, illustrations, video and audio to enhance your content. Remember different people use and consume information in different ways. Some prefer to read while others are more likely to watch a video on YouTube.
- Produce a wide variety of content for example time sensitive content; evergreen materials that will stay relevant for long periods of time.
- Develop guides, ebooks, checklists and other reference-like materials that address your customers’ needs
- Anticipate your customer’s problems, challenges and pain points and develop content to address those.
In an article in Forbes Magazine, Sujan Patel, founder of WebProfits, said companies need to create content that’s focused on building relationships between the customers and their brands. He added that this type of content significantly influences customers’ purchase decisions, improves organic search results, grows more inbound links, drives qualified leads, and nurtures those leads into sales.
In the same article, he cited a number of companies that have been successful in their strategic use of content marketing including:
- Kissmetrics – this company managed to succeed because it doesn’t use content only for selling. Instead, they created a comprehensive content strategy that was designed to provide value to customers on a wealth of topics and business models.
- MOZ – this company has diversified its approach to content creation and promotion. It is now well-known for its unique content strategy that has skyrocketed the brand’s visibility in the B2B world and positioned Moz as a go-to source for SEO tools.
- Shopify – this company has produced a vast amount of helpful, in-depth content and guides. Aside from its blog, which is overflowing with tips and advice from well-known influencers, its resource centre is rich with content.
Content marketing is still growing and will continue to play a vital role in the business world. Marketers need a well-defined content marketing strategy to optimise their efforts and resources dedicated to producing quality content.
Contact us if you have any question on any of the items we discussed in this post. We’re always keen to learn and to hear about your marketing challenges.
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