B2B content marketers who create and follow through with a plan are more successful than those who wing it. Here’s how to avoid common planning mistakes that can derail your content marketing success …
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
With content marketing now mainstream (88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing), most brands have jumped on board with generating more content in the hopes of boosting brand awareness, engaging a larger audience, and standing out from their competitors.
But only 30% of B2B marketers think their content marketing is effective. This is because they’re going in without a plan.
To win at content marketing, you need both a strategy and a plan to implement that strategy.
Doing content marketing without a plan is like driving to a new destination without your GPS. You’ll likely make wrong turns and get lost along the way.
Are You Making These 10 Content Planning Mistakes?
Regardless of where you are in your planning process, if you know what to look out for, you can easily avoid these ten common planning mistakes.
1. Not setting goals for your content
Ninety-three percent of the most effective B2B content marketers cite lead generation as a goal. When you set goals, you can structure your strategy around what matters.
Measuring your goals is equally important. Looking at metrics will help you track your growth and success en route to your target.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, the most important goals and metrics for B2B content marketing:
- Lead generation (85%)
- Sales (84%)
- Lead nurturing (78%)
- Brand awareness (77%)
- Engagement (76%)
- Sales lead quality (87%)
- Sales (84%)
- Higher conversion rates (82%)
- Sales lead quantity (71%)
- Website traffic (71%)
2. Not documenting your strategy
Having an idea about where you want your marketing efforts to go and putting that idea into action are two different things. Documenting your strategy can set you apart from your competitors and help you reach your goals. It’s not surprising that sixty percent of B2B marketers with a documented content marketing strategy say they are effective, compared with 32% of those with just a verbal strategy.
Use your goals to create your strategy. Then, break down your strategy into actions with deadlines. Once you create your schedule, stick with it. Having a tangible roadmap will keep you on track towards your goals and successes.
3. Not having the right resources
Having the right resources at your fingertips is critical to your content marketing success.
While many B2B marketers are a “marketing department of one”, you can’t be expected to do it all yourself. It’s hard to find the time to plan, create, and promote your content on top of everything else that you need to do.
You can find it helpful to delegate some of your content creation to a team, especially if you feel overwhelmed. With other contributors, your content will end up fresher and more vibrant. Meanwhile, you’ll be less stressed about finding the time to do everything yourself.
There are a ton of tools to help you source, create, organization and distribute your content – as well as manage and collaborate with your team. Check out the B2B Content Marketers’ Guide to Getting it Done.
4. Not getting other people in the organization involved
Your content marketing goals likely span all areas of your business, so it makes sense that multiple departments should be involved. Collaborating with other departments will make your content more effective and help other areas of the business achieve their goals.
In particular, sales, customer service, and product development can provide insights that will translate into more valuable content.
5. Not repurposing content
Today’s B2B marketers are producing more content than ever. However, many marketers will publish a piece of content once on their website or blog and then fail to do anything else with it. This begs the question, how do we create large volumes of content without sacrificing its quality?
Twenty-nine percent of leading marketers systematically reuse and repurpose their content. If you’re not doing the same, you will fail to capitalize on each piece of content and maximize your reach.
It can be tough to keep your feeds full of fresh posts, but there are ways to scale your content. Check out: How to Scale Your B2B Content Without Sacrificing Its Quality.
6. Not using evergreen content
Just like it’s namesake, evergreen content stays fresh for a long period. It can work hard for longer – increasing your traffic, social shares, leads, and search engine rankings. You can also use your best evergreen content a list-building tool to grow your subscribers.
If you want your content to have a longer shelf life, pick a topic that will interest your customers for the next few years. You don’t want to discuss a trend that may become dated in a few months.
7. Not planning content that improves customer experience
Buyers are spending more time looking at content online and less time interacting with sales and customer service reps. Shockingly, Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without interacting with a human.
Use your content as an opportunity to provide customers with a great experience. Be relevant, accessible, and honest. For more tips check out How to Use Content to Improve Your Customer Experience.
8. Not telling your customers’ stories
The best way to connect with your audience is by telling your customers’ stories. Savvy B2B buyers don’t like sales pitches. They want to connect with real people – not with faceless brands.
Sharing customer stories is a great way to build these connections. The truth is, the best stories come from your customers, not from your sales or marketing teams.
Share how customers have used your products and what benefits they have achieved. And don’t be afraid to address things that didn’t go well in your case studies. This shows potential customers how you handle and solve problems. For more ideas, read The 4 Pillars You Need to Tell Great B2B Stories
9. Not budgeting enough
Seventy-six percent of marketers are increasing their investment in content marketing, and 51% of B2B marketers indicate that they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months. Social Media Examiner’s Industry Report estimated that marketers will increase spending on creating visual assets, including videos, as well as original written content.
Not allocating enough of a budget for your content marketing can be a major roadblock. You can have a stellar strategy and content plan, but without the proper budget, you won’t be able to see it through.
Also, inefficiency in content planning and creation can result in budget blunders and overspends. According to a recent study, mid-to-large B2B companies waste $958 million each year on inefficient and ineffective content.
10. Not answering customer questions
Talking about what you want to talk about, not what your customers want to talk about, is a common B2B marketing mistake. Providing customers with value should be at the heart of your content. Listening to your customers can give you ideas on what they are interested in, so you can create content that resonates with them.
The stronger your content marketing plan, the more successful you will be. Look at your content marketing strategy to determine if you have any gaps that are preventing you from connecting with customers and driving business through your content.
3 Ways to Apply This Information Now
2. Read “How to Scale Your B2B Content – Without Sacrificing Its Quality” for more tips that will help you improve your productivity while getting better content marketing results.
3. Click here to share this blog post on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.