How’s Your Content Marketing Working for You?

Do you know why 90% of companies are using content marketing to build their business, yet only 34% of them think they are doing it effectively?

We can read all the marketing books available, and devour all the online content regarding the “how-to” of content marketing and still not have the confidence to say that the way we market our business online is doing any bit of good.

Why is that?content market strategy

Are we all just sort of “dumb” when it comes to this whole marketing thing? I mean, you’re probably a champion in your business when it comes to the product or service you provide right? You can confidently talk for hours about your business and how what you do benefits your customers. And, I bet that you can even point to your sales numbers and know immediately if your product is working.

So why do you stumble, hem and haw, when it comes to talking about marketing?

Are all those posts and tweets and videos and articles doing any good? Will that person who is “liking” you and socially stalking you online ever pull the trigger and make a purchase? Are you building a business, or just making a bunch of virtual friends? Are you ever going to get back those hours and days and weeks that you spent searching out information to try to figure out something to write about? Do you have notebooks or word documents full of notes with the “good intentions” of someday turning them into an epic blog post that’s going to rock your industry?

Someday….

70% of business owners cannot say, with confidence, that they have a handle on this whole content marketing thing. And it’s frustrating as Hell because everyone is talking about it, everyone is doing it, everyone sees the value in evergreen content that will outlast a paid advertisement…yet most business owners don’t know if all the time and energy and money and sweat and tears and blood are doing a darn bit of good.

Why?

Let’s take a step back and see what the pros are doing.

content market strategyAccording to the Content Marketing Institute, the companies they researched who had the MOST effective content marketing strategy were those who:

•    Had a documented strategy
•    Had someone (or a team of someone’s) who oversaw the whole operation
•    Used an average of 14 tactics in their marketing strategy
•    Actively participated in 7 social media platforms
•    Allocated 32% of their overall marketing budget to the implementation of that content marketing strategy

In other words, those who were successful with their content marketing treated that part of their business as a business.

Have you ever wondered why a large company has a marketing team or hires out their marketing activities?

Could it be because “business” involves more than just a product or service? You can have the greatest product or service in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it doesn’t matter. If nobody has had the opportunity to discover you, then you benefit nobody.

That’s where the business of marketing comes in, right?

Have you ever watched the Reality TV Show Shark Tank?

content market strategyEntrepreneurs, inventors, and small businesses come onto the show seeking money from a panel of investors so they can “take their business to the next level.”

For each prospective entrepreneur, that means something different. However, I can’t help notice how often they are saying “I have this great product, I’ve sold a few or a thousand units, and I need help with “something” (ie…marketing, production, and distribution) in order to get my business where I really want it to be.

Sometimes they get the money they are seeking. Sometimes they leave with empty hands and some business advice which could give them the results they are looking for.

The point is they recognize they are “stuck” in some way and they are exploring outside options to get “unstuck.”

They can walk away with advice, or they can walk away with the resources and expertise they need to build their business.

You can Wear Many Hats…but you Shouldn’t

When you started your business, chances are very good that you wore all the hats – you were the product creator, the service provider, the bookkeeper, the salesman, the mail-opener, the janitor, the receptionist, and every other job position that’s required to run a business.

And, you built your business by having the ability to muddle through most of these positions, right?

The difficulty for many is they have a hard time “turning off” that energizer bunny mentality. For various reasons they try to do all the content marketing activities themselves.

There’s a joke that boat owners toss around that goes like this: “The best 2 days of a boater’s life are when you buy it, and when you sell it.”

In that case, they are referring to the maintenance costs of owning a B.O.A.T : “Break Out Another Thousand”

For a business owner, the best 2 days of their life may be “The day you start your business, and the day you decide to build your business with a team that allows you to spend all your energy on the activities that you enjoy most, are best at, and bring in the biggest ROI of both time and energy.”

Sometimes…you just gotta let it go and put it into the hands of people that you trust to do the job.

Who are these people?

They are authorities in their field who not only have the knowledge to implement a strategy, but the time to monitor and tweak it so you get the best results.

The benefit for you is that you are then free to concentrate on the actual business.

Let’s Look Again at What’s Working

1-    The most effective marketers have a documented strategy.

This means they have taken the time to look at the next 12 months to see what the business is doing and how the content pieces created for marketing will promote those business goals. They have also written down their plan to show what content will be created, what the subject of that content will be, what purpose that content will have, what landing page will be used to build the list and what opt-ins will be created to support that list building. They will also document how often they will “touch” social media, which platforms they will concentrate on, and monitor which posts are most effective, adjusting as needed.

2-    They have someone or a team to oversee the whole process.

Setting out the content marketing plan is just the first step of the process. With that “blueprint” in hand, you still need someone to build it. If you don’t feel like you’re “doing” content marketing right, then I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you are probably trying to do it yourself with duct tape and rubber bands.

If you are still at the level where you’re “winging” your business, you may be in trouble! You will probably get some things done – I’ve seen it happen – but at best, you will continually feel like you are harried, and stressed, and not really sure how your business is doing.

At the worst, you will actually miss out on some huge opportunities simply because you are too distracted to see them, or you see them but don’t see any way to take advantage of them because you are still doing everything yourself. You just don’t have enough time so by default you are forced to sit it out and miss the boat.

3-    They use an average of 14 marketing tactics.

14! You may still be trying to master just one or two! Now, there is something to be said about building up your content marketing plan in a way that makes sense. There is no reason to embrace a marketing tactic just because it worked for someone else 5 years ago, or it’s working for someone you know who is in a different market with a different customer.

The point is that the better you are at creating content that taps into all the modalities of learning (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile), while also motivating, inspiring and creating an emotional connection or response with that content, and then delivering that content to all the places online your customer may frequent, the more effective your content marketing will be.

The most successful companies have invested in the people that can make this happen.

 4-    Actively participated in 7 social media platforms.

You may be asking, “You mean there is more than just one?”

Once again, you only need to be on the social platforms where your customers will find you. If they don’t use MySpace, neither should you. However, if you are only posting once per day and then calling your social marketing “done” while your competition is posting 10 times a day then chances are that your company and your branding will not be seen as often as your competition. Now, given the short-term, distracted memory of consumers, where do you think the one-hit-wonder falls in terms of results?

There are tools out there like Hootsuite and a few others that will allow you to reduce your actual “live” time on social media but guess what…someone still needs to research information to find compelling content, create that compelling content in various formats, be sure it is aligned with your company’s goals, post the content, and then monitor it for feedback and responses.

Whose doing that in your business, as well as creating the larger content pieces like blog articles, books, white papers, infographics, videos, and graphic images?

If you are hesitantly raising your hand, or answering “nobody”, then chances are you fall in the 70% of businesses that are not sure your content marketing is effective.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. We were led to believe that technology was going to make everything easier, and that with a few push-button tools, all your business worries will go away.

How’s that working for you?

5-  Allocated 32% of their overall marketing budget to the implementation of that content marketing strategy.

At this point you may be saying, “Marketing budget?”

All the big boys have them, and if you plan to get to that point then you should probably have one too. How much of your current revenue or budget is allocated for marketing?

In this example, if you have a $100,000 marketing budget, then to get the kind of results that those confident with their marketing strategies are getting, you would allocate at least $32,000 to content marketing. This number doesn’t necessarily include the salary for the person that you have designated as your Content Marketing Manager. According to Salary.com, that could run you on average $60K/year to over $100,000 per year.

There are actually 2 components at work here: The person with the knowledge to plan out the strategy; and the budget to create the actual marketing pieces and implement those strategies that fit into that plan. If you only concentrate on one, you may not get the results you really desire.

Now that you Know, What are your Options?

Effective content marketing requires:

•    The knowledge of the tactics that work
•    The ability to consistently follow your marketing and do the daily research required for content ideas, trends, and marketing opportunities
•    The investment in the tools, services, and expertise of people that will help create the content
•    The time to implement the strategy consistently over a long period of time.

To become one of those business owners who fall into the top 30% of effective marketers you will need to make an investment of time or money…and often both.

The sooner you decide to invest in your business, the sooner you will experience the satisfaction of getting things done! Whether that means hiring a full-time employee or investing in the services of a content marketer, is entirely up to you.

However, making that decision, commitment, and investment in your business is crucial for success. There is something very “real” that happens when you make that mental jump for solo-preneur, to Leader of your business.

Ready to explore the “real” world of content marketing? Click Here to see what solutions are available for you.

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Until next time…

Dawn Damico

 

 

 

 

photo credits:

1. http://www.thinkentrepreneurship.com/top-tv-shows-about-entrepreneurs/

 

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