Content creation was initially a simple concept for most marketers — any content would do so long as it moved their handful of keywords up the search listings.
Then, content marketers became more sophisticated. Their swathe of keywords widened, and content marketers became newly concerned with content discovery on channels such as social and search to build their brands and connect with their audience. However, this iteration of content marketing does not address all the needs of the modern content marketer. Content marketers are beginning to perceive that and move away from two persistent problems holding back their content’s success.
What are those costly mistakes? First, content marketers are struggling to show content’s ROI. The second is the enormous, missed opportunity of aligning content to the buyer’s journey.
Mistake 1: 7 out of 10 Marketers Aren’t Able to Show Marketing Spend Impact
We find that overall, marketing executives have great difficulty in measuring the impact of marketing spend. An amazing 70% of CMOs admit to not being able to show the impact of their marketing spend at all, or only having a qualitative but not quantitative sense of it. Since a quarter of marketing budgets typically goes to content, this is a very real problem for content marketers.
Proving the ROI of content to marketing execs can be tricky, but we’re collectively getting better at it as an industry. On the whole, we’re seeing more and more marketers successfully tie dollar values to their content and follow it down the marketing funnel. (That’s based on firsthand experience from watching customers track revenue in Searchlight’s Content Insights with Analytics.)
Mistake 2: Failing to Align Content with the Buyer’s Journey
Here’s a stat that makes it clear that change is imminent: 68% of marketers recognize the importance of aligning content with the buyer’s journey.
In fact, only 12% of marketers feel confident about how they are currently measuring their content efforts and report being “sophisticated in our content alignment with the buyer’s journey and measurement.”
Marketers are clearly aware that all is not well in content measurement. 49% of marketers that say they are planning on working to change that in the next six months by better aligning content with the buyer’s journey.
The content needs of buyers/visitors differ based on their stage in the buyer’s journey, and the metrics used to measure success may also differ based on the buyer’s journey. A couple examples of companies with excellent content strategies are REI and Rockler — both companies are paying attention to customers’ content needs at both the conversion (late stage) and research (early stage) ends of the marketing funnel. (Write-ups about their content strategies here and here.)
Savvy Content Marketers Are Segmenting & Measuring Content
While content marketing began with an unsophisticated ‘publish content to a broad audience with limited measurement,’ we’re seeing the industry shift to a deeper understanding of audience segments and measurement of the effectiveness of content to those segments.
Content marketers are rapidly becoming adept at content targeting and ROI. There are other impressive evolutions too, like creating customer personas, performing content gap analysis, and finding and fixing content that isn’t being found. That’s starting to sound like a whole new process, right? That’s why we’ve packaged the emergent best practices into the term Web Presence Management (WPM). WPM is a combination of what we see our most sophisticated and successful customers doing online. It’s a strategy to help marketers better connect with their customers, educate them through the buyer’s journey and wring more value from their content dollar with better measurement of what does and doesn’t work.
Read “What is WPM?” for more info on managing and measuring your content’s web presence. And tell us what you’re seeing in the content marketing industry in the comments.