What do Michelle Kwan and Content Strategy Have in Common?

At Evolved Media we are in the process of refining our . It’s not perfect, yet – we have a long way to go before we land that triple axel jump. We want to share our journey and our thinking as we take our first shaky steps onto the cold hard ice. We admit we have been procrastinating. Sound familiar?

Tons of content has been written about the value of a content . Actually having any kind of strategy in business is smart. This blog will talk about two important points of this journey:

  • How examining your practices and assessing your content operational maturity gives you a reality check and a starting point
  • Recognizing that content strategy is critical to developing effective content marketing

Content marketing without a content strategy is like trying to figure skate over gravel. To smoothe the way, we reached out to content marketing expert Kim Anderson for some pointers. Kim suggested that we check out Kapost’s content maturity model as a blueprint for locating ourselves in the world.

: We’re not all Olympians (Yet)

Content Marketing is widely adopted with 93 percent of marketers using content marketing this year compared to 91 percent last year (CMI). And we’re getting better at it.

42 percent of B2B marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36 percent last year (CMI). But what about the other 68 percent?

These stats suggest that how companies approach and implement content marketing occurs on a spectrum of effectiveness; some are just stepping out on the ice for the first time, some are gold medalists, and most are somewhere in between.

Kapost Maturity Model

Kapost Content Maturity Model

Sizing Up The Competition

It’s essential to be honest with yourself about where you are in the model so that you can  incrementally improve. So we fearlessly looked at the maturity model and discovered that in terms of our own marketing, Evolved Media is a mere content marketing practitioner! What’s that saying about the carpenter’s house? We also found that, like many companies, we lack a true content strategy. The truth hurts, but we can take it. Onward.

What Separates the Winners from the Losers?

According to CMI most content marketing efforts fail.

So what separates the successes from failures? Marketing guru Kim Anderson says “most companies skip the first and most important step of content marketing which is planning.

Many people think it takes too much time, don’t want to fall behind, and just start creating content with no strategy. The problem is, you waste energy. It’s like trying to skate on ice that’s full of ruts and divots. You’re doing and redoing the same thing over and over again because you didn’t take the time to get it down in a way that can be used effectively by other members of the team, or even yourself.  And not only do you waste energy recreating the wheel, but it promotes inconsistent messages because people are just writing what they think is appropriate and the right message.”

The doing and redoing creates friction that exhausts everyone. If you just wait for the ice to be cleared (the process of planning and getting everyone on the same page), you can glide along with little effort. And once you know what the customer needs to learn you can create relevant content that actually assists the sale rather than content that simply fills a hole and wastes your time.

According to Sirius Decision about 70% of content is never used. If you’re creating content for content’s sake or without a plan, expect for it to go into a junk pile.

Content Marketing Is all About…

Telling a story. It’s also about understanding what problems customers are trying to solve, picking those topics, reaching them where they are, and developing content that allows the customers to solve their own problems. At the end of the day, content marketing is all about the customer.

When done right, content marketing can transform your business and turn your website into a traffic and lead-generation machine. By implementing a successful :

  • HubSpot grew revenue by 81% and gained 2,000 new customers.
  • KISSmetrics received more than 1 million unique visitors per month.
  • Monetate increased traffic by 255% and doubled sales.

Going for Content Strategy Gold

The first step to creating a successful content strategy is aligning your content marketing efforts with your business objectives. As we take our first tentative steps into the content strategy arena, we are asking ourselves the following:

  • What direction does my company need to go?
  • What is my audience’s perception of my company and product? How do I want that perception to change?
  • How do I move my audience from where they are to where I need them to be?
    • What are the best messages to reach them?
    • What are the best channels to reach them? (All the different ways content can be placed in social media, all the different snackable formats, et cetera)
    • What tools do I need to change?
    • What is the timing of their journey? Changing people’s minds takes time and consistency. Having a regular drumbeat shows that you’ve got a commitment, and that regular drumbeat has its own message.

To answer these questions we have decided to codify a marketing and content strategy. We want to fly across the ice and gracefully land on our goals, but before we become content strategy olympians, we need to do the hard work of research and planning.

Stay tuned for updates about the process. Next week we will be cloistered in all day marketing conclave. Kim Anderson will be leading the way. Should be fun. Look for smoke signals to find out about the winners and losers of our content strategy.

Collaborate with us to develop your B2B content strategies.

Kim Anderson is a strategic marketing consultant specializing in for technology companies.  Her company, BigPond Marketing located in the Bay Area, works with companies to define their brand and vision and then bring it to fruition with expertly developed marketing programs.  Kim is passionate about helping companies become more successful  through thoughtful  and authentic strategic visioning and alignment, working with them to integrate their unique story into their content and marketing to connect  with their audience and  operate more efficiently and profitably.

Kimberly AndersonPrincipal, BigPond Marketing
Related Links:

2015 Content Marketing Predictions: The Shotgun Wedding of Sales and Marketing

Lessons from a Giant-Killer Content Marketing Program