Why You Need an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
- What Does the Content Marketing Landscape Look Like?
- Who’s Using a Content Marketing Strategy & Is It Effective?
- What Tactics Are Used in an Effective Content Strategy?
- How Much of the Total Marketing Budget Is Being Spent on Content Marketing?
- What Does the Average Content Marketing Team Look Like?
- What Are the Top Performing Types of Content?
- What Are the Key Content Marketing Goals?
- What Are the Top Content Challenges for Businesses?
- Why Your Business Needs an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
- How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
- Establish Your Brand Voice
- Plan Out Your Content Calendar
- Use Analytics to Monitor How Your Content Is Performing
- What Makes a Content Marketing Strategy Succeed?
- Final Thoughts
You know that old saying, “Throw everything at the wall to see what sticks”? Unfortunately, that’s what too many businesses are doing regarding their content marketing, which isn’t working. Let us be clear: You need to have an effective content marketing strategy in place if you want to succeed in today’s marketing landscape. And just as importantly, the content marketing strategy must be documented properly to ensure success.
In fact, The State of Content Marketing Report 2022 by Semrush showed that 81% of companies whose content marketing efforts were unsuccessful didn’t have a documented strategy.
According to data collected by Semrush, the advantage of content marketing speaks for itself.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- 97% more backlinks
- 434% more indexed pages on search engines
- 55% more traffic
- 5x more leads
- 13x greater likelihood of generating ROI
- 62% reduction in cost from traditional marketing
So, if you aren’t doing it—or more likely, not doing it right—you’re missing out on all that while wasting precious time and money.
What Does the Content Marketing Landscape Look Like?
In the report mentioned above, Semrush surveyed 1,500 marketers in 40 countries to understand how businesses use content marketing. By looking at that data, we can get insight into what comprises an effective content marketing strategy.
Who’s Using a Content Marketing Strategy & Is It Effective?
While 97% of businesses are now using content marketing strategy as part of their marketing efforts, just 57% have that strategy documented.
Clearly, there is a long way to go. Only 19% of companies rated their content marketing strategy as advanced. The same percentage also happened to rate their strategy as very successful. Another 33% rated their content marketing success as moderately successful.
What Tactics Are Used in an Effective Content Strategy?
An effective content marketing strategy must include a plan to produce content and the right tactics to ensure the best results. Focusing on quality, SEO, and visual content made the greatest impact in achieving content marketing success.
Here are the tactics that marketers rated as most helpful in 2021, according to Semrush’s report:
- 55% – Improving the content’s quality
- 46% – Search engine optimization
- 41% – Creating more video and visual content
- 38% – Updating and repurposing existing content
How Much of the Total Marketing Budget Is Being Spent on Content Marketing?
Approximately 64% of companies spend 10% or more of their marketing budget on content marketing, while 26% spend less than 10%. Only 15% of companies plan to make a significant increase in that marketing spend (more than 25%).
What Does the Average Content Marketing Team Look Like?
Of the companies surveyed by Semrush…
- 42% have 1-3 content marketing specialists
- 21% lack any content marketing team or specialist
- 34% have more than 4 specialists
The 3 most likely content marketing specialists to be part of a content marketing team are as follows:
- 45% – Writers or content creators
- 38% – Social media managers
- 30% – Content marketing managers
Interestingly, graphics is the specialty most likely to be farmed out to other companies. And just under half of the companies expected their teams to grow larger in 2022.
What Are the Top Performing Types of Content?
Reflecting other research on the subject, Semrush’s survey found that video is the top-performing content type, just eclipsing blog posts.
The full list is as follows:
- 37% – Video
- 36% – Blog posts
- 22% – Success stories
- 16% – Case studies
- 16% – Webinars
- 15% – Infographics
- 13% – Product guides and manuals
- 12% – Data visualizations
- 11% – E-books
- 11% – White papers
- 11% – Print
- 10% – Podcasts
- 7% – Quizzes
- 2% – Other
What Are the Key Content Marketing Goals?
Here are the top three marketing goals companies want to achieve in 2022:
- 45% – Increase brand awareness
- 37% – Attract more traffic to the website
- 36% – Generate more leads
What Are the Top Content Challenges for Businesses?
The 5 biggest content marketing challenges reported in the Semrush survey were the ability to create content that…
- 41% – Generates more quality leads
- 39% – Attracts enough traffic
- 31% – Resonates with the audience
- 30% – Proves the ROI of content
- 28% – Improves SEO performance
Why Your Business Needs an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Less understood is the need to have a strategy in place for content marketing to be worthwhile.
Having an effective content marketing strategy can help marketers do all of the following:
- Be more productive
- Reach a wider audience
- Be consistent with messaging across all communication channels
- Monitor results and make necessary tweaks
- Attract and engage audiences more effectively
- Anticipate the challenges that will come up
- Use resources properly
- Hit goals more consistently
- Improve efficiency
- Avoid duplicate content
How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
To combat these issues, an effective content marketing strategy is in order. But what does that mean? What does one look like?
Essentially, it comes down to making sure 3 key elements are included:
- Brand voice
- Editorial calendar
Now, let’s look at each of these in more detail…
Establish Your Brand Voice
As with all types of marketing, you must let your brand personality shine through in every piece of content you put out. No one wants to read or engage with the same old boring content that anyone could have created.
Create a brand voice and an avatar that clearly represents your company’s personality. That way, your whole marketing team can create content aligned with what you want to portray.
You need to project authority about your area of expertise in all your communications. In order to do that effectively, your voice should be clear and consistent across all channels. Take the time to correct any grammar and spelling errors to ensure your communications are clear and authoritative.
Plan Out Your Content Calendar
You can’t have an effective content marketing strategy without planning out what content you’re going to publish and when. If you’re winging it, your results will always be hit or miss.
Within your content calendar, you’ll need to do the following:
1) Map Out Your Topics
You should be methodical in choosing your topics.
For example, you could use Google Search Console to see what you’re already ranking for and then do keyword research to find related topics to build a strategy around.
Or, you could start with your products and services and do keyword research around those. Whatever you do, make sure it’s based on real data so that you know the content that people want.
2) Map Out Your Customer Journey & the Content for Each Stage
Not every person in your sales funnel will need the same piece of content, so you’ll need to plan your content around the stages of the customer journey.
For example, you’ll need content for each of the following stages:
- Awareness – for those who are just finding you
- Consideration – for those who are considering what you have to offer
- Decision – for turning prospects into buyers
- Retention – for keeping your customers coming back
- Advocacy – for getting your raving fans to spread the word about you
3) Plan Out the Types of Content You Will Use
Some people like reading articles. Others like listening to podcasts or watching videos. That’s why you should put out a variety of content to appeal to more people.
Remember, though, recent trends indicate that videos and visual content are proving to be the most successful media for increasing reach and engaging the audience.
Don’t leave user-generated content out of the mix, either. Reviews, ratings, comments, video testimonials, and customer photos are some of the best media you can have for your business.
PRO TIP: Use Semrush’s Brand Monitoring tool to view your brand’s and competitors’ mentions.
4) Identify the Channels Where You’ll Publish Your Content
Now, you’ll need to decide where you’ll publish your content. Start with the ones you are most familiar with and where your audience tends to hang out.
For example, if you put out a lot of visual content, Pinterest or Instagram would be a good choice. Facebook is a good option if your audience consists largely of baby boomers, whereas TikTok is ideal for Gen Z.
While it’s important to aim to use multiple social media channels, don’t overcomplicate things by trying to be everywhere at once—especially in the beginning. While you do need to reach people in various places, you’ll just spin your wheels if you try to be all over the place.
5) Place Your Topics on a Content Calendar
Now that you know what content you’ll be creating, it’s time to schedule it on a calendar. This can be as simple as printing out a blank calendar and writing in the content you’ll be publishing on the corresponding date.
You might also want to use a tool like Semrush’s Social Media Tool with a scheduler or Hootsuite.
No matter how you do it, having a written content calendar is essential.
Use Analytics to Monitor How Your Content Is Performing
Analytics are essential to an effective content marketing strategy because it’s data that allows you to determine how well your content is performing. Without it, it’s a shot in the dark.
By analyzing the results of your data, you can understand what content your audience wants and doesn’t want.
Look at the following data points:
- User Behavior – unique visitors, pages per session, bounce rate, traffic sources
- Engagement – likes, shares, comments, mentions, republications
- SEO Results – organic traffic, dwell time, backlinks, keywords
- Company Revenue – number of leads, existing leads affected, conversion rate, ROI
When you know what content your audience is eating up, what is getting you the results you want, and what isn’t cutting it, you can create more content to put you on top.
What Makes a Content Marketing Strategy Succeed?
Now that you know how to create an effective content marketing strategy, here are some other things you can’t ignore if you want it to succeed. The Semrush survey identified at least 4 strong indicators that help determine if a content marketing strategy will succeed or fail.
- Having a documented content strategy: 78% of companies with very successful content marketing have a documented content marketing strategy.
- Regular content audits and updates: 65% of companies with successful marketing strategies run content audits more than twice a year.
- Size of content marketing budget: 65% of companies with very successful content marketing spent 10% to 70% of their total marketing budget on content marketing.
- Content marketing team: 59% of companies whose content marketing was unsuccessful in 2021 didn’t have a dedicated marketing team or specialist.
While developing an effective content marketing strategy does take time, it streamlines the whole process and makes it much more worthwhile for your company.
When we look at the Semrush survey results cited above, it’s evident that by putting more effort and resources into developing an effective content marketing strategy, you’ll be setting your business worlds apart from the masses. If you need help creating or transforming an existing content marketing strategy, Viral Solutions is here for you. Start by requesting a free consultation.