If you are like 69 percent of B2B content marketing professionals, you feel challenged by a lack of enough time — in fact, 30 percent of content marketers consider this to be their greatest challenge. As someone who lives and breathes in the content marketing space, I can relate to feeling overwhelmed. But is this reported time crunch a legitimate excuse for failing to realize the full potential of content, or just a way to justify a lack of optimal success?
In a continuing roundtable series focused on the newest B2B content marketing research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, industry experts Ardath Albee, Michael Brenner, Carla Johnson, Michael Weiss, and Todd Wheatland discuss the validity of this challenge. A huge thanks to Shiri Friedman from Brightcove for moderating this discussion.
On one hand, as Michael Weiss points out:
I think a lack of time is an excuse. I think it’s easy to say, ‘We’re not getting it done. Why? Because I don’t have the time.’ And I also think that bleeds into, ‘I don’t have the resources; I don’t have the skill set; and I really don’t know what I’m doing. ‘
But Ardath Albee shared a more sympathetic point of view:
Marketers already had a full plate, and then we said, ‘Okay, now you get to do content marketing,’ which is arguably different than all the other things they have been doing.
Excuse or not, in any given day, content marketers have a lot of responsibilities — and myriad considerations to oversee. So what can content marketers do to feel less overwhelmed, and more prepared to face the everyday challenges of B2B content marketing?
Have a strategy
Without question (and our research backs this up), those with a documented content marketing strategy are more effective than those without. They are even more effective than those who have a dedicated person to oversee strategy.
Have clearly outlined goals
Do you know what business goal your content marketing is trying to achieve? If not, stop and figure that out before you do anything else. Seriously. Stop. Right. Here. If you don’t know what you expect your content marketing efforts to accomplish, not only will you not get there, but you’ll waste a lot of time on efforts that may take you in the wrong direction. As Carla Johnson aptly states:
Without that North Star to know where you’re heading, you’re just busy — not necessarily productive.
Your key metrics should always be top-of-mind, so you can continually evaluate whether your content marketing is supporting your overarching goals. If it isn’t, you need to reconsider your content priorities.
Focus on the right things
Though it’s essential to track and evaluate your content marketing results so you can make continual improvements, it’s easy to feel analysis paralysis. In a recent #CMWorld Twitter chat about analytics, Neil Horowitz (@njh287) imparted this gem:
Wise words – ‘Not all insights are actionable. Not all data is insightful.’ #cmworld
In short, figure out which data are truly meaningful for you to collect, and focus on them. At CMI, we track our KPIs monthly and share them across our team via a Google spreadsheet. The metrics we track have changed over time — we have added some when we were looking for more information, and removed some when the trends were not that variant. But, having this spreadsheet in place helps us stay on the same page and reduces the time I spend simply surfing for information that may be interesting, but not actionable.
Remember that content marketing is part of your larger marketing strategy
Instead of thinking about content marketing as one more thing you need to do, consider how it can enhance all aspects of your marketing. As Robert Rose explains:
This means looking at our existing marketing tactics and seeing how we might infuse them with content marketing techniques. It means looking at our measurement practices and searching for ways to abandon the myopic drive for only ‘more transactions’ in favor of efforts that give us insight into how to engage more valuable customers, more retained customers, and more passionate brand subscribers. It means asking ‘why’ — a lot!
By contextualizing your content marketing as part of your larger program, you’ll be able to see how you can be more efficient — and impact your customers in more positive ways.
Have a system in place
I love this sentiment from Roger Parker, which he shared in his post, 3 Tips for Increasing Your Content Productivity:
Under the right circumstances, many professionals are capable of preparing great content for blogs, books, and online sign-up incentives. But only a few can consistently produce quality marketing content on a daily basis.
As Roger suggests, you need to have systems in place so you can produce content on a consistent basis. His three suggestions for achieving this include:
- Studying the right examples
- Choosing the right tools
- Mastering the right habits
What other tips do you have for being more productive — rather than just busy — when it comes to content marketing? Share them in the comments below.
To see more results from our B2B content marketing research, visit CMI’s Research Page.