Where, Mr and Mrs Marketer, are you up to with content marketing in 2014?
It’s a question posed by inbound marketing specialists, HubSpot, to circa 2,600 marketers for the “Driving Content Marketing Success in 2014″ report. And the responses suggest that the marketing jury, though not necessarily “out” on the content marketing concept, is still looking for ways to find it “not guilty” of being a waste of time and money.
While report authors Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights and Kieran Flanagan of HubSpot position content as “the core of a successful inbound funnel” – based on the approach of attraction and conversion of customers – there is an almost down-the-middle split of marketers when it comes to measuring return on investment (ROI): while 49% of marketers are convinced of the value and measurability of ROI from content, 44% say the measurement of ROI is limited.
But with Google’s algorithmic slaps in the face for dodgy link building, and tummy-tickling for good content, do marketers have a choice but to stare down the barrel of online content marketing?
Well, according to the research 58% are adopting an inbound marketing strategy and 42% are lining up extra budget to support that in 2014. Content is top of the pops, rated the top digital marketing technique for this year – ahead of mobile marketing, Big Data and search personalisation among other tactics.
The problem for marketers’ making content marketing work for them seems to reside with a number of key issues:
- Inconsistency or worse in content marketing.
- Frustration with the long-haul nature of seeing a return on content marketing – no overnight sensations here!
- Boardroom fear of “sharing too much knowledge” through content.
- A mixed result from using in-house resources to create content: despite having better understanding of brand and audience, in-house teams’ content can be inconsistent, therefore needing external expertise to support long-term success.
Effective content marketing tactics
But among the marketers seeing value in content creation and distribution, they cite the most effective activities as:
- 42% – blogs and articles
- 38% – e-newsletters
- 25% – How to videos
- 23% – whitepapers or e-books
- 21% – Infographics
- 19.9% – industry/consumer reports
- 19.8% – webinars
HubSpot’s “content marketing blueprint”
For those marketers wanting to continue on their content marketing journey, but with some extra high octane gas in the tank, HubSpot has come up with a Content Marketing Blueprint, the highlights of which are:
- Get buy-in from senior management for your content marketing activities, which needs a costed proposal (cost per lead via inbound marketing), measurement of traffic results, an editorial calendar, a sense of what the competition is doing and evidence of content marketing results by other organisations.
- Planning content that’s designed for your audience (using buyer personas – see slide 31 in the embedded slideshow below).
- Tools to research content that’s right for your buyer personas (see slide 36 of the slideshow).
- Become a prolific publisher in your marketplace, using the content types mentioned above.
- Distribute through various channels including email and social media platforms.
- Create conversion paths with targeted “calls to action”.