Ouch! I don’t mind admitting that was my first reaction after writing the headline for this blog. Every day thousands of articles are published online from all kinds or businesses. Surely the words of all these people are highly useful? Or is it really true that content marketing is, in fact, a load of rubbish?
The question for today’s blog is a rather sweeping, generalised statement. But it does carry some water. Here’s why.
One of the big problems with content marketing is the lack of commitment it actually gets. For every 100 business that claim to undertake content marketing, less than a handful can prove they do the following:
- Ensure their content marketing closely follows their marketing communications plan
- Have a detailed editorial calendar which is updated every quarter
- Set measurable objectives for their content marketing, reviewed each month
What actually happens is a summary plan is created, which is then ignored after a couple of months due to the content not being created by set deadlines. Or worse, content being subjected to endless rounds of editing by staff who really have no business being involved. In either case, the result is a well-meaning plan gets torn up and replaced by ad-hoc articles being published whenever someone has to time to write and/or approve them.
What’s The Point Of Content Marketing Then?
That’s a good question. When you are building your marketing and communications plans, your primary objectives should feature throughout your activities. Content marketing is no different. So for example, if you are looking to increase revenues from complimentary services around your core offering, your content marketing should be squarely focused on this objective too. And when you are drawing up the editorial calendar, the subject matter must therefore reflect the objective. This makes the operational side – what to write – far easier as you know what you are trying to say each and every time. And when you think about content marketing in this way, it becomes more important to your plans.
So Why Is Content Marketing Rubbish?
The simple answer is the above reasoning isn’t used. Instead, content marketing is treated as a bit of an afterthought, usually tacked on the end of a social media plan. And it’s at this stage that things go a bit awry. The objectives get forgotten, the editorial calendar gathers dust, delays or oversight creep is allowed to enter in the plans, or reviews don’t take place. It means the grand idea of a regular piece of writing that supports your marketing and comms objectives doesn’t happen. It’s a bit like having a 6-leg table and taking one of them away. Sure, it still stands but it’s going to have a bit of a wobble, and could even topple if ignored.
That’s not to say every single item in your content marketing plan must support your objectives. You still need to publish general business information such as Christmas opening hours or awards you have won. So you should always have space for this content too. But it should be firmly in the minority – and everything else focused on reaching your objectives.
How Do I Make My Content Marketing Better?
Before you try to improve your content marketing it’s best to first ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the content marketing plan contain an editorial calendar that is accurate and regularly updated?
- Does the subjects covered by the editorial calendar reflect what the business does?
- Are the objectives of the overall marketing and communications plans reflected in the content marketing work?
- How many pieces of content are behind schedule or cancelled?
- How many steps are required for content to be approved for publication?
- Is the content marketing plan regularly reviewed with activities measured and reported?
If your answering no to these questions then you need to revisit your content marketing urgently.
Simple Ways To Improve Your Content Marketing
Here’s some steps you can take to help address the issues:
- First – and this might be painful – is to go back to your marketing and comms plan and start from there. Remind yourself of your objectives and then put them at the very top of your content plan.
- Look at the existing content you have planned. Does it explicitly support the objectives in your main plan? Don’t remove it, but do treat any that doesn’t as a lower priority.
- Draw up a new editorial calendar that stretches over at least a 6-month period. Set publication deadlines and be realistic about what you can regularly deliver
- For of every piece of writing or creative that goes in your editorial calendar, set a target that 80% is directly focused on meeting your main objectives.
- If you have an approvals process, look at it honestly and judge what or who adds value and take action to remove any that don’t.
- Finally, make a point of setting aside some time every month to measure your content marketing. Does it deliver any sales, leads, inbound enquiries, or attract demonstrable interest in your business?
If you’re having issues with content marketing then it’s time you asked us for help. With GWS you can have access to expert advice that covers planning, execution and professional copy writing which will get your content marketing back on track. Get in touch with us for a chat and see how we can take the stress out of content marketing.