When it comes to content strategy, it’s easy for blogs, articles and white papers to tell you what to do and how you should do it as though every situation is the same and every company is the same. That simply isn’t the case. Resources, talent and circumstances are different for every company at every level. Whilst perusing the World Wide Web, I came across this article from Direct Marketing News. It offered up some interesting statistics about content strategy and includes these tips to improving your content strategy:
- Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
- Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
- Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
- Use the technology the company already has in house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
- Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
Those are all great tactics to employ, and I am by no means attempting to belittle the thought that went into them, but at the end of the day, how reasonable are these strategies for certain businesses in certain industries? Let’s take a look at each of these again and try to reconcile the ideal, text-book way to do things with the harsh realities of organizational limitations:
Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
There will always be content gaps. Identify the largest gaps and address those first. Determine how “into the weeds” you need to get with your content as it pertains to the products/services you offer. Don’t let a content gap turn into a content black hole that swallows up all of your time, attention and resources. A little content, especially if it’s good content, can go a long way.
Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
This really comes down to time and people-power. If you have a smaller marketing team, generic isn’t always the worst thing in the world. Good content on sales methodology, for example, will often have nuggets of knowledge relevant to anyone is sales; you wouldn’t necessarily need to write one specifically for sales in Industry X. You can get crafty with titles and promotional text (on social media, for example) to present generic content in a more targeted context without repackaging the same message for every segment of your audience.
Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
This should be the backbone for every content marketing strategy regardless of budget, time or resources.
Use the technology the company already has in-house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
For SMBs or organizations with limited marketing budget, this will typically mean utilizing free resources like Google Analytics and social media and measurement tools (you should be pushing your content through social media, by the way). This will work for a centralized marketing department, but when marketing and sales are working in unison on a campaign (meaning more people are involved) more detailed tracking and metrics may be required. This is where marketing resource management systems and marketing automation systems can provide support to both sales and marketing teams.
Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
Archived content, unless the information or branding elements within it are grossly outdated, isn’t harming anything by staying on your site. No one ever had too much content. Reuse a white paper in a tweet if it hasn’t been downloaded much in the past few months. Having a large pool of content – even if it’s not the most clicked or downloaded content on your site – allows you to keep your messages fresh on social media or email campaigns without having to write two new white papers or three new case studies every month. Not to mention unless you have a team solely devoted to content development, six months is simply too frequent of a turnover rate for content.