Strategy, Not Execution, Optimizes Content Marketing
by Jess Nelson, April 13, 2017
Over-taxed creative resources are a challenge to any content-based communications program. Developing content takes time and, if done incorrectly, can easily eat up marketing budgets while still proving ineffective.
Only a third of 2,562 B2B marketers polled by the Content Marketing Institute rated their content marketing as very effective, even though an average of 29% of respondents’ marketing budgets were allocated to content. Social media was the most popular content marketing tactic among respondents, followed by blogs and then email newsletters.
Mike Tirone, senior digital marketing strategist at R2integrated, says strategy is the key to optimizing content marketing performance.
“You can create as much content as you want, but if it’s not targeted it’s going to fall flat,” says Tirone. “You might strike lightning in a bottle once or twice, but ultimately the content needs to be targeted.
Tirone recommends that any content-driven email marketing program begin with a discovery phase that identifies a target audience engaging with email. Once a marketer has developed a targeted, content framework, they can begin planning communication in terms of an editorial calendar.
Tirone asserts that broad, generalized content is a “messy” approach, and no brand should ever assume that their content will go viral or garner a lot of search results.
Editorial calendars should also factor volatile seasonality into consideration, as relevant and newsworthy content will always get preferential treatment in content marketing.
“It actually takes more resources to generally create content on-the-fly,” he adds. “It takes fewer resources when you coordinate your workflow processes and understand who is responsible for what and why. It’s all about planning, rather than execution.”
Part of this planning process is to understand how long it will take to create content. An interactive infographic will tax creative resources to a higher degree than a short blog post.
The key question: Are you getting to your bottom line? Even the most robust of email strategies can be ineffective and in need of tweaking, says Tirone. Proving the effectiveness of content’s value may keep the marketing budget purse strings open at the C-suite level.
“The best way for a content marketer to justify effectiveness is identifying attribution,” says Tirone. “If you’re using Google Analytics, it will be last touch. That’s not always the best, so you might want to considering doing an attribution model.”