Content marketing is the engine that drives online marketing success. It’s the linchpin that impacts most aspects of internet marketing: SEO, social media promotion, enewsletters, and online conversions. And it’s why many companies spend 25% or more of total marketing budgets on the tactic.
However, even under the best circumstances—supportive executives, healthy budgets, and talented staffers—content marketing strategies can be tricky to execute. Here are the four biggest issues to focus on.
1. Do your (keyword) research—Keyword research is a cornerstone of content marketing, and its applicability is amplified in global marketing operations. Karen Moked, VP of marketing at Digilant, a company that operates in almost a dozen countries, remarks, “I’ve learned that it’s critical to develop content based on country-specific keyword inventory, as it’s amazing how target audiences across geographies—even among areas that share a common language—talk about issues that are important to our business using unique terminology.” Like a tree that falls in the middle of a dense forest, content marketing initiatives that are bereft of keyword research may not make any noise in a target marketplace.
2. Secure dedicated resources—Writing is an activity that requires planning, focus, time, and revision. It’s a specific skill set, and creating long-form content for corporate marketing purposes is a particularly unique subset of the category. To be sure, employees do exist who are both willing and able to contribute unique content, but they are the exception, not the rule. In order to generate a steady volume of unique content that will hold a reader’s attention—and that is written using local idioms and vernacular—marketing managers rely on both in-house and external resources. In-house staffers have specific targets written into their job descriptions, such as one blog post per week or one white paper per quarter. External, specialty resources (contractors and agencies, etc.) are managed similarly with specific contractual obligations.
3. Reuse, repurpose, and recycle—Like a wily homemaker who knows how to create feasts from leftovers and leave nothing to waste, skilled marketing managers wring every conceivable application from content assets. “I consider it a big part of my job responsibility to have my company’s messages in front of prospects at every possible opportunity, and that means I’m constantly looking for new ways to deploy my content assets, including resurrecting older pieces that may have acquired unexpected authority over the years,” say Josh Prost, senior marketing operations manager at Synopsys. That means press releases get reworked into blog posts, and assets get promoted dozens of times across all available channels. For example, editorial strategies are designed so that a series of blog posts get rolled up into ebooks and white papers, or webinars get chopped up into multiple formats after they are presented. These kinds of tactics can dramatically impact content marketing ROI.
4. Allocate two parts promotion for every one part creation—Many companies are accustomed to expending a significant amount of money and resources on creating elegant white papers based on custom research, producing high-end videos or webinars, and making executive presentations for industry events, but they aren’t set up to leverage online marketing tools to keep these assets working for them over the long haul. A well-designed content asset can generate returns for months and even years after its publication. To keep this part of the operation top of mind, we typically recommend that marketing groups allocate at least two times the resources to an asset’s promotion as they did its creation. So if a lengthy blog post took 6 hours to produce, the organization should spend 12 hours on its promotion in the subsequent months, via social media and email distribution—and digital advertising in some situations.