As part of my role here at Anaplan, I hear a lot of buzz around various marketing activities and trends. Lately I’m hearing a lot about content marketing and how to connect it to account-based marketing. As marketers add yet another strategy to their portfolio, it raises a big question: How do we know with any accuracy which content, themes, and messages truly resonate with our audiences? Marketing overall has become more targeted, personalized, and complex, making it increasingly difficult to measure effectiveness. Marketers need to understand whether the content they create and the activities they engage in have an impact—and that they are efficiently planning, resourcing, and executing on this content to the best of their team’s ability.
When I discuss content marketing with colleagues, customers, and other marketing operations professionals, a few key challenges frequently emerge:
- Sourcing new content is a painful and costly exercise
- Creating new content puts a significant strain on resources
- Managing content inventory is difficult and often not done
The good news is that these issues don’t have to be a burden. Technology is rapidly adapting, and tools such as NewsCred, Percolate, and Kapost make it easier to source and create new content efficiently. Aligning these solutions with the rest of your marketing technology stack, especially demand generation and automation tools, is vital to success.
Creating a content planning and resourcing process is just as important as defining your content creation plan and approval processes. But most organizations haven’t made this leap yet, and still use spreadsheets for planning and resourcing their campaign and content strategies. If you’re considering revamping your planning and resourcing processes, here are some strategies I’ve seen work well:
- The resource plan. How much content can your team produce, and what do you need to allocate in your budget for content purchases?
- Content mapping. Map out the content you have for each target audience across the customer lifecycle and identify where you need content. Are you missing nurture content or deal acceleration content?
- Content shelf life. Understand the age of your content. Has current content stopped performing because you aren’t promoting it or is it no longer relevant? And if it’s old, can you refresh it rather than creating something from scratch to take its place?
- Hard and soft costs of content. Always measure the cost of producing content—just because you haven’t paid for producing it doesn’t mean it’s free. What resources and time did it take to create the content in-house versus the cost of outsourcing it?
- Content performance. Consider the money you’re spending to promote the piece of content and its conversion rate—and compare this to its organic performance. Is the blog post you wrote in a few hours outperforming the white paper you spent a lot of money producing?
- Was it a success? Don’t forget to close the loop on your content effort. We often hear “we need more content for X buyer and Y industry.” Content teams can often find themselves spinning their wheels, creating content for the sake of creating it. Make sure that time and resources spent to create and promote content is tied back to the budget that paid for it.
The steps above, when factored into your content marketing strategy, will help you understand where to invest your time and what type of content is most efficient. The goal is to efficiently plan your strategy and use your budget and resources wisely, eliminating wasted effort and unneeded activities.
To see how your team can better manage content strategy, marketing performance, and resource management, sign up for one of our live demos.