Originally produced for Visual Contenting.
Less than three months remain for companies to wrap up 2018 initiatives and prepare for a new year. So, time for a gut check: how are your content marketing efforts coming along?
According to CMI’s 2018 “Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” report, 89% of B2B and B2C organizations are invested in content marketing. They’re developing business cases, creating strategies and measurement plans, and working to scale across the enterprise. Only 24%, however, rate their overall content marketing approach as “very successful.”
So, how can organizations confidently reposition themselves for success in 2019? Here are 10 content marketing New Year’s resolutions to consider:
1. Create a “quality-first” model: Studies show that just 5% of a company's content accounts for 90% of overall customer engagement. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much content a company creates if that content isn’t delivering real value. Quality trumps quantity, always. Consider implementing a “quality-first” model within your organization for 2019 that sets clear parameters for creating content that drives greater results.
2. Create a clear content distribution plan: Which formats does your organization use to share content? Do you know which are performing best? Create a clear content distribution plan that identifies how, when and why you plan to distribute the content you create. Consider email: what kinds of messages will you be sending (lead nurturing emails, newsletters, drip campaigns, promotional messages), how often and most importantly, why? Effective content has a clear focus and purpose.
3. Revisit (or develop) content measurement efforts: You can’t improve without growing in your ability to show results. So, consider revisiting (or developing) measurement efforts in 2019 to better understand how content is driving sales, customer engagement and bottom-of-the-funnel results. Consider, for example, looking at the number of new contacts certain assets bring into your database to measure their value. Or, how much of the sales pipeline was influenced by consuming one or more pieces of content along the customer journey.
4. Simplify management/HR: In an age of constant innovation, adaptability is key for success. For marketing organizations, this means driving consistent results amidst inevitable changes to staffing, project management, leadership and more. This is a challenge for most: for example, only 36% of organizations surveyed by CMI rate their project management flow during the content creation process “excellent” or “very good.” You can improve in 2019, for example, by implementing a digital asset management system or working with HR to streamline onboarding and training processes.
5. Prioritize craft and creativity: Are you being intentional with content creation—embracing a marketing mindset of innovation and collaborative development—or simply publishing content and hoping for the best? Consider how in 2019 your organization can more creatively use content to deliver extraordinary customer and business outcomes. Perhaps you’ll want to elevate your level of risk-taking by introducing edgier content to your lineup. Or, you might want to consider how content can be more creatively distributed to create new customer possibilities.
6. Better align expectations with outcomes: Does your organization have realistic content marketing expectations? Forty percent of marketers surveyed by CMI believe their company does not. Assuming your plan is indeed effective, industry experts suggest organizations can see positive, measurable results within a year or so. Perhaps 2019 will be the year you work on giving yourself more time to achieve your desired content marketing goals.
7. Hone in on SEO: It’s no secret that marketing organizations struggle with search engine optimization (SEO). Perhaps you’ll make 2019 the year that you increase your SEO efforts, be it by gaining a better understanding of common SEO practices (i.e. internal vs. inbound links, indexing vs. crawling); increasing your internal efforts (i.e. tracking Web traffic or number/quality of backlinks); or onboarding a third-party expert to handle things for you.
8. Reorganize your content marketing team: How is content marketing structured within your organization? For example, do you have a centralized group that works across different brands and product lines throughout the organization? Perhaps you have individual teams working company-wide. Maybe you have a one-person team serving the entire organization. Perhaps 2019 is the year you expand your one-person team or start consolidating individual groups. See what works best for your organization depending on your specific goals.
9. Develop a clearer documentation process: Still only about 40% of companies document their content marketing strategy, according to CMI. Also according to CMI, organizations with a documented strategy experience higher levels of success compared to those that have a verbal strategy only or no strategy at all. Be it Excel spreadsheets, Google Drive, or a running Word document, consider making 2019 the year you increase your content marketing documentation efforts.
10. Invest in better technology: Identify your chief goals and then determine which tools and technologies are best suited for accomplishing them. In doing so you might find that you need to increase your use of analytics tools, for example, or email-focused marketing technology. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll finally update your intranet or invest in a more advanced CRM platform. Above all, work to align marketing with IT: the CMO now has vast responsibilities reaching far beyond traditional marketing, and likewise the CIO beyond IT. The two should actively collaborate on technology, analytics, growth, and measurable impact.
Here’s to a new year defined by content marketing success!