Content marketing is a cornerstone of many digital strategies. As we expand SEO and social, content marketing plans become essential in establishing a brand’s position with customers, prospects and their own employees.
A study of content marketers in Australia saw in interesting change in the landscape ( I think this has implication in the U.S. as well.) While more companies were developing content marketing plans and felt confident that they are on the right path, with 46% having a documented content marketing plan vs 37% last year, those that felt they had an effective content strategy dropped from 29% to 28%.
It appears that it is a case of the more you know the more you realize how far you have to go. Estimates for content marketing plans to be fully effective range up to a year and a half. As companies truly build out their plans, the reality sets in that, like anything worthwhile, this is not an easy fix. Content marketing takes work and time, with the effects being cumulative. Building up momentum requires persistence and a concerted effort to stay focused over time.
Starting with a strong foundation means knowing what your value / solution is, which is the focus of the content plan. The Content Marketing Institute has a great piece on creating the content marketing plan; what you need to answer in the process. Like most business plans, the questions are thought provoking and, if you are honest with yourself, not necessarily easy to answer. Ultimately, you need to build a business case for content marketing that helps keep the plan focused.
Content marketing can be fun, it must be creative, and absolutely needs to provide value over time to the intended audiences. It is not about an infographic, or a blog, or a video. It is about information and finding the best ways to share that information over diverse channels. Before you dive into content marketing ( I mean really dive into it) be ready to commit the time and resources for a 12+ month period before you expect to see tangible results.