There aren’t a lot of resources out there specifically aimed at technology marketing. If you browse content marketing websites you’ll probably find a lot of helpful advice – but it’s often for other industries. So I’m always excited to come across a meaty resource especially for those us in the technology marketing space.
The Content Marketing Institute does outstanding annual research on how companies use content marketing. They just updated their B2B Technology Content Marketing report for 2016, and it’s chock-full of interesting statistics specifically focused on marketers in the technology industry.
30% of respondents to the survey said their content marketing is highly effective. Which means the other 70%, a sizeable majority, see room for improvement. In this article, I’ll summarize five things the effective marketers are doing differently. Hopefully these best practices can make an impact on your content, too.
#1: Effective content marketers have a documented content strategy
This is one of those “Yes, we know we should do it, but maybe we don’t have the time, or resources, or budget or….”-type item. Like most things in life, knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to get there is critical. And content marketing is no different. Creating a documented strategy for content – with all its moving parts – will help you properly plan your content activities, justify additional budget, and educate everyone on what you’re trying to achieve. 57% of the effective organizations said they have a written content strategy versus 36% of marketers who said their organization had average effectiveness and 10% who said their companies are least effective at content marketing.
#2: Their organizations are clear on what a successful content marketing program looks like.
Wow – this is a great one. I have seen content marketing programs fail when they’re spearheaded by a very motivated, smart and hard-working marketer who’s creating great content…but the rest of the organization isn’t behind them.
Successful content marketing isn’t about one department churning out lots of content and other stakeholders in the organization wondering what they’re doing. Pretty soon, someone will start asking questions like: “What type of return are we getting from this content you’re creating?”
Maybe that someone is the sales director who has a lot of clout in your organization and believes the content should be generating more leads for her sales team. But, in your mind, the content is best used to drive thought leadership. Those are two very different goals for content – sometimes there’s overlap between them, but often one party ends up disappointed that the content isn’t doing what they expected.
It’s a recipe for a content program getting derailed, because others don’t understand how the content contributes to the organization’s greater goals. Discussing expectations and goals up-front, with all relevant parties, is key so your great content plans aren’t overturned.
#3 They meet daily or weekly to discuss content marketing programs.
Maybe you don’t like meetings, but the most effective content marketers are eagerly sitting through them. Why? Because content development is a very collaborative process. It’s hard to create good content in a vacuum. You’ll also likely have multiple people involved in developing content, depending on your company’s size and your requirements, and they all need to understand what’s happening when. It’s also good to spice things up by bringing in other company resources occasionally, like Product Marketing or Product Management, so they can, for example, brief you on upcoming releases so you can build interesting content by launch time.
Which brings us to…
#4 They also find content meetings extremely or very valuable
Yes, the most effective content marketers aren’t twiddling their thumbs at these meetings − they’re active participants. They understand how meeting regularly with others makes the content creation process more efficient and, dare I say, more fun. When it comes to content, more brains are always better than one.
#5 They spend more budget on content marketing.
The most effective content marketing organizations spend 8% more budget than the average organizations and a whopping 19% more than the least effective ones. The most effective organizations realize content marketing takes time, effort, and money. You need an interesting mix of content, such as videos, written content, and events, to reach your audience consistently and effectively. It takes a certain amount of budget to create all this content, of course, and the most effective organizations understand that.
I’ve also found that the most effective organizations are willing to hire outside resources to complement their internal teams, because they realize they may not have the time or resources to create everything in-house. Rather than stretch their staff too thin, they proactively allocate the budget to create great content. In the end, it pays off, as the most effective content marketers have shown.
There are many more interesting takeaways in this study such as marketers’ most popular content distribution tactics, budget priorities for 2016 and a detailed comparison of the most effective versus the least effective technology marketers.
Review the report and see how your organization stacks up: 2016 B2B Technology Content Marketing report.